Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Boating Infrastructure Grant Program

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A program of the Department of the Interior, US Fish and Wildlife Service

All Boating Infrastructure Grant proposals must have been received by our office by August 15th, 2023 in order to be considered for this round of applications.

Program Background

  • The Sportfishing and Boating Safety Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-178) established BIG to provide funding to States, the District of Columbia, Commonwealths, and territories for the development and maintenance of facilities for transient non-trailerable recreational vessels.
  • The anticipated awarding amount for Boating Infrastructure Grant Program [BIG] Tier 2 Funding is $14,000,000 for this round of funding. The maximum Federal share for FY 2023 Tier 2 - National grants is $1.5 million per application
  • Funds are awarded to appropriate state agencies for the development and maintenance of facilities for transient, non-trailerable recreational boats. In New York State, all applicants must apply through NYS OPRHP.
  • Please go to http://Grants.govLeaving New York State Parks, search for CDFA #15.622 to get information and instructions on this program. Should you wish to apply, please contact Tremenia Haggray at

Program Mandates

  • Facilities are on navigable waters, allowing reasonable public access to all recreational vessels (26 foot or greater in length), charging equitable fees, and being open for reasonable periods.
  • Facilities construction or renovation is designed to last at least 20 years.
  • Facilities are for temporary (less than 15 day visit) use by non-trailerable (greater than or equal to 26 feet) transient recreational vessels (operated primarily for pleasure).
  • Facilities are in water greater than or equal to 6 feet of depth at the lowest tide.
  • Facilities provide security, safety, and service (including a pumpout station within 2 miles for overnight facilities).
  • Buy America, Build America Act - The Buy America, Build America Act (sections 70901-52 of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, Pub. L. 117-58) requires all federal agencies to ensure that no financial assistance funding is provided for infrastructure projects unless all of the iron, steel, manufactured products, and construction materials used in the project are produced in the United States, unless subject to an approved waiver. Per the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) memorandum M-2211, federal agencies must meet this requirement by May 14, 2022. More information can be found in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service BABA Fact Sheet.

What is Boating Infrastructure?

Boating Infrastructure refers to features that provide stopover places for transient nontrailerable recreational vessels to tie up. These features include, but are not limited to:

Mooring buoys, day docks, navigational aids, transient slips, safe harbors, 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 and marine fueling stations.

Eligible Activites

  • Construct, renovate, and maintain municipally-owned boating infrastructure tie-up facilities;
  • one time dredging only to give transient vessels safe channel depths between the tie-up facility and maintained channels or open water; (sometimes allow for depths greater than 6' if justified). The dredging cannot exceed $200,000 in Federal funds.
  • install navigational aids, limited to giving transient vessels safe passage between the tie-up facility and maintained channels or open water;
  • grant administration;
  • preliminary costs (appraisals, environmental reviews, permits, feasibility studies, site surveys, site planning, preparing cost estimates, construction plans and specifications);
    • Note: "Preliminary costs are not guaranteed and may only be eligible if they are necessary and reasonable for completion of project objectives and are approved in writing by the Federal agency."
  • information and education materials.

Ineligible Activites

  • Projects that do not provide public benefits or are not open to the public;
  • involve law enforcement activities;
  • significantly degrade or destroy valuable natural resources or alter the cultural or historic nature of the area; construct or renovate principal structures not expected to last at least 20 years;
  • maintenance dredging;
  • fund operations or routine, custodial, and janitorial maintenance of the facility;
  • tie-up facilities available for occupancy for more than 10 consecutive days by a single party;
  • dry land storage;
  • haul-out features;
  • boating features for trailerable or "car-top" boats such as launch ramps and carry-down walkways;
  • conduct surveys

Rating Criteria

Criteria for reviewing and ranking BIG Tier 2 applications are in the Final Rule for BIG (50 CFR 86.51) published May 6, 2015 in the Federal Register. There are a total of 36 points possible per application. You must fully address the following criteria to demonstrate that the proposed BIG project will:

(a) Meet a Documented Need, Improve Eligible Boater Access, and Demonstrate Cost Efficiency (20 total possible points.)

(1) Will the proposed boating infrastructure meet a need for more or improved facilities? (0–10 points)

  • In evaluating a proposed project under this criterion, the following items will be considered:
    1. Construct new boating infrastructure in an area that lacks it, but where eligible vessels now travel or would travel if the project were completed;
    2. Renovate a facility to improve its physical condition, follow local building codes, improve safety, or adapt it to a new purpose;
    3. Create accessibility for eligible vessels by reducing wave action, increasing depth, or making other improvements;
    4. Expand an existing facility that is unable to accommodate current or projected demand by eligible vessels; or
    5. Make other improvements to accommodate an established need.

(2) Will eligible users receive benefits from the proposed boating infrastructure that justify the cost of the project? (0–7 points)

  • In evaluating a proposed project under this criterion, USFWS considers the total cost of the project, the benefits made available to eligible users, and the objectivity or reliability of the data and information used to demonstrate benefits relative to costs. Relate costs and benefits to the need for the project (See § 86.43(a)). They may consider the availability of preexisting structures and amenities, but only in the context of the identified need. As costs vary depending on local factors, cost per slip is not used to compare projects. Describe in your application any factors that would influence costs such as:
    1. The need for specialized materials to meet local codes, address weather, future sea level rise, or terrain, or extend useful life;
    2. Increased transportation costs due to facility location; or
    3. Other factors that may increase costs but support needed benefits.
  • Describe any costs associated with providing a harbor of safe refuge, if applicable.

(3) Will the proposed boating infrastructure accommodate boater access to significant destinations and services that support transient boater travel? (0–3 points)

  • In evaluating a proposed project under this criterion, the following items will be considered:
    1. The degree of access that the BIG-funded facility will provide;
    2. Activities, events, or landmarks near the facility, how well known they are, how long they are available, and how likely they are to attract boaters to the facility.
    3. The availability of services and the degree of safety at and around the facility, the ease of access to these services, and how well they meet the needs of eligible boaters.

(b) Meet Match Requirements and Demonstrate Partnerships (10 total possible points)

(1) Will the proposed project include private, local, or State funds greater than the required minimum match? (0-7 points)

  • As given in § 86.56, points will be awarded under this criterion as follows. Please note that, while in-kind services and materials may be included in the minimum 25 percent match requirement, your proposal will only be scored on this criterion for additional cash match.
Percent Cash Match Points
26-30 1
31-35 2
36-40 3
41-45 4
46-50 5
51-80 6
81 or higher 7

(2) Will the proposed project include contributions by private or public partners that contribute to the project objectives? (0–3 points)

  • Partners may include non-Federal entities such as sub-grantees, private businesses, other State agencies other than the primary recipient of BIG funds, non-profit organizations, or Federal agencies other than the Service. To be considered a partner, the entity must commit a financial or in-kind contribution or take a voluntary action that is necessary for, and directly and substantively contributes to, completion of the project. See § 86.55 and §86.57 for additional guidance. In evaluating proposed projects under this criterion, the following items will be considered:
    1. The significance of the contribution to the success of the project;
    2. How the contribution supports the actions proposed in the project statement;
    3. How the partner demonstrates its commitment to the contribution; and
    4. The demonstrated ability of the partner to fulfill its commitment

(c) Demonstrate Innovation and Environmental Stewardship (6 total possible points)

(1) Will the proposed project include physical components, technology, or techniques that improve eligible user access? (0-3 points)

  • In evaluating a proposed project under this criterion, USFWS will consider whether the project will increase the availability of the BIG-funded facility for eligible users or improve eligible boater access to the facility. Describe whether you will be:
    1. Using a new technology or technique;
    2. Applying a new use of an existing technology or technique;
  • It will be considered if you choose to complete the project using an optional or advanced technology or technique. If you choose to go beyond the minimum technical requirements for a project component, you must describe the current standard and how you will exceed the standard. Points will not be awarded for following standards set by law.

(2) Will the proposed project include innovative physical components, technology, or techniques that improve the BIG-funded project? (0–2 points)

  • In evaluating a proposed project under this criterion, USFWS will consider if the project will include physical components, technology, or techniques that are newly available, or repurposed in a unique way. Examples include components, technology or techniques that:
    1. Extend the useful life of the project;
    2. Are designed to help save costs, decrease maintenance, or improve operation;
    3. Are designed to improve services or amenities for BIG-eligible users;
    4. Reduce the carbon footprint of the facility;
    5. Reduce negative environmental impacts (beyond compliance requirements); or
    6. Improve facility resilience.

(3) Has the facility where the project is located demonstrated a commitment to environmental compliance, sustainability, and stewardship and has an agency or organization officially recognized the facility for its commitment? (0–1 points)

  • In evaluating a project under this criterion, USFWS will consider if the application documents that the facility has received official recognition for its voluntary commitment to environmental compliance, sustainability, and stewardship by exceeding regulatory requirements. The official recognition must be part of a voluntary, established program administered by a Federal or State agency, local governmental agency, Sea Grant or equivalent entity, or a State or Regional marina organization. The program must require the facility to use management and operational techniques and practices that will ensure it continues to meet the high standards of the program and must contain a component that requires periodic review. The facility must have met the criteria required by the program and received official recognition by the due date of the application.