Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG)

Transient recreational boats, at least 26 feet long, call for specific accommodations and services. The purpose of the Boating Infrastructure Grant Program (BIG) is to assist in addressing the need for more and better facilities to accommodate these boaters.

In 1997, US Congress became aware of research which indicated too few, inadequate, or poorly located facilities available to allow these boaters to travel the United States navigable waters and access amenities such as dock space, restrooms, showers, fuel, pumpouts, and harbors of safe refuge, and to link boaters to cultural, historic, scenic, and natural resources of the United States.

The Sportfishing and Boating Safety Act of 1998 amended the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act. This amendment established a federal grant program to states for developing and maintaining facilities for transient nontrailerable recreational vessels, at least 26 feet long. These vessels must be operated primarily for pleasure. The priorities in awarding grants are:

  • constructing, renovating, and maintaining facilities;
  • providing for public and private partnership efforts to develop, maintain, and operate facilities; and,
  • including new and emerging techniques, ideas, products, and concepts to increase and improve facilities and services.

BIG offers grants to build facilities for eligible transient recreational vessels that support boating, travel, local economies, and environmental improvement, and enhance awareness and public satisfaction.

Source of Funds

IDEM is not currently accepting applications for BIG Grant funds.

BIG grant dollars are generated from excise taxes on sport fishing equipment, import duties on fishing tackle and pleasure craft, and gasoline tax from motorboats. Through the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the BIG Program provides funding through competitive grants for the development and maintenance of boating infrastructure facilities in Indiana for transient (15 day visit or less), nontrailerable (26 feet or more in length) recreational (operated primarily for pleasure; or leased, rented, or chartered to another for the latter's pleasure ) vessels. This grant program is only available to assist with the transient portion of a facility, but the facility must allow reasonable access to all recreational vessels.