Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
Federal grants have a BIG impact on New Jersey boating facilities

December 6, 2018


David Eisenhauer

(413) 253-8492

Credit: Borough of Belmar, NJ

Using Boating and Infrastructure Grants (BIG) administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program (WSFR), as well as many contributions from state and local partners, several projects will begin to rebuild and fortify boating facilities on the New Jersey coast.

Of the many tolls taken by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the cost to coastal infrastructure was among the greatest. In New Jersey alone, Sandy’s heavy rains and storm surge left more than $70 billion of damage in its wake, washing away iconic landmarks, destroying docks, boat launches, and seawalls, and sinking approximately 1,400 boats. Six years later, the state is still rebuilding piece by piece, but thanks to these grants, several of those pieces will soon fall into place.

The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), Maritime Resources is the recipient of the grants and works with public and private marinas to complete the projects. USFWS and NJDOT work together to ensure that the projects meet grant program guidelines and provide long term benefits to boaters.

The grants, which are funded by excise taxes on boating and fishing equipment, are used to maintain transient recreational boating facilities, which house boats upwards of 26 feet. With this most recent round of funding, boating facilities like marinas and docks will not only be rebuilt, but also upgraded. Many of them will receive wifi and expanded land based facilities such restrooms or boaters lounges, and will also be redesigned as floating piers, giving them surer footing against future storms.

“It improves access to different areas of the coast,” said Bill Perry, a biologist and grant specialist for WSFR. “These are often part of larger projects along the coast for the public to access public waters and recreational areas.”

While anyone can tie up at these docks, Perry suspects that the most frequent use of these facilities will likely be by an adventurous crowd, dubbed “Loopers.” Every year, thousands of these intrepid boaters set sail to complete the Great Loop: a roughly 5,000 mile journey along the East Coast, up the Mississippi and Tennessee Rivers, and across the Great Lakes. Along the way they run the gamut of climates, face long stretches of busy barge traffic, and tackle inevitable equipment failures. It’s a long and grueling route, and can take months to complete.

Fortunately for those brave enough to undertake the loop, there are places to stop along the way. Marinas and other tie-ups are essential to these kinds of trips, as they provide not only a place to refuel and restock, but also an opportunity to leave the confines of the boat and explore the communities nearby.

“It provides a big boost for the local economy, having these boats come in,” said Perry. “Incoming boats bring a lot of money into these communities.”

Here are a few of the places where these grants helped make a difference:

Trader's Cove, Brick, NJ:

$807,501 to redevelop an existing municipal marina with the following infrastructure and amenities: Floating Transient Dock w/ utilities and lighting, Access gangway, Timber access platform,  Boater lounge, Laundry, restroom and shower facilities.

Key Harbor Marina, Waretown, NJ:

$271,565 to rebuild 352 feet of bulkhead and transient docking.

Sandy Hook Bay Marina, Highlands, NJ:

$692,625 to partially fund the cost of building 15 transient slips including costs associated with floating docks, wave screen, navigational aids, dinghydocks, restrooms, bulkheads, trash receptacles, dock carts, landscape lighting, boardwalk, and security equipment.

Sheltered Cover Marina, Tuckerton, NJ:

$213,123 from 2 BIG grants for restoration of docks, utilities, and amenities for transient boaters.

Belmar Marina, Belmar, NJ:

$270,059 for repair and/or replace damaged infrastructure to pre-Superstorm Sandy conditions, and enhance additional facilities in the service of the transient boaters. The actions of this grant includes fuel dock repairs, fuel line and protection infrastructure, replacement of fuel pumps. installation of Wifi, replacement of the gangway electronic security locks on the transient slips, transient floating dock security system, and new power pedestals will be installed at the end of C Dock for additional transient slips.

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