Shootin’ the Breeze… with Shane Mugan, founder of Ultimate Boats

Q Last year Ultimate Boats unveiled a fully recyclable leisure boat. Can you tell us about the DANU™ technology used?
SM: We developed and patented DANU, a fully recyclable composite material. Unlike fibreglass, which is notoriously difficult to reuse and often ends up in landfill or on the seabed, DANU is designed for circularity. Its superior mechanical strength and negligible switching costs means it is an excellent replacement for fibreglass and carbon fibre. Not only is DANU fully recyclable and more sustainable, it is also safer for operators to work with compared to fibreglass. By using DANU, boat builders can contribute to a more sustainable future for our planet while also enjoying the benefits of a strong, lightweight material that can be recycled and reused repeatedly.

Q How did the renowned designer John Moxham become involved with Ultimate Boats?
SM: John Moxham is a world-renowned hydrodynamics expert and boat designer, and his reputation for designing the world’s most advanced high-performance crafts is peerless. In early 2018, I was introduced to John by a mutual friend when we became aware of a secret project to reimagine planning hull technology and hydrodynamic performance using principles that were first conceived during the development of the XB-70 Valkyrie supersonic bomber. The new technology enhances performance across all our commercial workboat and tactical range, producing intuitive handling, superior seakeeping capabilities, directional stability and comfort.

Q The M-Class got people talking at the Southampton International Boat Show. How would you sum it up?
SM: Winning the Best RIB Patrol Boat in the World Award, we are proud to say that the M-Class model is a true testament to our commitment to innovation and sustainability. It is a versatile, high-performance craft that we believe offers exceptional handling and stability in challenging marine environments. The M-Class sets a new standard in spearheading the decarbonisation of the marine industry by leveraging our patented hull and recyclable composite technologies, which are capable of significant reductions in both fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

Q The disposal of fibreglass boats continues to be a problem. How does DANU solve this?
SM: Simply, fibreglass is useless at being recycled. DANU solves that very big problem. Mike Golding OBE, one of the world’s most accomplished and successful offshore sailors and chairman of World Sailing Sustainability Commission 2030, said of fibreglass and DANU: “Since its broad introduction in the 1950s, fibreglass and composite materials have totally transformed the sport of sailing. Today, as we move into an ‘age of sustainability’ it is crucial that all future boat construction adapts and becomes fully circular. Encouragingly, I have seen many hybrid composite solutions developed but DANU is quite possibly the most complete – offering, at end of life, the potential to reuse both the fibres and resin whilst performing better than comparable construction systems.”

Q How long do you think it will take for fibreglass boats to be replaced by more sustainable options?
SM: The shift towards more sustainable options in the boating industry has already begun, and we are seeing a growing demand for greener alternatives to fibreglass boats. While it is difficult to predict an exact timeline for the replacement of fibreglass boats with more sustainable options, factors such as technological advancements, consumer demand and regulatory requirements will play a significant role. However, it is clear that the future of the boating industry lies in sustainability, and we will continue to see a shift towards more sustainable options in the coming years.

Q If there is one single thing leisure boaters could do today to be more environmentally friendly what would it be?
SM: If you are a leisure boater, there are many things you can do to be more environmentally friendly, and each small action can make a big difference. For example, you can reduce your speed, which not only saves fuel but also reduces the amount of pollution you release into the environment. You can also properly dispose of any waste, including plastics, and make sure that you are not leaving any rubbish behind. Finally, you can use eco-friendly cleaning products and avoid harsh chemicals that can harm marine life. By taking these steps, you can be a part of the solution and help to ensure that our oceans and waterways are protected for generations to come.

Q We saw you at the Southampton International Boat Show last year – will you be back this year?
SM: Yes, absolutely! Our company highly values the opportunity to connect with our customers and industry peers at events like the Southampton International Boat Show. We will definitely be back this year to showcase our latest innovations and products, and to engage in meaningful conversations about the future of the marine industry. We look forward to seeing you there!

Q Thank you for your time. Lastly, can you tell us something people might not know about you!
SM: The unique ability to juggle a dozen champagne flutes while riding a unicycle. Okay, that might not be entirely true, but it would certainly make for an entertaining addition to my LinkedIn profile, wouldn’t it? In reality, I am just a regular person with a passion for green technologies, the maritime industry and a slightly above-average ability to tell dad jokes. If anyone ever needs a unicycling champagne juggler for a party, you know who to call!

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