Episode #054: Your Pocket Sailing Instructor Podcast Recycling your Boat: What to do when it’s time to say goodbye

damaged boat in harbor
Photo by Mathias Reding on Pexels.com

It is the time of year when I see many boats not moving, some boats breaking free from their moorings, others being inhabited by wildlife… so many boats that are left unattended and languishing. So, I decided to put together some ideas and recommendations for what to do if it is time to decommission your boat. Recycling your boat could be a fun process, so take some time to figure out how to repurpose all of the items in your boat.

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Here are my most recent episodes:

#59: Sails – Prevention & Basic Maintenance Your Pocket Sailing Instructor Podcast

  1. #59: Sails – Prevention & Basic Maintenance
  2. #58: When things go wrong… my 5 step process to stepping back and getting $hit done!
  3. #57: Chartering Step 3 – Trip planning, provisioning and check-out procedures
  4. #56: Chartering Step 2 – Type of charter & collecting quotes
  5. #55: Chartering Step 1 – Choosing a destination

Can you sell it or pass it along?

This is the ideal situation whereby you know you are no longer going to use your boat, but it can be sold to someone else for their pleasure. If not, perhaps you can donate it to an organization like SALTS.

When is it time to decommission your boat?

It is time to decommission your boat if:
  • When the essential repairs to keep your boat operational exceed the monetary or emotional value of the boat.
  • It is no longer seaworthy.
  • It can no longer safely be operated.

Recycling your Boat…

There are many things on your boat that can be salvaged and reused or sold. Recycling the items on your boat could include:

  • Sails: donate your sails to another boat, repurposed as shade cloth, repurposed as tarps, upcycled into trendy bags (AfterSails, ReSails, etc.).
  • Hardware: remove your old hardware and either sell it, or donate it to other sailors. Many people are looking for spare parts which include cleats, pulleys, fairleads, etc. You’d be surprised what someone else might be needing!
  • Rope: remove all of your lines and repurpose them around the house, garden, cottage, etc. Worst case, put them out in a free bin for someone to pick up.
  • Engine & Fuel Tank: remove and donate or repurpose on another boat.
  • Electronics & VHF: remove and pass along or sell to another boater.
  • Propane Tank: remove and use elsewhere.
  • Interior Cushions: remove and cut down to fit outdoor lawn chairs, or anywhere else you would like some new cushions. Alternatively, there may be another boat owner looking for some cushions, so pass them along.
  • Other Interior Items: repurpose items for other outdoor activities like hiking, biking or camping.
  • Mast: repurpose your mast as a unique flagpole.
  • Boom: repurpose the boom by mounting it in the garage and using it for hanging storage.
  • Standing Rigging Wire: repurpose as a clothesline or for hanging outdoor curtains off a deck.
  • Hull: here is an article I found with some fun things to do with smaller boat hulls.
  • Ports: remove old ports and use them as new windows for cold frames, garage, other small projects.
  • Galley Sink: repurpose as an outdoor garden sink.
  • Head: repurpose or pass along to another boater.


Hopefully you do not have to go through this exercise with your boat, but making an end-of-life plan for your vessel is part of being a responsible owner. Keep up with your maintenance, and if you cannot, consider selling or donating your boat to someone who will continue to maintain and love it.


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