DEEP: Boating Infrastructure Grant Program

Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) Program

Who is eligible to apply?
Program funds are available to public and private agencies and marinas and other facilities that provide transient tie-up opportunities for non-trailerable (26' or over in length) recreational boats.

Where do funds come from?
Funds come from the Sport Fish Restoration Account of the Aquatic Resources Trust Fund. This Trust Fund is contained within the Highway Trust and has been reauthorized under the Sportfishing and Boating Safety Act of 2005. The funds result from a Federal excise tax on fishing equipment, trolling motors, import duties on boats and motorboat fuels.

How are funds awarded?
All funds are awarded to an appropriate State Agency. For Connecticut, the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) Boating Division is designated as the administering entity for the BIG Program. The DEEP encourages local units of government and private facilities to participate in this program by submitting grant requests for transient facilities to the DEEPís Boating Division. Applicants will be notified if their project was not selected at the State level to go to the Federal level. States are generally notified by January of each year of grant awards. DEEP will in turn notify remaining applicants of the status. Awarded federal funds can be used to reimburse up to 75% of the approved project costs. The remaining "matching" funds must come from the grant recipient.

Funding Levels
There are two levels of funding within the Boating Infrastructure Grant Program:

Tier I: An annual maximum of $100,000 is available to each applying state under the Tier I portion of the BIG Program. However, the Connecticut DEEP is making $90,000 available for these projects; ten thousand dollars goes to administrative costs. Tier I is designed for smaller projects that add transient boating infrastructure to the area and to compete at the state level. Projects will be selected at a minimum funding level of $30,000 and a maximum of $90,000. Selected projects must still be authorized by USFWS.

Tier II: The remainder of the BIG Program annual funding (2% of the fund money, but not less than $8 million nationally, less whatever is awarded under Tier I) is typically awarded to larger projects under Tier II. Tier II projects that qualify at the state level are then competitively judged at the national level. Top scoring projects are awarded an eligible for funding status by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Please note: While both tiers of the BIG Program are very competitive; the level of national competition within Tier II is especially high. Successful projects are of a superior nature and are submitted with very thorough applications. To be competitive in Tier II, we recommend that even the best projects be submitted with a substantial percentage of matching dollars.

We recommend that if you are considering applying for a Tier II project that you contact us early in the application process so that we can provide assistance on the details of your application.

Eligible Projects
The Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) Program is designed to provide federal funds for the creation or renovation of tie-up facilities for transient, nontrailerable recreational boats 26 feet or larger.

What types of projects can be funded?

  • Mooring buoys
  • Day-docks
  • Navigational aids (channel markers, buoys, directional information)
  • Transient slips (slips that boaters with nontrailerable recreational vessels occupy for no more than 10 consecutive days)
  • Safe harbors for transients
  • Floating docks and fixed piers
  • Floating and fixed breakwaters
  • Dinghy docks
  • Restrooms
  • Retaining walls
  • Bulkheads
  • Dockside utilities
  • Pumpout stations
  • Recycling and trash receptacles
  • Dockside electric service
  • Dockside water supplies
  • Dockside pay telephones
  • Debris deflection booms
  • Marine fueling stations
  • Initial, one-time-only dredging, only to provide transient vessels with safe channel depths to the transient facility.

All facilities constructed under this program must be:

  • Secure and safe with service available
  • Designed and constructed so as to last at least 20 yrs
  • Used by transient boaters (boaters not at their home port and staying not more than 10 consecutive days)
  • Designed to accommodate boats 26' in length or greater
  • In boating access waters at least 6 feet deep (at low water)
  • On designated navigable waters
  • Within two miles of a public pumpout
  • Open to the public
  • Used for the original stated grant purpose throughout the useful life of the project
  • Maintained throughout their useful life

Facilities that participate in the program must allow the feature(s) constructed under the BIG Program to be open to the general public and provide access to shore along with other existing basic features of the facility such as fuel, pumpouts, and restrooms. Some type of reservation system must also be available to ensure boaters space when they arrive. Access to other nonessential features of the facility is not required.

Reasonable rates (prevailing rates in the area) may be charged to boaters for transient mooring facilities constructed under the BIG Program.

Projects are ineligible for funding if the proposed activities include:

  • Activities or construction that does not provide a benefit to the public.
  • Law enforcement patrols
  • Law enforcement activities against the applicant (i.e. un-permitted structures)
  • Law enforcement violations (i.e. operations without permits)
  • Degradation of valuable natural resources or cultural or historic nature of the area
  • Maintenance dredging
  • Routine, custodial and/or janitorial maintenance activities (those that occur regularly on an annual or more frequent basis)
  • Construction or maintenance of facilities designed for trailerable boats
  • Construction of slips for long term rental (more than 10 days)
  • Dry land storage or haul out facilities

When is the application deadline?
GRANT PROGRAM HIATUS: DEEP will not be accepting grant applications under the Boating Infrastructure Grant Program for the 2015 season (FY 2016 funding year).  Due to changes in the Federal Rules for this program, DEEP plans to take this season to modify the grant application materials in order to improve our ability to service applicants and to ensure we meet the new Federal guidelines.  We anticipate accepting grant proposals during the 2016 funding year (FY 2017). Please check back in February, 2016 for updated details. 
For more information about the program, please contact Kate Hughes Brown.
  Thank you.

More information is available on Additional Grant Basics, Eligible Projects , How Projects are Scored, and What To Do If Your Project is Approved for Funding . You can also view a Sample Grant Agreement for your project.

Boating Infrastructure Grant Recipients

Complete BIG Program Information (including application):
PDF version,  Word version