$14 million-plus in grants to boost recreational boating

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says more than $12.2 million in competitive grants will be awarded to 10 states for projects to support recreational boating through the service’s Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) program. The service will also release another nearly $2 million in grants to 21 states willing to match a smaller program within BIG. Funding for the BIG program comes from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, which boaters and manufacturers support through excise and other taxes on certain fishing and boating equipment and gasoline.

“Not only do these grants help create safe and accessible tie-up facilities, they provide an economic boost for local communities across the nation,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe at the Miami International Boat Show in February. “The BIG program works with partners to improve recreational boating and fishing opportunities.

It strengthens community ties by enhancing access to recreational, historic, cultural, natural and scenic resources for millions of boat owners.”

Grant winners use BIG funds to construct, renovate and maintain marinas and other facilities with features for transient boats (those staying 10 days or less) that are 26 feet or more in length and used for recreation. Grantees also may use funds to produce and distribute information and educational materials about the program and recreational boating.