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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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.

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Design Handbook For Recreational Boating & Fishing Facilities

The Design Handbook provides information on design and construction of recreational boating and fishing facilities, breakwaters and certain marina components. It should be used as a project reference and is designed as a learning tool for those new to the field of boating and fishing access development. It is also invaluable to the public/private sector as a resource of detailed project information and ideas.

This Handbook helps to identify where boating access is needed; provides information on how to locate and acquire access sites; presents examples of proper design and construction of boating facilities; establishes basic operation and maintenance requirements; recommends various considerations for barrier-free access and provides information about federal funding sources for boating and fishing access programs. It also includes sample forms for evaluating existing sites and facilities for adaptation to barrier-free use; provides a sample checklist for proposed public access acquisition and development; and includes drawings of boat launching site designs from various state projects.

Design Handbook Table of Contents

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Design Handbook for Recreational Boating and Fishing Facilities

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Construction Techniques for
Recreational Boating Access Facilities (DVD)

The newest of SOBA's how-to publications, this DVD visually demonstrates today's best-methods used in construction of boat ramps. Either as a stand-alone tool or, if used in conjunction with the SOBA Design Handbook, it provides critical, up-to-date and easy to use information about building a safe and effective boat ramp. It includes footage taken during the actual construction and pushing of boat ramps. Specifics topics covered include:

• Grooves and Tools
• Overviews on placing grooves into the concrete
• Aging time required before pushing a slab
• Push timbers
• Positioning of push equipment
• Sizes of a push slab
• Base and base preparation
• Items to consider when constructing a ramp
• Preparing for a concrete pour

For more information about the DVD, boat ramp construction or boating access in general, please email

Click here to order.

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Pumpout Boat Selection and Operation Guidelines

In 2013, the SOBA Board created a taskforce to assist state managers and recipients of Clean Vessel Act (CVA) grants with recommending pumpout vessels and operating procedures. The taskforce was made up of State CVA program coordinators, CVA pumpout vessel manufacturers, experts from the boat building industry and federal funding partners from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The broad range of state program experience, technical expertise and federal oversight has resulted in a quality document that will assist both state programs and individual pumpout vessel programs during the process of selecting the right pumpout vessel for their area. The final goal produced a document titled Pumpout Boat Selection and Operation Guidelines that is now available as a reference to all interested parties, and that may be used as either a stand-alone document or included as an informational appendix to SOBA’s CVA BMP document.

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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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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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Boating Access Promotion Media Package

The following is SOBA's Boating Access Promotion Media Package and all the materials necessary to support SOBA in its effort to update and maintain an online database of publicly funded boat launching facilities. In the document you'll also find great ideas and tools for you to use in announcing your latest accomplishments to those who'd really like to know, especially elected officials responsible for securing funding for your project and potential guests of your newly constructed or renovated boat launching facility.

The Boating Access Promotion Media Package includes:

• Boating Access Site Completion Form
• Publicizing Your Accomplishments
• Sample Press Release
• Spread the Word
• Sample Letter to Elected Officials

SOBA Promotes Boating Access at the Federal Level When a State notifies SOBA of the completion of a newly constructed or renovated boat launching facility, SOBA will:

• Send a letter to the U.S senators and representatives from the district in which the boat launching facility is located alerting them of its completion. SOBA will include for elected officials' use a template of a press release regarding the new launch site and the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund.

• Distribute a national press release to the daily trade press.
• Provide information to the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF) to update the access database.

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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