BIG program has $24.7 million available

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Lake Erie fishing boat
A fishing boat leaving mainland on Lake Erie.

SPRINGFIELD, Va. — The Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) program has $24.7 million in funds available to local governments, port agencies, private marinas and boat clubs.

The program funnels federal fuel taxes paid by recreational boaters back to the states to attract visiting boaters with amenities such as secure overnight dockage.

The associated visiting boater spending that BIG projects draw can increase economic development and bring revenue to local businesses.

The competitive matching grant program requires a minimum of 25% of funds from state, local and private sources.

Waterfront communities can use BIG funds to welcome passing boaters for the day, a weekend or up to 10 days in port.

The facilities must target transient recreational vessels 26 feet in length and larger.

In addition to providing a place to safely “park,” BIG dollars can be used to install conveniences such as restrooms, bathing facilities, fuel docks, water and sewage utilities, laundries, and pumpout stations. There are limited funds for dredging.

The program has a recurring annual application deadline, typically in the late summer to early fall, varying by state.

BoatUS advises potential applicants to contact the agency in their state that administers BIG funds.

To learn more, go to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Boating Infrastructure Grant webpage, and find the States Organization for Boating Access’ BIG coordinator list.

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