The SeaCleaners, EBI's partner NGO

Logo The SeaCleanersThe SeaCleaners

The oceans represent more than 70% of the surface of our planet and are an essential aspect of human life. However, they are in danger: more than 8 million tonnes of plastic are dumped in the oceans every year. If no action is taken, by 2050 there will be more plastic than fishes in the oceans.

The SeaCleaners, an NGO created in 2016 by French-Swiss navigator and explorer Yvan Bourgnon, is trying to battle plastic pollution through corrective and preventive actions. An Observer Member of the UN Environment Programme, supported by the Albert II Foundation of Monaco and CCI France International, The SeaCleaners has four objectives:

  • Collection of floating plastic waste in seas, coasts and rivers before it breaks up and scatters, as well as organisation of clean-ups on land.
  • Education and pedagogy, developing awareness-raising activities for the affected population, the public in general and decision-makers.
  • Advancement of scientific research, through the observation, collection and documentation of scientific data.
  • Transition towards a sustainable circular economy, based on the valorisation of collected waste.

The MantaThe association’s flagship project is The Manta, a revolutionary vessel powered by renewable energy, which will be the first deep-sea vessel capable of collecting and mass-processing floating oceanic waste before it becomes fragmented into micro-plastics and enters the marine ecosystem in a lasting manner. The Manta will be able to store 150 tonnes of waste on her decks or in her hulls before bringing it ashore for treatment in waste treatment or recycling units, or for conversion into energy on board through her waste-to-energy unit. Research on the development of the Manta is ongoing, and it is planned to be built by 2022.

Find out more about The SeaCleaners on their website:


Partnership with EBI

EBI is strongly committed to reducing marine pollution and raising awareness of the issue among boaters, the general public and policy-makers. Hence, The SeaCleaners is a natural partner to EBI, given our common commitments and aims. EBI and The SeaCleaners signed a Memorandum of Understanding in January 2021 under which they become partners, promoting common activities and engaging in common communication actions.

The SeaCleaners will produce educational tools, such as a plastic waste collection manual, and it will invite boaters to participate in its voluntary observer programme, to carry out observation missions of floating plastic pollution in the most affected areas of the world. Boatbuilders and equipment manufacturers will also be offered the opportunity to contribute to the construction of the Manta (described above).

Read the press release on the EBI-The SeaCleaners partnership here.

Studies and reports

Blue Economy report 2020The EU Blue Economy Report 2020 (European Commission, 2020)

  • Based on 2018 data collected from Eurostat.
  • Includes specific information for each sector in the blue economy, including “building of pleasure and sporting boats”, “repair and maintenance of ships and boats” and “coastal and maritime tourism”. This is broken down at national level for key indicators, such as employment, value added, turnover, gross profit margin and other key indicators.
  • Also includes a case study on “The Recreational Boating Industry: Made in Europe” (page 150).

The EU Blue Economy Report 2020 (PDF)

Annexes with country-specific information: Annex I, Annex II.

Online dashboard to view the data.

The EU Blue Economy Report 2019 imageThe EU Blue Economy Report 2019 (European Commission, 2019)

  • Assesses the potential of oceans and coasts in leading to sustainable economic growth and seeks to support the development of management policies that will ensure this.
  • Includes new maritime sub-sectors compared to the previous edition, such as marine equipment and machinery (in "Shipbuilding and repair").
  • For the first time, the report comprises an overview of the EU sea basins.
  • Includes specific information for each sector in the blue economy, broken down at national level for key indicators (employment, value added, turnover, gross profit margin, etc.).

The EU Blue Economy Report 2019 (PDF)

Blue Economy policy paperBlue Economy in the Mediterranean - Policy Paper (InnoBlueGrowth, 2019)

  • Sets forward a list of objectives and actions for promoting the Blue Economy in the Mediterranean based on the technical and policy results of the Blue Growth Community projects.
  • One of its focal sectors is the yachting industry for which specific recommendations were developed.

Blue Economy in the Mediterranean - Policy Paper (PDF)

The 2018 annual economic report on blue economy imgThe 2018 Annual Economic Report on EU Blue Economy (European Commission, 2018)

  • This first Annual Economic Report of the EU Blue Economy intends to measure the trends, performance and progress of the Blue Economy in Europe.
  • It looks into the established maritime sectors (living resources; marine extraction and oil and gas; ports, warehousing and water projects; shipbuilding and repair; coastal tourism) but also at some emerging innovative sectors (marine renewable energy; blue bioeconomy; desalination; deep-seabed mining; coastal and environmental protection).

The 2018 Annual Economic Report on EU Blue Economy (PDF)

Education and business study imgBest practices and user stories (collection of documents) (European Commission, 2018)

  • This compendium of documents puts together initiatives in Europe that contribute to developing the skills of maritime professionals and making them fit for the diverse needs of an evolving maritime economy.

Bridging education and business in the blue economy (PDF) - includes initiatives that focus on the link between education and industry in the maritime economy.

Lifelong learning, mobility and new training programs in the blue economy (PDF) - includes initiatives that focus on digitalisation and globalisation, and the new opportunities and unforeseen challenges that technology has brought upon the sector.

Ocean literacy (PDF) - includes intiatives that have the objective of increasing ocean knowledge.

Business development assessment imgAssessment of the Impact of Business Development Improvements around Nautical Tourism (ICF, 2016 - report prepared for the European Commission)

  • The objective of this study was to provide the European Commission with evidence to inform decisions about the development of EU policy on issues relevant to nautical tourism.
  • For a predefined set of nautical tourism topics, the objectives were: to explore and identify problems affecting market performance; to identify policy options that address the causes of these problems; and to analyse the expected impacts of the list of policy options.

Assessment of the Impact of Business Development Improvements around Nautical Tourism (PDF)

Competitiveness study imgStudy on the competitiveness of the recreational boating sector (Ecorys, 2015 - report prepared for the European Commission)

  • After the Commission communication "A European Strategy for more Growth and Jobs in Coastal and Maritime Tourism", which underlined the importance of coastal and maritime tourism, especially for employment for the whole economy, the Directorate-General for Entreprise and Industry ordered this study to assess the overall competitiveness of the recreational boating sector.
  • The study identifies the main factors influencing the competitive performance of the EU recreational boating industry and provides policy recommendations on how the competitiveness of this sector in Europe could be improved.
  • It analyses the demand for recreational boating in Europe.
  • It analyses the boat manufacturing sector and the services sector.
  • It presents scenarios and recommendations to improve the EU’s growth and employment strategy.

Study on the competitiveness of the recreational boating sector (PDF)

MPA report imgReport from the Commission on the progress in establishing marine protected areas (European Commission, 2015)

  • The Marine Strategy Framework Directive requires Member States to adopt programmes of measures to achieve good environmental status in their marine waters by 2020. These progrmmes shall include spatial protection measures contributing to coherent and representative networks of marine protected areas (MPAs). This is the report on the progress in establishing marine protected areas

Report from the Commission on the progress in establishing marine protected areas (PDF)

COM 2014 EU strategy on growthA European Strategy for more Growth and Jobs in Coastal and Maritime Tourism - Communication from the Commission (European Commission, 2014)

  • Following the Commission's 2010 Communication announcing a strategy for sustainable coastal and maritime tourism, this Communication from 2014 proposes joint responses to the multiple challenges, with a view to capitalising on Europe's strengths and enabling it to substantially contribute to the Europe 2020 objectives for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

A European Strategy for more Growth and Jobs in Coastal and Maritime Tourism - Communication from the Commission (PDF)

EP 2012 Design Categories of Watercrafts imageDesign Categories of Watercrafts (European Parliament, 2012)

  • Design categories of watercrafts are one of the essential safety requirements which should be met and assigned through conformity assessment procedure required before placing watercrafts on the market.
  • This briefing note analyses if amending the design categories for recreational crafts and watercrafts can contribute to more precise and more appropriate criteria for design categories, while reflecting the terms used in the relevant international harmonised standards.

Design Categories of Watercrafts (PDF)

Nautical activities and environment study imgNautical activities: what impact on the environment? - A life cycle approach for "clear blue" boating (European Confederation of Nautical Industries, 2009)

  • This study is structured in order to follow the life-cycle approach of a boat, and identifies its environmental impact from its conception and manufacturing stage, through its useful life and related operations, concluding with its disposal at its end of life.

Nautical activities: what impact on the environment? - A life cycle approach for "clear blue" boating (PDF)


Complementary study on emission reduction measures 2008 imageComplementary Impact Assessment study on possible emission reduction measures for recreational marine craft engines (Arcadis Belgium, 2008 - report prepared for the European Commission)

  • This study complements the one below (ECNI 2006), and assesses the most ambitious feasible scenario to maximise the emission reduction potential of recreational craft engines, while at the same time mitigating the social and economic impact on SMEs that could result from such approach.

Complementary Impact Assessment study on possible emission reduction measures for recreational marine craft engines (link to executive summary and final report)

Study on possible scenarios on emission reduction measures 2006 imageStudy on The Feasibility and Impact of Possible Scenarios for Further Emission Reduction Measures for Recreational Craft Engines (European Confederation of Nautical Industries, 2006 - report prepared for the European Commission)

  • The study's objective was to identify and analyse the possible regulatory scenarios that could be put in place to improve the environmental characteristics of engines used in recreational marine craft.

Study on The Feasibility and Impact of Possible Scenarios for Further Emission Reduction Measures for Recreational Craft Engines (link to report and associated documents)


Study on engines 2004 imageStudy on the environmental performance of recreational marine engines (TNO Automotive, 2004 - report prepared for the European Commission)

  • The study reports assesses the environmental impact of the use of propulsion engines of recreational craft, including the impact on air quality, on local water quality, and on noise.
  • The study also anlyses different options for improvement, and gives an extensive overview of the fleet and the market.

Stocktaking study on the current status and developments of technology and regulations related to the environmental performance of recreational marine engines (link to executive summary and final report)


EBI's positions

This section provides the position of European Boating Industry on a number of key issue areas.


Environmental Sustainability:

  • Maintaining healthy marine ecosystems is crucial to the recreational boating industry.
  • Fibre-reinforced polymer, which most recreational boats are made of, is hard to recycle. The sector's circularity should be enhanced by improving recycling technologies for these materials, researching new materials, and cooperating with other sectors that use the same materials.
  • The impact of anchoring on the seabed (including on seagrass) should be addressed by raising awareness and rolling out eco-friendly mooring solutions.
  • To reduce exhaust emissions, electric and hybrid engines should be introduced.
  • Sustainable anti-fouling management must be extended to prevent the transfer of invasive species through boat hulls.
  • Efforts should be made to minimise marine pollution.
  • Awareness-raising on the environmental impacts of marine activities is key.

Full position paper (PDF): EBI's position on Environmental Sustainability

EBI's responses to European Commission consultations: EBI's response to consultation on climate change adaptation strategy; EBI's response to consultation on offshore renewable energy strategy


Nautical Tourism in the Blue Economy:

  • The nautical tourism sector relies on a stable and favourable regulatory and policy framework.
  • Nautical tourism services are often SMEs that are unable to sustain the necessary investment in research and innovation, which is why EU funding should help address this investment gap.
  • Skipper qualifications should be mutually recognised across the EU, to help them enjoy freedom of movement and to help charter companies meet their labour needs. Likewise, private boating licenses should be harmonised, to the benefit of consumers.
  • To meet labour demand in the sector, it is important to raise awareness about the potential of a career in nautical tourism and the skills required.
  • Europe should be developed as a nautical tourism destination, harnessing the potential for sustainable tourism of places that are not tourism hotspots.
  • Boat moorings should be subject to reduced VAT rates.

Full position paper (PDF): EBI's position on Nautical Tourism in the Blue Economy


Single Market and Industrial Policy:

  • The recreational boating industry would benefit from the strengthening and deepening of the Single Market.
  • To address the need that manufacturing and services companies have for skilled employees, opportunities for a career in the blue economy should be promoted.
  • Skipper qualifications should be mutually recognised across the EU, to help companies that currently struggle to find skilled staff.
  • Private boating licenses should be harmonised (or the International Certificate of Competence should be accepted in all member states), so that consumers can practice boating or water sports outside their country.
  • The EU and the member states should ensure effective market surveillance for the Recreational Craft Directive, to ensure safety and consumer protection, and to prevent distortion in the Single Market.
  • The European Standardisation System should speed up the publication of harmonised standards and improve its regularity, to make planning easier for companies.
  • The sector's SMEs have difficulties accessing finance and investing in research and innovation. The various EU funds have a key role to play in bridging this gap.

Full position paper (PDF): EBI's position on Single Market and Industrial Policy


International Trade:

  • EU tariffs on US goods that affect the boating industry should be eliminated, to prevent threats to growth, jobs and innovation.
  • Technical barriers between the EU and its trading partners should be reduced through closer alignment of standards (e.g. mutual recognition of conformity assessments of recreational boats).
  • The EU-UK trade relationship should be based on zero tariffs and quotas, close regulatory alignment, and a level playing field.

Full position paper (PDF): EBI's position on International Trade



  • Annex III of the VAT Directive 2006/112, which lists items on which member states can apply reduced VAT, does not include marinas, resulting in an unbalanced playing field in tourism. This should be addressed so that marinas enjoy reduced VAT rates.
  • For recreational boats that are sold several times throughout their lifetime, VAT should only be paid on the original first-hand purchase. However, if the original invoice is lost or it is not possible to obtain the required certificate, consumers will be obliged to pay VAT on their purchase of a second-hand boat, if required by the authorities (especially if in a new country). This should be addressed.

Full position paper (PDF): EBI's position on VAT

Circular Economy

In November 2016, the European Commission published its study on the Nautical Tourism, with the contributions and support of EBI. End-of-life boats are mentioned as one of the main challenges for the nautical industry which might pose a threat to the environment and a recycling challenge.

The study confirms that the yachts' average lifespan has been estimated at 30 years, although in some instances this may stretch to 40-45 years. This lifespan has further increased over time due to the use of stronger materials, such as fibre reinforced polymer (FRP), 'reinforced plastic'. It is thought that between 1% and 2% of the 6 million boats kept in Europe, in other words at least 80,000 boats, reach their 'end-of-life' each year. However, not all of these are dismantled.

For the full study: Assessment of the impact of business development improvements around nautical tourism


Boat DIGEST dismantling map

On 23 September 2015, EBI hosted the final Boat DIGEST conference in Brussels, which presented the general overview on the end-of-life boats (ELB) and the main project outcomes. While challenges are still remaining, especially when it comes to financing models of dismantling ELBs, the Boat DIGEST project gave more visibility to the work carried out in Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, Turkey and UK (consortium of 9 partners from these countries). As the inititative's main activities have been to identify boat dismantling locations and practices in those countries in order to understand the common problems, accidents and hazards that can be encountered in Europe.

After studying key issues relevant to recreational craft owners related to ELBs and analysing training needs for dismantlers in the past months, Boat DIGEST has come up with four sets of "Guidelines" targeted to marinas, associations, schools, repair and refit companies. The "Guidelines" (available in English, French, Italian, Spanish and Turkish) target various audiences: boaters and nautical associations, marinas and leisure harbours, repair & refit companies, and boating schools. They also offer information on the actions that can be taken by these four groups and the role they play in raising boat owners’ awareness about the issue. They can be freely distributed to all interested parties, as long as they are not modified in their current format.

Boat DIGEST also developed an online and free of charge training course for the professional staff working at waste management facilities and having to treat boats. The training contains four units covering administrative, financial and practical issues. An online test verifies the dismantlers' knowledge and if over 70% of answers are correct, a certificate is issued by University of Strathclyde (Glasgow, Scotland), one of the project partners. Another useful outcome is the dismantling network map which helps identify and locate professional dismantling sites in Europe.

The above-mentioned and other tools, such as an awareness raising module for users, educational videos or posters are all accessible via www.boatdigest.euYou can also the boat dismantling network map created by the project.

Paris Nautic 2015Mirna speaking on stage

On 8 December 2015, the conference “Boat’s end-of-life, truly the end?” was held at the Nautic – Paris International Boat Show - jointly organised by EBI, the French federation FIN and Reed Exposition. The event gathered a large audience made of exhibitors, companies, visitors and public authorities eager to learn more about the current approaches to boat dismantling across the world and discuss how to make this activity viable in the long term.

Watch the video spot.


End-of-life Working Group with the European Commission

EBI and the European Commission Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs (DG MARE) jointly lead a Working Group on end-of-life boats. The aim of the collaboration is to develop an EU roadmap that EU countries can follow to set up their own dismantling systems. It has a wide approach tackling all relevant issues, as well as involving stakeholders and national authorities. Stakeholders currently involved are the European Boating Association (EBA), the International Council of Marine Industry Associations (ICOMIA), the European Composites Industry Association (EuCIA) and other associations representing end-users of composites.


The figures

Currently there is no european inventory, therefore the figures are estimation

Fleet characteristics: 7 to 8 meters, made in fiberglass and polyester resin

Average lifespan: 30 to 40 years

Number of end-of-life boats: 80 000 units

Abandoned: 6000 to 9000 units, which means 90% of the boats are not abandoned.