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Grants to Maryland For-Profits and Agencies to Improve Recreational Boat Docking Facilities

Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) Program


GrantWatch ID#

Funding Source
Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
Array ( )

Geographic Focus
USA: Maryland

Important Dates
LOI Date: 04/30/23
Deadline: 08/31/23 4:00 PM Save

Grant Description
Grants to Maryland marinas and government agencies for the maintenance, renovation, or construction of boat docking facilities and accessories. Applicants must submit a preliminary application prior to applying. Funding is intended to enhance and upgrade facilities that are open to the public and serve vessels requiring short stays. The purpose of the grant program is to enable the owners of large recreational vessels to visit popular boating destinations that they might not otherwise have access to. Facilities must allow public access to the general boating public and charge equitable fees once BIG grant funds are used for the improvements.

Funds available through this state-federal partnership have the specific purpose of addressing unmet public transient (up to 15 days) dockage needs of recreational vessels 26’ or larger. These transient vessels generally require a minimum depth of 6’ mean low water.

Two levels of funding are available: “BIG Tier 1 – State” and “BIG Tier 2 – National.” 

The following actions are eligible for BIG funding if they are for eligible users or eligible vessels:

  • Construct, renovate, or maintain publicly or privately owned boating infrastructure following the requirements at § 86.13. This may include limited repair or restoration of roads, parking lots, walkways, and other surface areas damaged as a direct result of BIG-funded construction. 
  • Conduct actions necessary to construct boating infrastructure, such as:
    • Engineering, economic, environmental, historic, cultural, or feasibility studies or assessments; and
    • Planning, permitting, and contracting
  • Dredging a channel, boat basin, or other boat passage following requirements.
  • Install navigational aids to give transient vessels safe passage between a facility and navigable channels or open water.
  • Produce information and education materials specific to BIG or a BIG-funded project and that credit BIG as a source of funding when appropriate. 
  • Record the Federal interest in the real property.
  • (Use BIG Tier 1—State grant awards to administer BIG Tier 1—State and BIG Tier 2—National grants, or grant programs, Statewide. 

For additional information about eligible activities, see:

Applicants may seek funding for installing pumpout facilities through the Clean Vessel Act Grant Program (CVA) instead of including the cost as part of a BIG grant application. Other actions may qualify for BIG funding, subject to approval if they achieve the purposes of BIG. 

For Key BIG Sub-grantee Requirements, see:


Additional Eligibility Criteria
Owners of a marina/facility that provides transient dockage to large, recreational vessels, and this facility is inadequate to meet the transient dockage needs of this specific user group, are encouraged to apply. The BIG program is focused ONLY on the unmet public transient dockage needs of recreational boats 26’ or larger.

The Department encourages local units of government and private marinas/facilities to participate in this program by submitting grant applications to the Department for eligible transient facilities.

Routine marina renovations to support facility improvements for non-transient boating activities - such as long-term dockage, commercial use, or transient dockage for recreational vessels less than 26’ - are not eligible for BIG funding.

Marinas and facilities requiring membership to access are generally not qualified to apply unless the charter is changed to allow access to the general boating public.

Pre-Application Information
Applications are due by April 30, at 4 pm, each year. Electronic submission is preferred.

Once the Preliminary Application is received, Program staff will contact the applicant for a site visit if needed. The Department may conduct a bathymetric survey to verify the water depth requirement (6’ mlw) during the site visit.

Program staff will review the applications and make selection(s) of which project(s) will be submitted to FWS for possible BIG funding. Upon being informed that your project is up for further consideration, the applicant should begin work on putting together a Project Statement as detailed in the annual Notice of Funding Opportunity (typically published by FWS each May). The deadline for submission of the Project Statement and all supporting documentation to the Department is August 31 each year or earlier as notified.

All matching funds (minimum 25%) must come from non-federal sources.



Application information:

Long-term commitments:

Forms and documents:

Additional resources:

§86.11 (eligible):

Estimated Size of Grant
- BIG Tier 1: State grants provide up to $200,000 federal funds.
- BIG Tier 2 - National grants provide up to $1.5 million in federal funds per project.

Contact Information
Submit the Preliminary Application Form and supporting documents to:
Li Lan Carson, Federal Projects Lead
Chesapeake and Coastal Service, Department of Natural Resources
Tawes Office Building, E-2
580 Taylor Avenue
Annapolis, Maryland 21401

Phone: 410-260-8452,

Don O’Neill, Agency Grant Specialist

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