Derelict glass fibre (GRP) boat near Poole Quay, Poole Harbour, Sept 2022

Derelict Boats

The BeachPeople campaign to have Whitley Lake (aka Kite Beach), Sandbanks designated as a bathing water introduced us to many helpful people who are of similar mind when it comes to protection of the Harbour and its ecosystem.

As the Whitley Lake Campaign is nearly complete, we felt we would like to continue to make a difference and the next obvious candidate is the number of obviously derelict boats either sunk at their moorings or washed/dragged ashore.

At more or less the same time, Practical Boat Owner detailed the results of a study in nearby Chichester Harbour about the effects of glass fibre* on aquatic organisms - it seemed destiny!

Hence the snappily named "BeachPeople Against Derelict Boats On / Around The Shoreline" Campaign (we are working hard on an acronym).

BeachPeople will be working with Poole Harbour Commission and BCP Council to safely recover and dispose of derelict boats found in the water or on the beaches, in order to stop the problem at source.

There are legal issues to overcome involving ownership but our way is to make gentle but continual progress over beer time until the problem is solved.

Since it's largely political this isn't a campaign where we'll be looking for financial support, but we always welcome new members.

*fibre/fibre - fibre is the UK spelling, fiber is the US

GRP - (Glass Reinforced Plastic) is the same as fibreglass - a brittle plastic resin stippled over a chopped strand mat (CSM) or a woven fabric

Fibreglas - that's a generic trademark

..but they are all types of glass fibre; essentially if it breaks down into glass fibre strands in the water then it's a problem

This campaign now has its own email, website, blog and team -



Nov 16th 2022:

BeachPeople tabled this question and for the BCP Cabinet meeting on Nov 8th:

Following a recent study in Chichester Harbour it was found that derelict glass fibre boats do not biodegrade; rather they degrade into strands that can cause cancer in aquatic organisms and become part of the food chain in the form of microplastics. Would BCP support BeachPeople’s second campaign, called BADBOATS, by assisting either with the collection of, or the disposal of, the derelict glass fibre boats sunk and beached around Poole Harbour? BeachPeople intend to work with BCP and PHC to effect a permanent solution to this problem, prevention being better than cure. For more info please see:

We received this response from Councillor Mark Anderson

I would like to Thank [BeachPeople] for his question and I’m glad the work we have done together on Kite beach is coming to fruition.

The short answer is a qualified YES, we are very keen to support the campaign in relation to sunken boats in the Harbour as we agree with [..] BeachPeople that these are an ecological and environmental hazard and need to be removed.  Those areas of the shoreline that is our land and used by us, we will work with the BeachPeople  to develop a method for removal,  this includes the greenspaces controlled by Environment, and beaches controlled by Destination and Culture.  However, there are areas which whilst council land is leased to other users and we may not be able to assist with.


Nov 28th 2022: Bournemouth Echo reports on BeachPeople's BADBOATS campaign.