Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) Program and Clean Vessel Act (CVA) Program

Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) Program and Clean Vessel Act (CVA) Program


[MUSIC PLAYING] GWENDOLYNN FLYNN: Hi, and
welcome to Better Boating in Connecticut. I’m your host, Wendy Flynn. And today joining
me is Kate Brown from the Deep Boating Division. And we are here to talk about
the Boating Infrastructure Grant Program. We are in New London,
on the Thames River at Thamesport
Marina, which is one of our boating
infrastructure grant sites. And we have them throughout the
state in Norwalk, New Haven, up the Connecticut River. There’s a couple other
in the Thames River as well as in Stonington. So, Kate, let’s start
off with talking about what this Boating
Infrastructure Grant Program is. KATE BROWN: Sure. Well thanks for having
me on the show, Wendy. The Boating
Infrastructure Program is a federally funded program. And we work with
the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. And we apply for a
grant every year. And the purpose of that
grant is to provide places for larger boats to go. Connecticut has been really
successful at getting boat launches for trailerable
boats for many years. So we have a lot of
really amazing spots to go for the smaller boats. But Congress realized after
we had done a lot of that nationally that there weren’t
enough places for the larger boats to go and stay if they
were traveling to a harbor that was outside of the area that
they normally keep their boat. So the Boating Infrastructure
Program was born, and the states are
eligible to apply for funds to help marine facilities add
these boating infrastructure sites so that if you’re
traveling around on the coast or if you’re just going
from one state to another, or one harbor to
another, there’s a place for you
to go and to stay, and that there will be
amenities there that you need. GWENDOLYNN FLYNN: OK. So talk a little bit about
where these funds come from. Are they my state
tax dollars at work that Congress has reallocated? Where are they from? KATE BROWN: Right. So that’s a question that
everybody wants answered, especially now where budgets
are tight for everybody. These actually are not state
or federal, just regular tax dollars from a general fund. This is what we call a user
pay, user benefit program. So if you’re at home
watching us and you’re wondering where that
money comes from, I can assure you that,
unless you own a boat and you’re paying federal
excise taxes on motor boat fuel, or you’re buying fishing
tackle, or you’re importing a yacht
internationally, you’re not paying into this. So basically the ones
who are going to benefit, the big boat owners, are
the ones that are really paying into the system. GWENDOLYNN FLYNN: All right. Great. So we get this federal money. It comes into marines
and through us, through a grant program
that we provide. And then ultimately the
local economy will benefit. The boats come in here
and hopefully they’ll get some fuel, maybe
use the pump out. You know, then they’ll head into
town for dinner, lunch, a show. What else could they
come in here for? Maybe they need the laundromat. KATE BROWN: Ice. Cream cream. Don’t forget the ice cream. GWENDOLYNN FLYNN: Ice
cream during the summer. KATE BROWN: They definitely
need the ice cream. GWENDOLYNN FLYNN: Absolutely. All right. So let’s talk a little
bit about the history. When this program
came into Connecticut, how successful it’s been– anything like that. Let’s talk about that. What can you tell us? KATE BROWN: Well, the
program started off slowly in the year 2000. And that year, I
believe we started off with a couple of
the smaller projects that were moorings
in the major harbor. So we had some moorings
put in, in New Haven. There are some moorings upriver
here in the Thames river, just near City Pier, which
is a popular place for people to visit. And then we also have
some moorings in Norwalk. So we tried to space them
out across the state. Subsequent to those
projects, we worked with the marinas
and the towns where we have one in the Pawcatuck
River, a green haven marina in Stonington. I believe there are six in
the Connecticut River now. GWENDOLYNN FLYNN: Great. KATE BROWN: We just did a
great tour last fall of those. Let’s see, what else? Yeah, the Thames River. This is the newest. GWENDOLYNN FLYNN:
10 total, right? KATE BROWN: 10 total. GWENDOLYNN FLYNN: 10 total. And then this one is a little
bit under construction, as you might be able to hear. There’s a barge
over there working. So that’s that noise. And we have one more
in the works, right, in the Connecticut
River in Middletown? KATE BROWN: Correct. Yep. I actually just talked to
the planner this morning. And their construction
schedule is to start in the spring of 2018. So we’re hoping that by the
summer of 2018, if you’re cruising around in your boat
on the Connecticut River, there’ll be a place for you
to go at the Harbor Park area. There’s a lot of demand for
additional boating sites there. People go to watch
the fireworks. They go to use the restaurant. There is a boat launch for
small stalls there as well. So that’s a very popular area. GWENDOLYNN FLYNN: OK. So, we talked a little bit
in general terms of where, town-wise where they are. But if I were a
boater and I wanted to take advantage of
one of these sites, can you give us a little
bit of information about how I would find that? Where would I go? KATE BROWN: All right. Sure. So one of the things
that we’ve done, and I’ve actually worked
with our colleague in the office, Yolanda Cooley,
who helped me to put together an interactive map. So if you go to
the deep website– and I believe on
the screen below you you’ll see that map website. We also have a QR code for
that in our boater’s guide. So you can either click on the
QR code or type in this website and go right to the
interactive map. And that will show you a bunch
of red stars on the state of Connecticut map. And if you double-click
on those and zoom in, it’ll tell you what the
marina is, where it’s located. You’ll get a latitude
and longitude, and it’ll also pop
up a screen that’ll show you some photographs. It will lists the amenities of
the marina, perhaps what kind of power is available– different boats have
different power requirements for electrical– whether or not
you can get water, if there is a pump out
right there at the facility. And also area attractions– restaurants,
whether or not there are art venues, a
casino, transportation, all the kinds of
things that a boater would want to use when
they come into the shore. So we tried to make that
as inclusive as possible. And then of course the website
for the marine facility would also be on there, so you
can click through to there. GWENDOLYNN FLYNN: Great. So thank you. So we’re going to take a little
bit of a break right now. So enjoy this PSA, and we’ll
be back in just a few minutes. SPEAKER 3: We love it. SPEAKER 4 AND 5:
It’s so much fun. SPEAKER 6: It’s exciting. SPEAKER 7: [SPEAKING SPANISH] SPEAKER 8: Why do I have
to wear a life jacket? SPEAKER 9: We wear
it to be safe. SPEAKER 10: I’ve got my mine on. SPEAKER 3: We’re teaching
our kids about safe boating. SPEAKER 11: [SPEAKING SPANISH] SPEAKER 9: We all
love this life. Wear Wear it and love the life. This message brought to you by
the National Safe Boat Council. GWENDOLYNN FLYNN:
Hi and welcome back. We are here at Thamesport
Marina in New London, and we’re talking– Kate Brown and I are
talking about the Boating Infrastructure Grant Programs,
so thank you for joining us. So, Kate, prior to the
break we talked a little bit about the Boating
Infrastructure Grant Program in general, what
voters will need to do. But let’s switch gears to what
the facility will need to do, whether it’s a marina or a town
or a boatyard or anybody that is eligible to come in. What do they have to consider
when applying for this grant? KATE BROWN: OK. Well, they have to consider,
first of all, whether or not the marine facility,
whether it’s as you said, a town, a marina, a boatyard,
even a state agency that may have waterfront property,
can they support larger boats? We’re looking for boats that are
26-feet and larger in general. So one of the
considerations is, how deep is the water at low tide? Can you get in there and
have at least six feet at low tide for
these larger boats, because they do need to have
enough water to come in safely. So that’s one consideration. The other thing is that
the Federal rule requires, since these are larger
boats and most of them have heads or bathrooms
on board the boats, is that a pumpout
facility be available either at the marine
facility or within two miles at another facility. And that doesn’t include the
mobile pumpout vessels that may be available in the area. It needs to be a
stationary facility that’s pretty much available to
them whenever they need it. So those are two considerations
that are really important. GWENDOLYNN FLYNN:
So some other things that the facility
would need to consider is maybe that it would
now be open to not just their seasonal patrons
but open to the public. Anyone can kind of drive on
in and tie up if they can? Is that the way it works? KATE BROWN: Right. Well, that’s true. It has to be open to the
general boating public. So what we want to make sure
is that these facilities are really reserved for
the transient boaters. They’re not ever rented
as a seasonal slip, because they are provided for
the very purpose of providing transient access. So that’s really important that
it be available to the public. The other thing
that’s really critical is that they have some
sort of online reservation system for the boater
to make a reservation. Many marinas are using
online systems such as Dockwa or have their own website where
you can contact the marina and make a reservation. So if you’re planning for
your vacation, you can say, you know, I really want to
be there for 4th of July weekend so I can see a fantastic
fireworks display in the Thames River, where we are. So that’s a really
important consideration. GWENDOLYNN FLYNN: So if we,
as DEEP, provide this grant to any marinas or
whoever’s eligible, do they just get to build it? Do they have to
talk to the town? Do they have to talk to the
Army Corps of Engineers? Who do they have to talk to,
to actually construct this? KATE BROWN: Well,
because we’re talking about things that are happening
in the water, on the coast, there are permits that are
required that they need to get. There are state and
federal permits, and there may be
local building permits for the area that transitions
from the water to the land. There are handicapped
accessibility requirements. The facility really should be
fully accessible to all people, regardless of their abilities. And we need to make sure that,
for instance, the ramps are wide enough. So if someone is using
a walker or a wheelchair that they can access
the dock, that they can safely transition
from the ramp to the dock and then to their vessel. So that’s really important
to make it really fair and open for everyone. GWENDOLYNN FLYNN: And are
there any other guarantees that the facility would
need to ensure to make sure this lasts more than– I mean, this looks like it’s
going to be built more than, you know, two, five years. Do they have to pay
attention to any of that? And what happens if
the marina gets sold? What happens with that? KATE BROWN: Right. So there are two
other considerations, and these are actually
in the Federal rule that comes to us when the state
applies for the funds, and then when we
enter into a contract with the marine facility. And that is that
their engineer has to identify and sign
and seal a plan that identifies the useful
life of each component of the structure. So, for instance, this concrete
dock may last 50 years. So we want to know exactly
how long each component is going to last. Those ultralight aluminum
ramps that you see behind us, those will last for quite
a long time as well. And what we want to do
is have a record of that, so that the federal
investment is protected. So not only is the useful
life identified in the grant, but it is filed on
the land records. So it actually is attached to
the deed in the municipality where the facility is, so
that if this marina decided to sell the property
to a different marina, those federal assets
would be protected, and the transient
boaters would continue to be able to utilize
the site even though it’s a different owner. Because the same
rules would apply. GWENDOLYNN FLYNN: Great. Thank you. And so, who would be eligible
to apply for this grant? KATE BROWN: Any marina in
the state of Connecticut can certainly contact us
and apply for this grant. A marina, a boatyard,
a state agency, a town, a nonprofit organization– pretty much if you have
waterfront facilities that have six feet of
water at low tide and you have a pumpout
within two miles, or you’re considering
putting one in– because we can help you with
a different grant for that– you should contact us and
talk to us in advance. I’ve found that the projects
where people come to us and get technical
assistance early on tend to be more successful
because we can help serve people in the
right direction, make sure they’re answering
the right questions, and make sure that they’re
covering all these bases. GWENDOLYNN FLYNN: All right. Great. So we’re going to take another
break in a few minutes. But before we do
that, I just want to take a little bit of a look
around at this great facility that we’re at. It is still in
construction, but, you know, the floats are in. It’s looking great, and by next
season it’ll be up and running. And when we come back, we’ll
be at another facility, another Boating
Infrastructure Grant Facility. And it also has
a pump out there. That one’s already constructed. So stay tuned and
we’ll be back soon. SPEAKER 13: This summer,
law enforcement agencies across the country
are participating in Operation Drywater, and
looking for impaired drivers. SPEAKER 14: Whether you are
on the water or on land, you’ll be going
nowhere fast if you choose to operate a vessel
or a vehicle while impaired. SPEAKER 13: Drunk boating
becomes drunk driving, and law enforcement
officers will be on the lookout
for those who choose to operate under the influence. SPEAKER 14: Alcohol use
is the number one factor in recreational boater deaths. Be smart and be safe. SPEAKER 13 AND 14: And never
boat under the influence. SPEAKER 15: Be advised. I will be arresting
an impaired boating. Requesting assistance. SPEAKER 16: 10-4. I’ll meet you at the boat ramp. GWENDOLYNN FLYNN:
Hi, and welcome back to Better Boating
in Connecticut. We have switched locations to
a big facility in Old Saybrook. We are currently at
Saybrook Point Marina. And we are on the
Connecticut River. And let’s see, what
does this facility have? So this is a Building
Infrastructure Grant facility as well as a Clean
Vessel Act facility. So we’ll get to the Clean Vessel
Act part in a few minutes. But I just wanted to show what
this facility has to offer. But before we get
hopping to that, I just wanted to go back
to one of the things that we forgot to
mention earlier. And that is that
the big program is– all of the eligible
projects within whatever the facility is going to be
building, it’s only up to 75%, right? KATE BROWN: Right. So, yeah, all the
eligible components such as docks, moorings,
improved bathroom facilities, any upland amenities that a
boater may be interested in, such as laundry facilities. The grant can match up to
75% of the cost of that. For some of the
larger facilities, usually the split
is closer to 50-50. GWENDOLYNN FLYNN: OK. That’s great. So, right here–
Kate, why don’t you just go through and talk
a little bit about what this marina has to offer
that’s a little bit different than the
Thamesport Marina. KATE BROWN: OK. Well, they’re similar in size. This marina has an inn, a spa. It has multiple restaurants. They offer courtesy shuttle
for the transient boaters that may come in to
utilize the facility. And they also offer bikes. So you can take your family
out for a bike ride downtown. So that’s kind of
cool and innovative. And being here in
Old Saybrook, there’s quite a lot to do in town. In front of us there are
four transient slips. And these are an
interesting configuration. We have a floating
concrete dock here, which is currently winterized
with the ramp being set down on the float for now,
for winter storage. But the pilings
separate the vessels, and the vessels come in stern
to, to the concrete float. And they tie up to these
really cool piling guards that float up and down. And because you
can see behind us, we’re at the mouth of
the Connecticut River, we get significant
ice flows here. So these pilings guards actually
are a really great innovation. They slide up and down to keep
the pilings protected from ice. So depending on the marina,
depending on its location, depending on the
kinds of vessels that are going to
come here, they’re each designed
slightly differently. GWENDOLYNN FLYNN: OK, great. Yeah. I mean, this facility
looks just as fantastic as the Thamesport one. That one, a little bit of
construction still going on, but as soon as
that’s done, I can see that these are very
great looking facilities that people will definitely
take advantage of. So let’s switch gears a little
bit and talk about pumpouts. So that’s one of the key
components for the Boating Infrastructure Grant
Program, that a pumpout needs to be within a few
miles of the facility. This one has one right on
site, similar to Thamesport. Thamesport had a
pumpout as well. So let’s talk about
if these are required to be nearby these
big facilities, then they must have
the funding, right? The funding is part of the
Fish and Wildlife Service too. Can you explain
that a little bit? Yeah KATE BROWN: So. The same trust fund– the Sport Fish
Restoration trust fund, which is administered through
the US Fish and Wildlife Service also funds the
Clean Vessel Act Program. And again, 75% of
the project can be funded through the grant– up to 75%. And the pumpout facilities
help to keep the water clean by removing the waste
from recreational boats from their holding tanks
and disposing them properly, either to a holding tank
that is later pumped out, or directly to a
sanitary sewer system. And here on the dock we have
the pump for the pumpout. You can see the
hose is coiled here. And we have several pumpout
stations down this long dock so that the transient boaters
that come in here can pull in– they don’t even have
to move their boat. They can fuel. They can get electricity. They can get water,
and they can pump out without ever even
moving their vessel. And in Connecticut,
all pumpouts are free to recreational boaters
through this program. And we did that in
cooperation with the marinas to ensure that
there was absolutely no barrier whatsoever for
boaters to do the right thing, dispose of their sanitary
waste in an appropriate way to keep the water clean,
because it helps all of us. And let’s face it, nobody
wants to fish or swim in that. GWENDOLYNN FLYNN: Right. So how many pumpouts do
you think are– or I’m sure you know. How many pumpouts are there
throughout Connecticut? KATE BROWN: So there
are approximately 100 stationary or portable
pumpouts at marine facilities such as this. And then we have
24 pumpout boats. There are also 21 dump stations. So for the smaller
boats that have, maybe more of a port-a-potty
type of thing on board, they can dump that when
they come into a marina. Or they can use a wand that
actually will take it out of their vessel for them. So we have actually quite a
few, and they’re statewide on the coast, up
our coastal rivers, and also we have one
pumpout boat and stationery facility in Candlewood Lake. So we’ve done a lot to
really kind of improve water quality in Connecticut. GWENDOLYNN FLYNN:
So something that I don’t think that we mentioned
in the earlier segment, but I just wanted to say that–
so the Boating Infrastructure Grant projects, they have
to be on navigable waters, so ultimately you can get
from one of our locations to somewhere in
Florida, let’s say. That’s a big distance, but
somewhere down in Florida where a pumpout can be inland. You mentioned the
Candlewood Lake boat. KATE BROWN: Right. So the Boating Infrastructure
Grants, as I mentioned, were really intended for boats
that are either transiting the shoreline, in the
case of Connecticut, the eastern seaboard, or they’re
going maybe from one harbor– say they’re going from
New Haven to New London. So they’re basically utilizing
a slip or a mooring that’s not in their port of origin. So they need to be
connected facilities. So yeah, typically they’re
the navigable waterways of Long Island Sound,
and then going up into the major tidal rivers
such as this one in Connecticut. GWENDOLYNN FLYNN: Right. And we can find all
of the big facilities on the directory, that website
that you directed us to before. KATE BROWN: Correct. GWENDOLYNN FLYNN:
Now, do you want to talk a little bit about
the pumpout directory that we have as
well, so that people can try to locate the nearest
pumpout if they need one? KATE BROWN: Sure. So we have a similar
pumpout facility map that will show you– you can zoom in on it, and it
will show the little pumpout icon on the map. And when you look at
the icons, the ones that are black and white
are stationary or marine land-based facilities,
whereas the ones that are red are pumpout boats. So you can locate
those on the map, depending on where
you are in the state. And then you can click on
the icon and information about how to hail
the pumpout boat or how to call the
marine facility will come up on your screen. It will tell you their
hours of operation. It will tell you the VHF
frequency where you can contact the marine facility or boat. It may provide a phone number,
if they have a mobile cell phone on the pumpout vessel. And it also will give you
a link to their website if there is one,
and an opportunity to make online reservations if
that’s offered by the facility. So it makes it incredibly
convenient for the boaters. This map can be located
on our DEEP website. And I believe we’re showing
that on the screen for all of our viewers so that
you can check that out. Also, if you go to the
Connecticut Boaters Guide, there is a QR code that you
can click on that will give you easy access to the map as well. So it’s pretty
similar to what we did with boating infrastructure,
only just more tailored to the pumpouts themselves. GWENDOLYNN FLYNN: So
besides the directory that will direct you to the
either the pumpout facility or the Boating Infrastructure
Grant facility, we also advertise
in several magazines and printed materials throughout
the state or region as well as our social media. If there’s a problem or a
new facility that opens up, we put it out on our
Facebook or Twitter, and we try to get
the word out as best we can and in a wide
variety of ways, just to let everybody know
about these amazing facilities that we have. So is there anything
else that you would like to add before
we say our goodbyes? KATE BROWN: Just that
this facility and the one we saw earlier this
morning are only two of the great facilities
that we have statewide. We have multiple other
facilities going up this river. We have more out to the west. We have more in the east
and more up the Thames River as well. So please go to the website. Check out the maps to
find your pumpouts, to find the boating
infrastructure facilities. We’ve worked really hard
with our partners, our marina partners, our boating partners,
our advertising partners, and particularly our US Fish
and Wildlife Service partners that provide the funding for
a lot of these structures and to bring it back to our
boaters here in Connecticut. So I want to thank everybody
for making the partnership so strong and to make Connecticut
a seriously fun place to go boating. GWENDOLYNN FLYNN: Absolutely. So thank you all for
joining us and remember, boating is serious fun. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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