BankNewport and its OceanPoint Marine Lending division recently announced that a $30,000 grant it awarded to the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association Foundation (RIMTA Foundation) has played a key role in the advancement of the Rhode Island Fiberglass Vessel Recycling Pilot Project.  The project addresses the significant environmental challenge posed by the continually expanding fleet of end-of-life fiberglass boats in the United States and its potential to inflict economic strain on manufacturers, dealers, marinas/boatyards, individual boat owners and state governments.

BankNewport’s grant provided the financial support needed for the RIMTA Foundation to pursue and secure federal funding with the support of Rhode Island’s congressional delegation, which has led to the expansion of the pilot program to Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine and the Pacific Northwest.  The RIMTA Foundation is now positioned as a leading voice in the global discourse surrounding responsible lifecycle management for end-of-life fiberglass boats.

“As a leading lender in the marine industry, we are acutely aware of the incredible benefits of boating as well as the potential negative impact it has on the environment, especially as boats are decommissioned,” said Larry Reagan, Senior Vice President, Director of Marine and Recreational Lending at OceanPoint Marine Lending in a statement.  “The work that the RIMTA Foundation has done to mitigate that impact through its recycling program is nothing short of outstanding and we are proud to support their efforts.”

The RIMTA Foundation’s work led to the development of a method of utilizing fiberglass boat material for the production of cement, and over the past two years, the program has recycled more than sixty tons of fiberglass materials using the new process, successfully diverting old boats from infinite burial in landfills or from being scuttled and polluting the oceans.

“We are continuing to answer critical questions surrounding the lifecycle of recreational boats and the sustainable reuse of fiberglass waste,” said Evan Ridley, Director of Environmental Programs, RI Marine Trades Association in a statement.  Boats constructed with composite materials offer an incredible opportunity for our Ocean State to establish a new pathway for the collection and recycling of high-value scrap derived from thousands of other composite-based products currently being landfilled. These efforts stretch beyond the sustainability of recreational boating in Rhode Island, and would not be possible without the guidance and support of our local partners like BankNewport.”

VIDEO: 2019 RIMTA Fiberglass Boat Recycling Efforts

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp.  Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in...