• NauticExpo e-Magazine - #16 - METS Special Issue - NauticExpo e-Magazine
    November 16, 2017

    Your Monthly Dose of Nautical and Maritime Innovation


    The Connected World Is Now Flat

    Life After Death for Your Boat

    More Autonomy for Superyachts

    METS 2017 Special Issue

    For the last issue of the year, we’re exploring the world’s largest marine equipment trade show, held from November 14-16 in Amsterdam. Revolutionary flat panel antennas, more autonomy for superyachts, boat recycling and hybrid and green power for leisure craft are among the hot topics debated at this year’s METS.

    We’re also offering you a taste of some of the most interesting products presented at the show, especially the winners of the DAME Awards. Innovation is contagious!

    Fullpage FPT INDUSTRIAL S.P.A.
    Hot Topic
    These new steered flat panel antennas are revolutionizing the satellite industry.
    Nathan Kundtz, founder and CEO of Kymeta, talks about the technology behind the mTenna (Courtesy of Johnny Andrews/The Seattle Times)


    Data-hungry users are pushing the satellite receiver market to upscale, requiring more obtrusive domes on yachts. But some innovative companies attending METS this year are taking a different approach with revolutionary flat panel antenna systems.   The American start-up Kymeta, which received seed capital from Bill...

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    Banner SW2D - Eric Tabarly watches
    Hot Topic
    The process starts with dismantling the boat. If something cannot be reused, then we look for recycling options.
    Abandoned boat (Shutterstock)

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    Abandoned boats are piling up, and the industry has no efficient system for dealing with them. The good news is that fiberglass can be recycled, but the big issue is volume.


    Two years ago, the industry organized a conference on reuse and recycling at METS. At this year’s show, the subject is drawing renewed attention, this time focusing on sustainability. According to Albert Willemsen, environmental consultant for the International Council of Marine Industry Associations (ICOMIA), a current major concern is the absence of an EU-wide or global system to deal with abandoned boats.

    “The problem is growing year by year. Although not proven, we suspect that the financial crisis 10 years ago increased the number of abandoned boats. We need to have a united EU or global system for this, like the automotive industry, but focused on the recreational marine industry.”

    Reuse, Recycle or Throw Away

    Recycling is not the only option, Willemsen explained. “The best thing is prevention, then to reuse everything that can be reused. The process starts with dismantling the boat. If something cannot be reused, then we look for recycling options. When that’s not possible, disposal is the only option left. That usually means burning or burying in a landfill.”

    Right now, the price for this process is high in some member states—around 2000 euros, according to Willemsen. Boat owners who cannot afford this tend to just abandon the boat.

    Crushed car for recycling (Courtesy of AP)

    “The problem is volume. To get rid of a car costs 150-200 euros. The reason is that millions of cars are recycled every year. You pay for this when you buy the car, and I believe we need to develop a similar system for boats. This is one of the current discussions we are having.”

    Fiberglass Can Be Recycled

    Most leisure craft are built using fiberglass. But can it be recycled? “Yes it can,” confirmed Willemsen. “There have been test projects in several countries—Italy, Norway, Japan, France, Finland and others—and the results are promising. The issue again is volume. It has to be financially viable. But it’s possible to separate the resin from the fibers and reuse both, especially in things like fillers. And we should remember that a lot of other materials are used for boats too: wood, steel, aluminum.”

    “It’s possible to separate the resin from the fibers and reuse both.”

    Recycling on a large scale will not arrive overnight. But Willemsen remains optimistic.

    “I like to start slowly and go step-by-step in the right direction. I have 30 years of experience in the boat industry. In the beginning, everybody laughed when I talked about the need for recycling. Today, the discussion is completely natural. I believe we should think along the lines of product stewardship.”

    The concept of product stewardship is becoming increasingly popular in many different industries. The idea is that everyone involved should reduce the product’s environmental, health and safety impacts throughout its lifespan. That includes designers, producers, retailers and consumers.

    Boat graveyard (Courtesy of Kent Porter/PD)

    “Container deposit legislation is a good example. You pay an extra price for a bottle, apart from the content, and get it back when you return the bottle. In a lot of countries, when you buy paint or car tires, you also pay a fee to cover handling the toxic waste the products will become at the end of their lifespan,” said Willemsen.


    He maintains that many countries are now seriously interested in this topic. “Holland, Norway, France and Germany, as well as non-European nations such as Japan, the US and Australia, are all taking part in the discussions. Sustainability is something that should be taken seriously by the boat industry. I believe boat recycling will be implemented as a natural thing in a not-so-distant future.”

    Read more about Boat recycling in our special issue #9:

    Fullpage Tessilmare
    Hot Topic
    Functions derived from the development of autonomy can be used in yachts to make them more energy efficient and safer.
    Mikhail S. Vorontsov superyacht (Courtesy of YachtCharterFleet)


    Superyachts featuring more and more autonomous functions is a hot topic at this year’s METS, but challenges remain.   Are superyachts plotting a course toward full autonomy? Kongsberg Maritime sales manager Roger Trinterud doesn’t think so. “Generally, I think it’s fair to say that people want to be served by people. In...

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    Michael Halpern

    Michael Halpern is a US-born and bred writer with experience in radio. He has lived in southern France for 15 years. Michael is the copy editor of NauticExpo e-magazine.

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    Øyvind Bordal

    Øyvind Bordal is a norwegian writer and sailor, based in Denmark and Caribbean.


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    Kevin Green

    Kevin Green is a Sydney-based yachting journalist who contributes to international boating publications.


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    Celia Sampol

    Celia Sampol is a journalist with 13 years of experience in Paris, Brussels and Washington. She’s now the editor-in-chief of NauticExpo e-magazine.

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    Tony Slinn

    Formerly editor-in-chief of IHS Maritime, Tony Slinn is an independent maritime journalist.

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