Can We Trust Plastic Boat Parts?


When a plastic part on our boat breaks, we often deem it “damn cheap plastic” and toss it away. In some parts of the world, that broken bit winds up in the whorl of floating plastics known as the Pacific Garbage Patch, and practically everywhere else (even our bodies), as part of the uncountable trillions of micro-plastic particles slowly entering the food chain. Sadly, the reason the part broke is often our own fault. Even parts made with the highest-quality materials can fail when misused. As with any material used on our boat, we should recognize the characteristics of various plastics, how they can fail, and how we can repair them.

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Drew Frye
Drew Frye, Practical Sailor’s technical editor, has used his background in chemistry and engineering to help guide Practical Sailor toward some of the most important topics covered during the past 10 years. His in-depth reporting on everything from anchors to safety tethers to fuel additives have netted multiple awards from Boating Writers International. With more than three decades of experience as a refinery engineer and a sailor, he has a knack for discovering money-saving “home-brew” products or “hacks” that make boating affordable for almost anyone. He has conducted dozens of tests for Practical Sailor and published over 200 articles on sailing equipment. His rigorous testing has prompted the improvement and introduction of several marine products that might not exist without his input. His book “Rigging Modern Anchors” has won wide praise for introducing the use of modern materials and novel techniques to solve an array of anchoring challenges.