BoatUS Special Report


Don't Give Up The Slip!

By Ryck Lydecker
Published: April/May 2013

This Labor Day weekend, boaters can have "front row slips" for the 200th anniversary reenactment of the Battle of Lake Erie, thanks to Ohio's participation in the Boating Infrastructure Grant Program.

Show Me The Money

Photo of 4th of July fireworks over Lake Erie
Photo: John Rees

Redesigning the old marina basin required blasting out tons of bedrock from the entrance, removing a longtime navigation hazard. Complicating construction, no in-water work could take place during fish-spawning season (mid-April thorough June), and work stopped for three to four months each year due to ice. The project required roughly nine years of seasonal construction with the aid of two BIG grants, $956,293 awarded in 2001 and $864,800 in 2002, matched by just under $640,000 in non-federal dollars. An additional $45,000 from the federal Clean Vessel Act program paid for pumpout service at the marina.

BoatUS shepherded the legislation that made this project possible through Congress in 1998. The BIG program uses excise taxes that boaters pay on fuel and fishing supplies. These funds, about $650 million annually, are dispersed from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund to state agencies (in this case, Ohio's DNR) for safety education, law enforcement, fisheries conservation, and vessel sewage pumpouts, as well as to build infrastructure like launching ramps, mooring fields, and marina slips for visiting boaters.

The 110 transient slips at Middle Bass Island State Park Marina are expected to fill quickly this season. Day use is first-come first-served, but overnight dockage is available by reservation beginning in mid-March. Phone 419-734-4424 ext. 2; after May 1, 419-285-0311. The site includes a two-lane launching ramp and courtesy dock for trailer boaters. (The ferry from Port Clinton, Ohio, accommodates trailer boats; for reservations, call 419-285-2421 local, or 800-500-2421.) Marine City in nearby Marblehead, Ohio, a BoatUS Cooperating Marina, offers discounts on slips to BoatUS Members.

Another BIG Island

Can't get away for the big battle on Labor Day weekend? There's always July 4. At Put-in-Bay, on South Bass Island, the celebration is a time-honored annual tradition, both on the island and in the water. Put-in-Bay Harbor is home to half a dozen marinas plus two village-owned docks with transient slips and mooring buoys. Demand is high in summer, so a new BIG project is set to break ground this fall. The $3.5-million project ($2.2 million in BIG funding) will renovate or replace 905 feet of existing docks, add 590 feet of new floating docks, install new lighting, add updated electrical and water services to the slips, and install improved fire-protection equipment for transient boaters. It's expected to open in time for the 2014 boating season. of story marker

Associate editor Ryck Lydecker works on BoatUS Government Affairs policy issues.

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