17 Jul $14.7 million for Boating Infrastructure Grants: Who Should Apply, and When?


In July, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced $14.7 million in 2017-18 for Federal grants under the Boating Infrastructure Grant, or B.I.G., program. This program funnels user taxes paid by boaters to develop transient boating projects.

Each state administers their portion of the funding, which is used to construct, renovate and maintain facilities with features for transient boaters in vessels 26 feet or more in length. According to news distributed by BoatUS, municipal and private marinas, boat clubs and yacht clubs are encouraged to apply.

We spoke with Veronica Masson — Federal Aid Coordinator at the R.I. Division of Fish and Wildlife and our state’s contact for the program — to learn more about the B.I.G. program and the application process.


US Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke (second from left, in hat) announces $14.7 million for B.I.G. Program

This funding has been used for boat slips, piers, dinghy or courtesy docks, gangways, fuel stations, restrooms and showers, floating or fixed breakwaters, sea walls and other elements that improve facilities for transient boaters.

According to Masson, there are two tiers of funding. Tier I grants are typically smaller projects, and the state is awarded $200,000 for these projects. Applicants apply for 75% of their project’s cost and will need to match the remaining 25%.

Tier 2 projects are typically larger projects and are nationally competitive. The maximum Federal share for FY 2018 Tier 2 national grants is $1.5 million per application. The B.I.G. program awarded more than $9 million in Tier 2 national grants in FY 2017 to 10 U.S. states, and the FY 2018 amount for Tier 2 national grants is estimated at $8 million. According to Masson, this funding has been used in the past for projects in both Newport and Bristol.

Companies and organizations interested in exploring an application to the B.I.G. program need to start with Veronica Masson at the R.I. Division of Fish and Wildlife (email / 401-423-1938).

Although reports in the boating trade media list September 11 as the deadline, applicants need to lay the groundwork well before the Federal deadline. Masson recommends that R.I. organizations make contact with her no later than August 18.