Soon run for old two-strokes

17 January, 2022

Old boat engines that are environmental culprits must be removed. This is stated in a new action programme from the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management.
“Invest in a scrapping premium,” suggests Mats Eriksson, CEO of the boat industry’s national association, Sweboat.

Two-stroke engines with carburetors emit about a quarter of the fuel instead of burning it. Now the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management wants to see a ban or other measures to remove the environmentally unfriendly boat engines. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

About 100,000 old two-stroke engines are estimated to be on pleasure boats around the country. Many are durable faithful servants who have been around for decades.

But the combustion of fuel is poor. About a quarter of the gasoline goes straight into the aquatic environment, along with the exhaust gases.

Now, the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management (Hav) in its new program for the marine environment “requires a ban or active phasing out of two-stroke engines with carburetors”.

The program includes assignments to various government agencies to do things, which can then affect the public or companies. It is precisely the boat engines that are the responsibility of the Swedish Transport Agency.

Doesn’t run far

Oceans have the industry with them about the two-strokes, basically.

“These are absolutely environmental culprits that will eventually be removed,” says Mats Eriksson, CEO of Sweboat, which is the boat industry’s national association.

“But the question is how urgent it is, given how little they are used.

Most of the two-strokes that remain are on small boats, which in many cases run short distances each year, according to Sweboat.

“Should we then produce an extra number of new engines to replace them,” Eriksson thinks.

If it is deemed urgent, Sweboat still wants to avoid an outright ban.

– Introduce a scrapping premium for a limited time, to help you along the way. Then the industry can take care of the scrapping, so that you know that the engines will be removed from the market, says Eriksson.

Exhaust gas cleaning

Modern two-strokes with direct injection, instead of carburetors, are not touched. They are much better from an environmental point of view, but relatively unusual.

In the longer term, the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management also wants to see requirements for exhaust gas cleaning on new recreational boats, with modern engines.

Another new point in the action programme concerns environmentally hazardous antifouling paints with biocides, which are estimated to do particularly great damage in the salt-poor waters of the Baltic Sea. The paints produce emissions of copper and zinc.

Here, the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management wants it to be investigated whether to introduce a ban on the sale of these paints to boats that belong to the Baltic Sea.

“It’s not a big shock. The alternative methods, such as bottom washing and other paints, have come a long way, says Mats Eriksson.

EU alignment

The location is different in the West Sea. On the one hand, the aquatic environment is judged to be a little more resistant to the dangerous antifouling paints. But on the other hand, the boat hulls there are attacked faster by barnacles and other things, which makes the colors more indispensable for the boaters.

Every environmentally hazardous paint must be approved by the Swedish Chemicals Agency in order to be used in different water areas. These approvals are timed, and now the inspection is commissioned by the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management to refine the assessments for future approvals.

– We are in the process of moving to an EU-wide trial, says Anneli Rudström, biologist and advisor at the Swedish Chemicals Agency.

Two-stroke engines with carburetors stopped being produced in 2007, according to Sweboat (the boat industry’s national association).

They only burn about 75 percent of the fuel. The rest go out into the aquatic environment.

It is the Swedish Transport Agency that is commissioned by the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management (Hav) to review how to get rid of the two-strokes, with “prohibition or active phasing out”.

Exceptions may be made for recreational craft with cultural-historical value. Hav gives the example that it could apply if both the boat and the engine are at least 50 years old.

Two-stroke engines without carburetors are not touched.

Source: Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management, Sweboat

Text: Micke Larsson/TT
Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

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