A range of organotin compounds including tributyltin (TBT), dibutyltin (DBT) and monobutyltin (MBT) were measured in sediment cores collected from contaminated freshwater and estuarine sites in Essex and Suffolk, U.K. Butyltin compounds were found in significant quantities at depths of up to 60 cm within the sediments of marina and boatyard complexes with TBT concentrations ranging from <3 ng g(-1) (the detection limit) to >3000 ng g(-1). In general sediment TBT concentrations decreased with depth, but maximum enrichment tended to occur just below the surface. It was evident from these core profiles that the accumulation of organotins in surface deposits was on the decline and coincided approximately, with the implementation in 1987 of the UK retail ban on the sale of TBT based antifouling paints for application on vessels <25 m in length. The degradation rate for TBT in sediments was found to exhibit first order kinetics with half lives ranging from 0.9-5.2 years between different sites. Estimated degradation rates have also been determined for DBT and MBT. These ranged from 1.5-3.0 years for DBT and 1.8-3.7 years for MBT.