It’s no mystery. Access to our nation’s waterways is a necessity for continued growth in boat sales. So as an industry, the success of the Boating Infrastructure Grants program, which provides critical investments in projects directly tied to getting and keeping people on the water, is one we are constantly on guard to see maintained and funded.
We can applaud this year’s BIG program, which awarded $20.6 million in grants to states and U.S. territories. Specifically, these funds are to be used for the development of dedicated boat tie-up facilities and related amenities.
What’s also great about BIG is that it’s a direct return of boater’s money to boating. Grant recipients use BIG funds to construct, renovate and maintain marinas and other facilities for transient boats (staying 15 days or less) that are 26 feet or more. Grantees also use funds to distribute information and educational materials about boating.
Funding for BIG comes from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, which boaters and manufacturers support through excise and other taxes on fishing and boating equipment, as well as the federal tax on gasoline. Since its inception 19 years ago, the BIG program has awarded $215 million to projects that include the construction of more than 5,400 berths. It’s an obvious reason there’s always a call to all marine industry segments to push for renewal and funding of the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund when it comes up for renewal in Congress.
There are two tiers in the grant process. Tier I awarded $4 million to 24 state agencies to help fund 36 projects. Each applying state with an approved project qualifies for a $200,000 grant.
In Tier II, states must compete for funding. This year the pool was more than $16 million in BIG funds. The grants awarded are supporting 20 projects in 11 states. In this Tier, states can receive up to $1.5 million in federal funding per project. In addition, the states and their partners will provide more than $15 million in matching funds toward these projects and grants.
Here are the 20 recipients of the Tier II grants
Washington New fuel float at Port Angeles Boat Haven to replace existing 40‐year-old fuel float. Federal funds requested: $517,810; non-fed match: $232,638; total: $750,448.
Texas Construct a 36-slip docking facility and community building at Laguna Harbor, Port Bolivar, establishing a transient waypoint along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. Federal funds requested: $1,494,199; non-federal match: $1,325,045; total: $2,819,244.
Ohio Construct 12 day-use slips for boats to 30 feet at Heritage Park in Cleveland. Federal funds requested: $1,146,314; non-fed match: $402,759; total: $1,549,073.
Ohio Add six day-use slips for transient boaters at Rivergate Park on the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland. Federal funds requested: $482,770; non-fed match: $169,622; total: $652,392.
Florida Provide 672 linear feet of side-tie dockage for up to 25 transient boats from 26 to 200 feet at Las Olas Marina in Fort Lauderdale. Federal funds requested: $1,114,354; non-fed match: $1,159,837; total: $2,274,191.
Florida Construct a dock to serve 10 transient slips at West Shore Marina District in Tampa for boats from 35 to 50 feet, dredging and use of the fuel dock. Federal funds requested: $323,951; non-fed match: $337,176; total: $661,127.
Georgia Replace 652 feet of side-tie dockage at Morningstar Marinas, St. Simons Island. Federal funds requested: $442,513.58; non-fed match: $663,770.38; total: $1,106,283.96.
Georgia Add to existing dock a new facility to accommodate 42 boats at St. Marys Dock, with a combination of slips and face dock. Federal funds requested: $1,181,246; non-fed match: $608,521; total: $1,789,767.
South Carolina Expand the number of berths for transient boats at Dolphin Cove Marina in Charleston from 22 to a target capacity of 47, including some dredging and new side-tie slips. Federal funds requested: $312,121; non-fed match: $338,131; total: $650,252.
South Carolina Construct an aluminum floating 425-foot transient dock with utilities and ADA compliant gangway at Reserve Harbor Yacht Club, Pawleys Island. Federal funds requested: $163,632; non-fed match: $170,310; total: $333,942.
Maine Rejuvenate DiMillo's Old Port Marina in Portland with wider docks, two additional 75-foot berths and 70 feet of additional lateral dockage. Federal funds requested: $1,500,000; non-fed match: $958,037; total: $2,458,037.
Maine Construct a 120-foot fixed pier, 334-foot wave-attenuating floating dock, 579-foot floating dock and 16 slips for transient boats at Lyman-Morse Marina in Camden. Federal funds requested: $1,500,000; non-fed match: $2,000,000; total: $3,500,000.
Maryland Replace floating docks providing transient dockage of 20 slips and 1,685 linear feet of side-tie berths at Lighthouse Point West Marina in Baltimore. Federal funds requested: $1,500,000; non-fed match: $1,278,502; total: $2,778,502.
New Jersey Construct 10 large-capacity docks from 66 to 85 feet for a maximum capacity of 47 boats at Port AC Marina in Atlantic City, with some dredging and a service building with heads, showers and laundry. Federal funds requested: $1,474,300; non-fed match: $1,730,700; total: $3,205,000.
New Jersey Reconstruct the Marina at Wiggins Park in Camden to increase transient slips from 16 to 25. Federal funds requested: $1,042,401; non-fed match: $366,249; total: $1,408,650.
New York Replace main dock at Cedar Point State Park Marina in Clayton with a new one capable of allowing up to 30 slips for transient boats. Federal funds requested: $282,477.22; non-fed match: $107,307.82; total: $389,785.04.
New York Construct 100 new slips at Port Chester Slips for transient boats. Federal funds requested: $691,250; non-fed match: $712,857.14; total: $1,404,107.14.
New York Construct a new floating dock facility at Seneca Lake Marina in Geneva to accommodate up to 46 transient boats, including restrooms. Federal funds requested: $649,732; non-fed match: $466,071; total: $1,115,803.
Virginia Replace bulkhead/seawall at the transient dock and add 320 foot of concrete floating docks to accommodate up to 11 transient boats at Garrett's Marina, Bowlers Wharf. Federal funds requested: $298,908; non-fed match: $134,292; total: $433,200.
Virginia Replace fixed dock tree with new floating docks, utilities, fuel system, amenities and 20 transient slips at Norton's Marina in Deltaville as well as repair bulkhead adjacent to transient slips. Federal funds requested: $386,618; non-fed match: $335,000; total: $721,618.
The BIG program is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. BoatUS played a major role in getting the program developed and funded back in 2000.