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Big bucks

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Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced in April that about $13 million in grants would go to 14 major boating infrastructure projects from Florida to Washington. As part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG), the funds will be allocated for new docks, boat slips, and other facilities to accommodate the nation’s recreational cruisers.

“Boating is one of our country’s favorite pastimes, and the BIG program greatly enhances recreational opportunities while conserving America’s aquatic natural resources,” said Secretary Salazar. “Spending by boaters provides significant revenues for business owners and employees in every state.”

To spur local economic growth, most of the projects aim to support transient boaters—those who cruise in boats larger than 30 feet and stay in marinas fewer than ten days at a time. The federal agency considered dozens of proposals for new projects before selecting the winning projects in 11 states, which include Maine, Mississippi, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington. But the lion’s share of the grant money will go to four of the most popular boating states. Here are some of the specific projects you can look for.

California: On Catalina Island, Avalon Harbor will receive $1 million, to be matched with another $1.1 million for a new fuel-dock facility and to expand the existing transient dinghy dock by 50 feet. Redondo Beach will receive $250,000 and match that amount to add 50 transient mooring facilities at King Harbor.

Florida: West Palm Beach will receive $500,000 and contribute another $1.4 million to provide transient tie-up facilities for up to 37 vessels along the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway in the downtown area.

Illinois: Chicago will receive $3.1 million and add another $32 million to construct 125 slips and associated amenities for transient boats along the Lake Michigan waterfront.

Ohio: Put-In-Bay on Lake Erie will receive more than $2.2 million and contribute another $1.3 million to replace or renovate 905 feet of existing docks, construct 590 feet of new floating docks, and install new lighting hook-ups, electrical, water, and fire-protection improvements on all existing and proposed docks for transient boaters.

This article originally appeared in the July 2009 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.