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Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) Program

Request for Application (RFA)
Who is eligible to apply?
Program funds are available to public and private agencies and marinas and other facilities that provide transient tie-up opportunities for recreational boats 26' or over in length.
Where do funds come from?

Funds come from the Sport Fish Restoration Account of the Aquatic Resources Trust Fund. This Trust Fund is contained within the Highway Trust and has been reauthorized under the Sportfishing and Boating Safety Act of 2005, and revised to May 6, 2015. The funds result from a Federal excise tax on fishing equipment, trolling motors and import duties on boats and motorboat fuels.

How are funds awarded?

All funds are awarded to an appropriate State Agency. For Connecticut, the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) Boating Division is designated as the administering entity for the BIG Program. The DEEP encourages local units of government and private facilities to participate in this program by submitting grant requests for transient facilities to the DEEP’s Boating Division. Applicants will be notified if their project was not selected at the State level to go to the Federal level. States are generally notified by January of each year of grant awards. DEEP will in turn notify remaining applicants of the status. Awarded federal funds can be used to reimburse up to 75% of the approved project costs. The remaining "matching" funds must come from the grant recipient.

Funding Levels
There are two levels of funding within the Boating Infrastructure Grant Program:
Tier I-State:

An annual maximum of $200,000 is available to each applying state under the Tier I-State portion of the BIG Program. Connecticut DEEP is making $190,000 available for these projects; ten thousand ($10,000) dollars goes to administrative costs. Tier I-State is designed for smaller projects that add transient boating infrastructure to the area. Projects will be selected at a minimum funding level of $30,000 and a maximum of $190,000. Selected projects must still be authorized by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service . See Federal Guidance: Tier I-State

Tier II-National:

The remainder of the BIG Program annual funding (2% of the fund money, but not less than $8 million nationally, less whatever is awarded under Tier I-State) is typically awarded to larger projects under Tier II-National. Tier II-National projects that qualify at the state level are then competitively judged at the national level. Top scoring projects are awarded and eligible for funding status by the USFWS. See Federal Guidance: Tier II-National

Please note: While both tiers of the BIG Program are very competitive; the level of national competition within Tier II-National is especially high. Successful projects are of a superior nature and are submitted with very thorough applications. To be competitive in Tier II-National, we recommend that even the projects be submitted with a substantial percentage of matching dollars.

If you are considering applying for a Tier II-National project, contact us early in the application process so that we can provide assistance on the details of your application.

Eligible Projects

The Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) Program is designed to provide federal funds for the creation or renovation of tie-up facilities for transient recreational boats 26' or larger.

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 

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 your 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
  • 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



Facilities that participate in the program must allow the feature(s) constructed under the BIG Program to be open to the general public and provide access to shore along with other existing basic features of the facility such as fuel, pumpouts, and restrooms. Some type of reservation system must also be available to ensure boaters space when they arrive. Access to other nonessential features of the facility is not required.

Reasonable rates (prevailing rates in the area) may 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 the public
  • 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
  • Dredging
  • 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

Download the current Request for Application (DEEPBIG062020) 

Materials must be submitted to:

Maegan Senerth
Bureau of Outdoor Recreation, Boating Division
Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
P.O. Box 280, 333 Ferry Road
Old Lyme, CT 06371
RFA Timeline
 June 12, 2020  RFA Released 
 July 20, 2020 at 4:00 pm  Deadline for Questions
 July 23, 2020 at 4:00 pm  Official Answers Released (required if questions submitted)
 August 3, 2020 at 4:00 pm   Deadline for Submitting Completed Application form and attachments
Completed applications and attachments must be submitted to the Official State Contact. Return One (1) original hard copy application with the original signature and attachments and four (4) copies of the completed application.  All applications must be received by the deadline specified above.  All applicants will receive acknowledgement of receipt via e-mail.
Any addendums to this program will be posted to the website. It is the responsibility of the applicant to monitor these websites for any updates.
In addition to the requirements in this RFA, applicants agree to comply with DEEP’s grant conditions and those of the US Fish and Wildlife Service in its administration of this federal grant program.  For informational purposes, a copy of the Federal Notices of Funding Opportunity are attached to this RFA.

Questions & Answers: BIG RFA

More information is available on BIG Applicant Guide, Additional Grant Basics, Eligible Projects, How Projects are Scored, and What To Do If Your Project is Approved for Funding

Boating Infrastructure Grant Recipients
Federal Grant Information for informational purposes only:

Content Last Updated July 21, 2020