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Recycle, Reduce, Reuse

by Kate Calamusa

Got a derelict boat to ditch? Consider it “gone-zo” thanks to a new biz that takes the hassle out of the haulaway—and even recycles old parts to give them a new lease on life.

“There’s gotta be a better way!” It might be a cheesy, as-seen-on-TV line, but it’s also a thought that crossed Frank Gonzalez’s mind many times over the years when it came to the conundrum posed by the derelict boats he spotted throughout our region. After spending stints as a shipwright, a marina manager, and working for the Northwest Marine Trade Association (NMTA) where the problem came up time and again in meetings⁠, Gonzalez offered his own solution with the launch of Gonzo Boatworks in early 2022, a firm that hauls abandoned or inactive boats out of our waterways—then finds new ways to recycle and upcycle them. “Just because a boat isn’t viable for one owner doesn’t mean that it can’t be usable in another way,” he explains. “If I can provide an easy way for owners to responsibly dispose of their boats and help create a marketplace for the re-usable elements, then perhaps that can help break the cycle of boats just being abandoned.”

The process starts with an initial site visit to the boat in question, then Gonzalez figures out the logistics to haul away boats of all sizes, from tenders and dinghies (starting at $100) to larger cruisers (a 25-to 35-footer costs between $2,000-$3,000). Willing owners can alternatively drop off vessels for a smaller fee. Then, Gonzo Boatworks goes to work, salvaging usable parts to list on their online marketplace and reselling to people seeking hard-to-find specialty parts or cheaper alternatives. The crafty former Microsoft engineer has also been known to transform old furnishings, metal scraps, wood planks, and other onboard elements into custom creations, such as the nautically themed shed he recently built for an owner from the scraps of a beloved boat. And, for vessels that are not quite derelict yet, Gonzo Boatworks re-homes those through their “adopt a boat” program. “Sometimes a boat just needs a little TLC, so we’ll work to find the right caretaker and give them the resources they need so that these vessels can be fixed up and continue to bring joy for just a bit longer.”

For more information on recycling a craft, custom projects, or to check out the current adopt-a- boat listings, visit: gonzoboatworks.com

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