Agencies | Governor
Search Virginia.Gov
Protecting You and Your Environment Virginia Department of Health
Home | VDH Programs | Find It! A-Z Index | Newsroom | Administration | Jobs

Boating Infrastructure Grants (BIG)


Historically, coastal and inland waterways were the first highways along our shores and into the interior of the continent. Americans used boats almost exclusively for transportation of people and goods. Today we use more than 12 million recreational boats to cruise and fish. Recreational boating is now a significant economic activity in many areas of the country and in many respects exceeds that of waterborne commerce.

The National Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) program was authorized by the Sport Fishing and Boating Safety Act of 1998. This act delegated the United States Fish and Wildlife Service with the responsibility of administering funds to States to install or upgrade tie-up facilities for transient recreational boats 26 ft or more in length. Boats of this size are more likely to have holding tanks and therefore need mooring facilities in order to access pump-out and sanitary services. In response to an increasing demand for accommodations, congress ordered a national survey of the 12,000 marinas in the United States, of which about 450 are located in Virginia. The survey found that existing tie-up facilities are insufficient for the volume of large transient boats seeking reasonable and convenient access from our navigable waters. In many parts of the country, there are limited safe harbors to tie-up, moor, or anchor a cruising boat, especially during a storm. Other basic features, such as fuel, utilities, and restrooms are often nonexistent. The BIG program protects the integrity of our waterways by ensuring that these boaters have places to seek refuge, dispose of waste properly and use onshore facilities instead of discharging into the waters of the Commonwealth. BIG projects in Virginia have involved the construction or renovation of tie-ups, utilities, fuel stations, pump-out and dump-stations, restrooms and additional sanitary amenities such as laundry and showers. Wherever possible, BIG projects seek to bring marinas into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Boating Infrastructure Grant funding is available on a two-tier basis. All states and territories that submit a proposal may be eligible to receive up to $100,000 through tier I funding. Tier II funding is very competitive and is reserved for larger, more expensive projects. VDH assists boating facilities throughout Virginia in the preparation of BIG proposals. Successful BIG proposals are managed and monitored by the VDH Marina Program staff. VDH was designated by the United States Department of Interior as the lead state agency to implement the grant program. No facility may receive BIG funds that are not currently in compliance with VDH Marina Program regulations.

If you would like to apply for a Boating Infrastructure Grant, please consult the links below for information and application materials. Grant applications are now being accepted for FY2013. The application deadline is August 3rd, 2012. Contact Preston Smith at (804) 864-7468 for assistance with the application process.

BIG Application Instructions

Federal Regulations

Past Projects

Proposal Template

Application Summary Form - This form can be printed or submitted by email to fulfill the "Addressing the Criteria" section on the proposal template.

Budget Example

Last Updated: 05-03-2012

Printable Version

E-mail This Page