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Repurpose gear

by Emma Janson, Sailors for the Sea 18 May 2021 03:14 PDT
What do you do with gear that has been outgrown or has reached its end life? © Sailors for the Sea

Whether you are a competitive racer or enjoy boating recreationally, there are a lot of different types of gear that you will use while boating, including life jackets, wetsuits, foul weather gear, gloves and ropes.

What do you do with gear that has been outgrown or has reached its end life? There are a variety of ways to reuse, repurpose and recycle boating gear to help reduce waste that may otherwise end up in the landfill or our oceans.

Personal clothing and gear

  • Support companies that will help maintain or repair clothing and gear to prolong the life your items.
  • At your marina or club, set up a gear donation box where boaters can donate clothing, gloves and life jackets that they are no longer using.
  • Set up a gear swap day to trade useful items with other boaters.
  • Send your old wetsuits to be recycled into neoprene yoga mats.


  • Send your used sails to a company that will transform the material into reusable bags.
  • Research other opportunities to repurpose retired sails. For example, the Royal Canadian Yacht Club collaborates with Canadian Food for Children to send used sails to developing countries for ground and roof covers.
  • Set up a sail drive at your club or marina to collect old sails.

Ropes and lines

  • Upcycle your old line into a rope rug, durable dog leash or even a rope koozie.
  • Research companies that will collect your used rope and repurpose into other items.

Did you know?

Personal flotation devices (PFDs) do not have expiration dates. However, if you are donating gear that is used for safety, ensure that fabric is free of rips and the flotation material has not deteriorated. Regular wear and tear and poor storage can impact how a life jacket performs and protects the user when they're in the water.

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