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Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) Program

The Boating Infrastructure Grant program is a nationwide competitive grant program that provides funding for the construction, renovation, and maintenance of public and private boating infrastructure tie-up facilities with features for transient boaters in vessels 26 feet or more in length that are available to the public.

Boating infrastructure generally means features that provide stopover places for transient boats 26 feet or more in length to tie up. The Boating Infrastructure Grant Program expects to make available between $4 million and $5 million for Tier II projects. There are no dollar limits for Tier II projects. All Tier II projects must meet the eligibility requirements of 50 CFR 86.20. Each project will compete nationally against every other project in Tier II.

The program is designed to provide transient dockage for recreational boats 26 feet or more in length for recreational opportunities and safe harbors, as well as:

  • enhance access to recreational, historic, cultural, and scenic resources;
  • strengthen community ties to the water’s edge and economic benefits;
  • promote public/private partnerships and entrepreneurial opportunities;
  • provide continuity of public access to the shore; and,
  • promote awareness of transient boating opportunities.

The Boating Infrastructure Grant funds are available to both the public and private sectors. This includes all local governmental entities and private businesses that own and operate boating facilities that are open to the general public. 

Criteria For Project Funding

(Scoring system based on the following)

  1. Construct and renovate tie-up facilities for transient recreational boats 26 feet or more in length;
  2. Provide for public/private and public/public partnership efforts to develop, renovate, and maintain tie-up facilities;
  3. Use innovative techniques to increase the availability of tie-up facilities for transient vessels 26 feet or more in length (includes education/information);
  4. Include private, local, or other State funds in addition to the non-Federal match described in Section 86.42
  5. Are cost-efficient. (Proposals are cost-efficient when the tie-up facility or access site’s features add high value compared with the funds from the proposal.);
  6. Provide a significant link to prominent destination waypoints such as those near metropolitan population centers, cultural or natural areas, or that provide safe harbors from storms;
  7. Provide access to recreational, historic, cultural, natural, or scenic opportunities of local, regional, or national significance;
  8. Provide significant positive economic impacts on a community; and,
  9. Include multi-state efforts that result in coordinating the location of tie-up facilities.

Can You Apply With Projects Already Installed Or Under Construction

No. Costs incurred prior to the effective date of a grant agreement/grant award are not allowed.

Examples Of Eligible Activities

  1. Construction, renovation, and maintenance of public and private boating infrastructure tie-up facilities that:
  2. are built on navigable waters with a minimum of six (6) feet of depth;
  3. are reasonably available to the public (via physical access, equitable fees, and open periods);
  4. are temporary use facilities (not to exceed 10 days use) for transient recreational vessels 26 feet or more in length;
  5. provide security, safety, and service for these types of boats; and,
  6. install a pumpout facility (if needed due to proximity of the nearest pumpout facility).
  7. One-time dredging only, to give transient vessels safe channel depths between the tie-up facility and maintained channels or open water; and,
  8. Install navigational aids, limited to giving transient vessels safe passage between the tie-up facility and maintained channels or open water.

Examples Of Activities Ineligible For Funding

  1. Projects that do not provide public benefit;
  2. Involve enforcement activity;
  3. Significantly degrade or destroy valuable natural resources, or alter the cultural or historic nature of the area;
  4. Provide structures not expected to last at least 20 years;
  5. Do maintenance dredging;
  6. Fund operations or routine, custodial and janitorial maintenance of the facility;
  7. Construct, renovate, or maintain boating infrastructure tie-up facilities for non-transient vessels.

Contact Information

For questions regarding the Tennessee Boating Infrastructure Grant Program or Marine Sanitation Laws within Tennessee, please call (866) 416-4488 or e-mail