Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) Program

Updated on January 7, 2019

The BIG Program is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and, in the State of Maryland, the Department of Natural Resources (the Department) manages the BIG Program and is the direct grantee to FWS. The purpose of the federal BIG Program is to provide grants to construct, renovate, and maintain boating infrastructure facilities for transient recreational vessels at least 26 feet or more in length staying up to 15 days. BIG-funded projects enable the owners of large recreational vessels to visit popular boating destinations that they might not otherwise have access to.

Since 2001, the federal BIG Program has given Maryland the opportunity to address the unmet transient dockage needs of recreational vessels 26’ or more in length. Since that time, 14 BIG grants, totaling approximately $5.7 million in federal funding, have been used at 11 boating facilities in Maryland. These projects range in size from small Tier I - BIG projects in Annapolis, Baltimore, Crisfield, Denton, Oxford, and Port Deposit, to Large Tier II – BIG projects such as the renovation of the Annapolis City Dock and the renovations of various City-owned marinas in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

Beginning in 2019, alongside the FWS and local partners, the department is conducting a statewide transient recreational Boater Needs Assessment to help identify the areas where projects are most needed by transient vessels. This work will help Maryland ensure that the Program remains focused on the unmet needs of large, recreational, transient vessels.

As a result, applications are not being accepted in 2019 until this assessment is complete. Once complete, the department will have a much better understanding of which areas are in most need of BIG funding and enhanced access, as determined by the boaters themselves. The department strongly encourages all recreational boaters especially those who have vessels of 26’ or larger, to participate in this assessment. Check back for the details of the assessment!

MD BIG Program Contact: Li Lan Carson, 410-260-8452, Email: lilan.carson@maryland.gov