This led a recently-created start-up from Western France to the idea of re-using the boats, giving them a second life on land rather than at sea.
The company in question is a solidarity-based shipyard called Bathô located on the banks of the Loire, next to Nantes, in a region once famous for its shipyards. Those shipyards had to close down in the 1980s due to overwhelming competition from larger shipyards.
Transforming and re-using rather than destroying
It was when recalling this long history that Bathô’s two founders, Romain and Didier, came up with the idea of a new concept: recovering old boats that cannot be recycled for lack of an existing recycling chain, renovating them so that they can be re-used in a different way, and thus extending their useful life by 7 to 10 years. It is a nice example of circular economy, as they will also be promoting the reintegration into working life of people who have experienced difficulties in entering the labour market, by providing work in carpentry, composites, painting, and more.
To achieve this, Bathô will contact shipyards, harbours and individuals to purchase sailboats, speedboats and other ships that have reached the end of their useful life for one symbolic Euro.
The hulls and cabins will be preserved and refitted with all mod cons: connections to the water and electricity networks, sanitary facilities, a terrace, stairs, and more.
Unusual housing on dry land
Two months later, the former wrecks will have been converted into B&Bs, guesthouses, meeting rooms, all unique, original, customisable and ready-to-use spaces.
Intended for sustainable tourism and outdoor hotels, they could also be used as emergency shelters, or to build eco-designed neighbourhoods – new projects for the two young entrepreneurs who do not seem short on ideas!