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2021 Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) Program

Preparing for 2021

Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) Applications

Typically, boating infrastructure grant money becomes available each summer from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) Program offers public and private marinas and other facilities funds for creation or renovation of transient facilities for recreational boats 26' or larger.


In the past few years, applications were accepted from June into September. RACE has successfully worked with facility owners to secure BIG funding.  Planning and preparing ahead for the open application period is important. Please call us if we can help.

What types of projects can be funded?


  • Mooring buoys

  • Day-docks

  • Navigational aids (channel markers, buoys, directional information)

  • Transient slips (slips that boaters with recreational vessels occupy for no more than 15 consecutive days)

  • Safe harbors for transients

  • Floating docks and fixed piers

  • Floating and fixed breakwaters

  • Dinghy docks

  • Restrooms and showers

  • Retaining walls

  • Bulkheads

  • Dockside utilities

  • Recycling and trash receptacles

  • Dockside electric service

  • Dockside water supplies

  • Dockside pay telephones

  • Debris deflection booms

  • Marine fueling stations 

  • Dredging (Maximum of $200,000 of federal funds)


All facilities constructed under this program must be:

  • Secure and safe with service available

  • Designed and constructed such that each capital improvement component of the project has an identified useful life, and that useful life has been determined by using a generally accepted method which is referenced in the application.  In general, facilities with a longer useful life will be more competitive.

  • Used by transient boaters (boaters not at their home port and staying not more than 15 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

  • In compliance with the American’s with Disabilities Act

  • Used for the original stated grant purpose throughout the useful life of the project

  • Maintained throughout their useful life

*water depth less than 6’ at MLW may be allowed if an applicant demonstrates that the project can still serve the typical boater at that location


“One of the key criteria of how applications are ranked is that the application conveys why the boaters need this project,” advises Bill Perry, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s BIG Coordinator.


Levels of Funding


Tier I – State -  Annual Maximum of $200,000 is available to each applying state. Awarded funds can be used to reimburse up to 75% of the approved project costs. The remaining matching funds must come from the grant recipient. In Connecticut, the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) Boating Division is the administrative agency.


Tier II – National Larger projects can be judged at the national level. 2021’s approvals are expected to occur in March or April. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reportedly expects to announce 10 awards, each ranging from $200,000 - $1,500,000. Tier II also requires a minimum of 25% recipient match with more points awarded for higher match levels.



Facilities that participate in the program must allow the feature(s) constructed under the BIG Program to be open to any eligible users along with other existing basic features of the facility such as fuel, pumpouts, and restrooms. Access to other nonessential features of the facility is not required.

Reasonable rates (prevailing rates in the area) must 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 eligible users

  • 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

  • Installation or maintenance of pumpout facilities or vessels

  • Land Acquisition

  • Construction, renovation or maintenance of shops, stores, food service or other retail businesses, lodging, facility administration or management

  • Construction, renovation or maintenance of facilities for boat transportation, storage, repair or other services

  • Purchase or operation of service boats to transport boaters to and from mooring areas

  • Marketing activities that do not focus on BIG or BIG-funded facility

  • Purchase of supplies or other expendable personal property not directly related to achieving the project objectives

  • 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 15 days)

  • Dry land storage or haul out facilities

  • Any other activities that are inconsistent with the purposes of BIG or that are inconsistent with Federal Cost Principles (see 2 CFR part 200, subpart F)

How to Apply

To view or download an Applicant’s Guide to the Boating Infrastructure Grant Program and a Sample Application for Funding,  click here


Update 6/21/2021: The State of Connecticut has posted the 2022 Boating Infrastructure Grants (BIG) Applications at the State’s webportal


Milestone Dates and Submittal Requirements:


  • Monday, July 19, 2021 at 4:00 PM-Deadline to submit written questions.

  • Thursday, July 22, 2021 at 4:00 PM – Deadline for DEEP to post responses to RFA questions on its website.

  • Monday, August 2, 2021 at 4:00 PM – Deadline to submit completed Application form and all required attachments.


Please let us know if we can be of assistance - RACE maintains experience and expertise related to BIG applications. 


Applicants need to apply through their state’s agency:


Connecticut – Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection 


New York - New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation   

Rhode Island – RI Department of Environmental Management (DEM)

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