Recovering Boat Wreckages from The Helford and Fal

by Clean Ocean Sailing in Penryn, Cornwall, United Kingdom

Recovering Boat Wreckages from The Helford and Fal
We did it
On 15th May 2023 we successfully raised £1,845 with 45 supporters in 56 days

Our aim is to locate and remove the many boat wreckages in the Helford River and Fal, to prevent plastic pollution and protect wildlife.

by Clean Ocean Sailing in Penryn, Cornwall, United Kingdom

Located and pinned wrecked/abandoned boats in the Helford River

We are Clean Ocean Sailing.

A Cornish voluntary organisation that dedicates itself to cleaning our coasts and oceans sustainably under sail, and raising awareness about ocean plastics. With the help of The Annette and some smaller crafts, we sail and paddle to remote, inaccessible places to clean up our coast by collecting plastic from the shores and sorting, recording, reusing and recycling it.

In doing so, COS contributes to the creation of a circular economy around marine plastics, striving to raise awareness about the Ocean Crisis and its consequences for local, national and global communities.

We work with volunteers of all ages and backgrounds. So far, we have recovered over 55 tons of marine waste. Our central message is to Refuse, Recover, Reuse, Repurpose and Recycle the marine plastic devastating our marine environments. COS activities are achievable by all, encouraging people from every walk of life to join in and empowering them to make a difference.

In the Helford, there are currently around 20 boats (1 by Tremayne Quay, 2 by Polwheveral Creek and the rest in Anna Maria Creek), which are clearly abandoned, and actively degrading, releasing pollution into waters, sediments and the food chain. (Map link above). The current situation is also attracting more boats in poor condition with risk of abandonment in the future.

As these wrecks sit exposed to the elements and tides, small pieces of plastic are released into the environment. This includes paints, sealants, and toxic compounds leached from plastics and resins. 

Our plan is to use the crane and slipway at our little boat yard Constantine Quay up at Gweek. We will float the wrecks up to Gweek where they can be craned out, or haul them in one piece onto a trailer if they are small enough to do this from the track. 

The cost of disposal of fibreglass is £400 per ton, with the discount we arranged at Truro recycling. We estimate the total cost of our clean up operation will be around £15,000 (which is just the transport and disposal costs of 20 wrecks).

Clean Ocean Sailing is a not-for-profit organisation, run by a group of volunteers, with no mainstream funding. All our clean up activities are possible thanks to the generosity of individuals through crowdfunding. We have the man and womanpower, the equipment, and the drive in abundance to make our Helford River free, not just of plastic wrecks, but also their toxic and far-reaching legacy if they are left to continue to degrade in the river.

If appropriate funding is in place, we can also expand our operations to other rivers around Cornwall.

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