An Applicant's Guide to
the Boating Infrastructure Grant Program

Designed to assist marina applicants in navigating the Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) proposal process and produce competitive, high quality applications, the guide includes detailed chapters that outline the grant process from beginning to end and includes a sample Tier 2 application for reference. This guide is intended to support and strengthen the grant proposal by providing the applicant knowledge in the form of required elements, as well as a sample proposal to help shape the final product. The reader is encouraged to use this guide as part of a continuous effort to build the knowledge, expertise and success of the proposal.

The guide begins with the basics of determining what exactly a BIG grant entails and assessing whether or not you as the applicant are qualified to apply, through your State agency, for the federal grant. The guide then delves deeper into the art of creating a BIG proposal by delivering information on specific parts of the application including developing a project summary and project statement, putting together a budget narrative, addressing the ranking criteria, and outlining specific frameworks to use to help an applicant stay organized and focused during the grant planning and submission phase through to the award and completion.

Click here to download.

Applicant's Guide to the Boating Infrastructure Grant Program 2018 book cover.

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California Layout & Design Guidelines for Boat Launching Facilities

The 2021 Layout & Design Guidelines for Boat Launching Facilities (2021 Guidelines) presents a broad range of information regarding the layout, design and construction of boat launching facilities, including the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. The 2021 Guidelines will be of benefit to engineers, architects, contractors, material suppliers, manufacturers, administrators, boating facility owners and operators, maintenance personnel and the recreational boating community statewide.

Click here to download.

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Operations & Maintenance Program Guidelines
for Recreational Boating Facilities

SOBA’s completely revised and updated Operations & Maintenance Manual is now available for purchase. The manual will no longer be sold in print format and will be sold as a CD and in PDF format. The cost will be $30 for members and $55 for non members.

The Operations & Maintenance Manual is an excellent hands-on guide to help the user establish procedures for the successful operation and maintenance of boating facilities. It includes clearly written, easily understood, updated detailed information for the general maintenance worker, as well as for the administrator with total program responsibility.

The new edition includes information on project file management; risk assessment and management; site design and review procedures; operational staff considerations; staff training needs; equipment and funding requirements; importance of public outreach; methods of site accounting; power loading; Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) review; stormwater issues; mud and debris; signage; recommendations for emergency preparedness; and the importance of environmental management efforts.

The manual addresses maintenance program elements, categories and scheduling. Additionally, it presents guidelines for selecting, placing and replacing signs at public boating facilities. Example forms include: standard facility maintenance record form; general site inspection checklist; user comment card; operations/maintenance cooperative agreement form;  adopt-an-access program agreement form; waiver of liability form; sample list of tools, supplies and safety equipment; general maintenance standards; preparing for storms and damage assessment process.

Click here to download.

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Design Handbook For Recreational Boating & Fishing Facilities, 2nd Edition

In 1989, SOBA published the Handbook for the Location, Design, Construction,  Operation, and Maintenance of Boat Launching Facilities. This was followed in 1992 by Guidelines for the Design of Barrier-Free Recreational Boating and Fishing Facilities. In 1996, SOBA consolidated and updated the material from the earlier two books and published the Design Handbook for Recreational Boating and Fishing Facilities. The publication of this new handbook is an update of the previous handbook, which integrates the guidelines to define accessibility requirement for recreational boating and fishing facilities.

This handbook is about the design of recreational boating access facilities and provides information on how to accomplish their construction. It also discusses design of barrier-free access to boating and fishing facilities, breakwaters, and certain marina components. 

The handbook is not to be used as a design manual or a substitute for the preparation of a design for a specific facility. Each site is unique and requires specific evaluation to determine the most appropriate facilities as well as their design. 

This publication is designed to be a learning tool. Although it is addressed primarily to the reader who is new to the field of boating and fishing access and dealing with a broad program established at the state level, it will be invaluable to anyone involved in boating and fishing access in either the public or private sector.

Click here to download.

Design Handbook 2nd Edition

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Boating Access Inventory

One of SOBA's priority strategic initiatives was to complete an assessment of current and future needs regarding boating and fishing access. To make progress on this important priority, SOBA began by creating this inventory of existing needs assessments, strategic plans and state boat ramp inventories that have already been developed by other groups and agencies.

Below is the results of this important information gathering exercise: Inventory of boating access needs assessments, strategic plans and existing list of access points. It summarizes the number of states that have completed a boating access needs assessments, strategic plans and existing list of access points and where you can obtain copies of the completed reports.

The inventory is the first report of its kind, documenting and summarizing what already exists at the state level. SOBA's intent and expectation is to use this information to design and deliver a truly nationwide needs assessment that builds from what the states are already doing. SOBA also hopes to use this information to provide tools and services to its member states to help them complete needs assessments, strategic boating access plans, and inventories of boating access points based the experience that already exists within the membership.

Click here to view.

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Enhancing Fishing Access through a National Assessment of Recreational Boating Access

This study was conducted under a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Multistate Conservation Grant to explore how the quality of boating access throughout the United States may affect participation in both recreational boating and fishing. The research proceeds from the understanding that participation in boating and fishing are intertwined, with obstacles or barriers to one activity strongly influencing participation in the other.

Overall, the study included a review of previously published research; a series of focus groups with boaters; a focus group with boating industry representatives; a nationwide survey of boaters, including anglers who fish from a boat; and a national survey of boating industry representatives and boating agency professionals.

Each report user should consider his or her own needs in using this report. For some report users, this executive summary may be more useful, for others, it may be that the extensive data presented in the body of the report are of more utility.

Full Report

Focus Group

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2004 SOBA Report:
Performance Testing of Marine-Use Waste Pumpout Stations

In 2004, SOBA published the Performance Testing of Marine-Use Water Pumpout Stations, a first-of-its-kind for side-by-side comparisons and independent testing of pumpout equipment. This testing was conducted under realistically simulated conditions and accurate recording methods for its time. This report provides Clean Vessel Act (CVA) participants a better understanding of how to assess equipment capabilities and longevity and how to select the best equipment for their CVA and matching dollars.

Click here to view.

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1995 Report on Effects of Boat Waste Disposal at
Municipal Wastewater Treatment Facilities

In 1995, the Oregon State Marine Board conducted a study to present information on the best means to dispose of recreational boat waste in Oregon. The task of the study included characterizing boat waste, determining treatment options available for disposal of boat waste, presenting the results of a wastewater treatment plant survey, and developing conclusions, recommendations and guidelines for boat waste disposal. This study can be accessed HERE.

As this 201-page document is more than 22 years old, we know there are a number of updates that need to be made, e.g. chemicals listed as being used in holding tanks are not really used in the Northwest these days. Consequently SOBA is in discussions with Oregon and Washington Sea Grant to determine if they could take on the task of updating this document. If this comes to pass, we will upload the revised document as soon as it becomes available.

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Association of Marina Industries (AMI)

AMI is a strategic working partner of SOBA, and is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated exclusively to the marina industry.

Today, AMI is responsible for the AMI Training Institute , including the internationally acclaimed Certified Marina Manager (CMM) and Certified Marina Operator (CMO) programs and small topic-specific conferences, plus the annual Conference and Expo. AMI’s 1,000+ members have access to discounted services, timely industry publications, and legislative support and updates.

AMI was formed when the Marina Operators Association of America (MOAA) and the International Marina Institute (IMI) merged in 2005.

AMI represents a diverse membership of over 1000 marinas, boatyards, yacht clubs, and public/private moorage basins across the United States and around the world. These companies provide slip space for over 240,000 recreational watercraft and employ over 13,000 marine tradesmen and women.

Click here for AMI's resources and publications.


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A Guide for Multiple Use Waterway Management

A Guide for Multiple Use Waterway Management is but one tool for resource managers, planners, regulators and other waterway stakeholders and professionals who are trying to make sense of an evolving body of information about multiple use waterway issues and conflicts and site-appropriate ways for coming to terms with them. This body of information, which grounds the analysis and presentations within the Guide, is made up of research reports, management plans, process summaries, academic and governmental studies, conference and workshop proceedings, meeting minutes, media articles, and Internet-based sites produced or maintained by public, private and non-profit agencies and organizations.

But the "making sense" part of this project would not have been as rich and multi-layered if it had not been for the active engagement and guidance of individuals and organizational representatives in formal and informal project input and feedback opportunities in 2002 and 2003. They helped to shape this edition by sharing their real-life professional experiences and their varying and valuable perspectives on waterway and multiple use issues and management priorities and approaches. The National Water Safety Congress (NWSC) and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) thank all of the boating and water safety specialists, waterway managers and planners, academic and government researchers, and other professionals representing recreational, commercial, industrial, environmental and military arenas and interests for providing a wealth of expertise, insights and reference materials.

Click here to download the Second Edition of the Guide.

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National Park Service

Sponsored by the National Park Service Rivers & Trails Program in 2004, this guide provides design guidance for developing canoe and kayak launches. Case examples, designs, and photos of launch sites are included.

NPS Logical Lasting Launches: Design Guidance for Canoe and Kayak Launches

NPS Launches Guidance for Canoes Kayaks 2004 pdf