Boating Basics Online is reader-supported. When you buy via our links, we may earn a commission at no cost to you. Learn more

How to Get Rid of a Fiberglass Boat? – 4 Simple Methods

Written by J. Harvey / Fact checked by S. Numbers

how to get rid of a fiberglass boat

Methods to dispose of a fiberglass boat

  • Sell the boat
  • Landfill disposal
  • Recycling
  • Disposal service

For anyone looking for a vessel that’s built to last decades, a fiberglass boat is an excellent choice with its combination of performance and durability. However, having to dispose of such a boat is going to be a big problem.

In this guide, we’ll discuss how to get rid of a fiberglass boat the right way. We’ll also go over the different options available, as well as the pitfalls that could get you penalties and fines.

Keep reading to spare yourself the trouble.

Proper Disposal Methods


Boat removal options differ depending on where you live. Since there is no free junk boat removal near me, I need to consider other options myself. Below are some of the best ways to dispose of a fiberglass boat.

These methods are ones that are certain to keep you away from fines and penalties. However, make sure to secure proof of undertaking these disposal options as insurance.

1. Sell the boat

The first option is to sell the boat to someone else. Of course, this is only a real option if the boat is still usable or at least decent enough that it can be repaired. If you’re looking to get rid of a badly damaged boat, a junk shop or salvage yard may be your best bet, but this carries certain risks as well.

2. Landfill disposal

Landfill disposal is not a real disposal option, but it is an option that doesn’t get you into trouble. While this was the only option in the past, the problem is that it’s not a responsible option anymore.

Using a landfill means taking the boat to one and leaving it there, not much to it. These days, however, everyone feels responsible for the environment, and it may not leave a pleasant feeling knowing that your old boat is contributing to ruining the environment.

Fortunately, there are other options now. Keep this option as your last resort if you can help it.

3. Recycling

Fiberglass recycling is relatively new. While this option was unavailable years ago, it can now be the responsible choice for people looking to get rid of their old fiberglass boat. Before this, the best option was to leave boats in a landfill.

There are three ways that fiberglass is recycled. The first is by incineration in specialized plants. This process produces steam that powers turbines that are then used to produce electricity.

The second method of recycling involves grinding fiberglass into dust. While ground fiberglass can no longer be used to make fiberglass hulls, it can be used as fillers or additives for other products such as asphalt.

The final method for recycling is called pyrolysis. This involves heating fiberglass at extremely high temperatures in an oxygen-deprived environment to decompose the material, allowing for the collection of certain byproducts such as pyro-gas. This pyro-gas is a good alternative to natural gas.

Contact the related administrative office in your city for assistance regarding fiberglass recycling. There are also groups that advocate for fiberglass boat recycling, and contacting them is a good alternative to relying on city services.

4. Disposal service

Opting for disposal service usually lines up with recycling. However, using a service to scrap a fiberglass boat means you will be paying for it. Unfortunately, the cost for this service can pile up, meaning you may end up spending a lot depending on where you live.

Aside from the disposal itself, you may also have to spend money on transporting the boat. While there are foundations and organizations that lend a hand in fiberglass recycling, you may have to take it upon yourself to bring the boat to them.

Dismantling the boat will make it easier to transport, but the dismantling process can be tricky. It’s a good idea to have a professional do the dismantling if such services are available.

Boat Dismantling


Here’s a step-by-step guide to cut down a fiberglass boat into manageable pieces. For this procedure, we’ll be using a chainsaw since it can cut through wood and fiberglass with relative ease.

Just remember to be mindful of metals, as these can chip or even cause damage to the chainsaw. Stick to cutting through wood and fiberglass only. Also, make sure to wear complete protective gear before proceeding.

We’ll cut the boat into pieces by sections. Take care not to let the chainsaw touch the ground. Also, check out this video for more information about this dismantling process.

1. Empty the boat and drain all liquids

After removing the boat from the trailer, remove all contents aboard the boat. Furniture, electronics, wires, everything you can take off. Also, don’t forget to drain all liquids from the engine.

2. Take off all removable parts

The next step is to remove all detachable parts on the boat. This includes fixtures and furniture installed, especially those made of metal. These can get in the way of the chainsaw once you start cutting the boat apart.

3. Cut out top sections of the boat

After emptying the boat, only the stripped-down frame of the boat should be left. At this point, it’s time to start using the chainsaw.

Start by removing the windshield and dashboard. Take care to avoid any metals as there may be some left. Try to work by cutting through wood and fiberglass exclusively.

Next, remove the top section of the bow by cutting through its sides.

4. Remove gunwales and trim

The next step is to remove the gunwales. Cut the gunwale off from the hull, then cut away the top portion of the hull — the trims. You might find it easier to cut the trims from the inside.

5. Detach the transom

The stern of the boat is the most stable part, owing to the transom. Most transoms are made of thick and solid material, such as a piece of wood, so don’t expect to cut through as easily. Proceed carefully and be mindful of any metal that may be left, such as those used to support an outboard engine.

6. Cut the hull down into strips

After removing the transom, the last step is to cut across the hull and turn it into strips. There may be other types of material embedded, but the chainsaw should have no trouble since hulls would not have any metals left at this stage.

All that’s left is to gather the pieces, and it should be much easier to move them now that they’ve been cut into strips.

Improper Disposal

There are laws and ordinances that govern the proper disposal of fiberglass boats. Failure to comply with these rules may result in hefty fines and penalties. Try to avoid these common disposal mistakes.

1. Sink the boat

While there are people that believe sunken boats can serve as shelter for fish and even help corals grow, the bigger problem is that deliberately sinking your ship may be deemed illegal. Regardless of whether your sunken boat can help marine life, try to refrain from breaking the law when looking for fiberglass boat disposal options.

2. Improper burning or incineration

Burning fiberglass material produces harmful smoke or fumes and is considered illegal in many cities and countries. Aside from the risk of being fined, the health risks make this a bad choice to get rid of an old fiberglass boat.

3. Uncertain disposal methods

Paying just anyone to dispose of a boat by whichever means necessary is not a good idea. If they do not comply with disposal guidelines, you may still end up being penalized.

Instead, opt for a transparent disposal process where you are certain of how disposal is carried out. This will also give you peace of mind knowing you did it the proper way.


Proper boat disposal may involve a lot of details, but now you know how to get rid of a fiberglass boat the right way. While it can take a lot of effort, knowing you don’t run the risk of being penalized is reason enough to comply with local guidelines.

If you found this short guide helpful, please share it with others who may find it useful as well. Feel free to leave your comments below, we’d love to know your thoughts regarding this matter.

Remember to boat safely.

5/5 - (4 votes)