The Port of Rochester, New York, received a $1.5 million Boating Infrastructure Grant to help turn a parking lot into a transient marina. Download hi-res photo
WASHINGTON, June 10, 2021 – A bill introduced today that provides critical funding for conservation, fisheries research, habitat restoration, and recreational boating access and safety also offers new provisions to help meet the future needs of anglers and boaters. The Sport Fish Restoration, Recreational Boating Safety, and Wildlife Restoration Act (H.R. 3702) aims to reauthorize the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Safety Trust Fund, one of the most successful “user pay – public benefits” federal funding programs that relies on excise taxes paid on fishing and boating equipment as well as motorboat fuel taxes to support angling and boating programs.
Of several new provisions to the bill, the first is an effort to address the derelict vessel challenge which also includes the promotion of boat recycling programs. The second is to examine the growing use of nonmotorized vessels on all types of waterway access and the resultant user conflicts and potential for increased boating accidents and fatalities.
The bill also gives the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service more flexibility to effectively administer the Sport Fish Restoration fund programs, such as the Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) program that grows the availability of safe and protected harborage for transient boaters.
The nation’s advocacy, services and safety group for recreational boat owners, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), thanks bill sponsor Rep. Debbie Dingel (D-MI) and Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA) for introducing the legislation, and Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) for the companion bill S.1995. The legislation is anticipated to be incorporated into a larger transportation bill.
“H.R. 3702 builds on many years of success,” said BoatUS Manager of Government Affairs David Kennedy. “It continues to support infrastructure grants, the Clean Vessel Act, and U.S. Coast Guard and local boating safety programs. However, it also addresses some new challenges we face as more folks head to the water, such as what to do with end-of-life-cycle recreational vessels and how to equitably fund waterway access points. We look forward to its passage.”
Since its enactment in 1950, the Trust Fund has provided more than $38 billion in funding for state-based conservation programs, recreational boating access and safety, aquatic resources education, and fisheries management and restoration.
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About Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS):
Celebrating more than 50 years, BoatUS is the nation’s largest organization of recreational boaters with more than 800,000 members. We are the boat owners’ voice on Capitol Hill and fight for their rights. We are The Boat Owners Auto Club and help ensure a roadside trailer breakdown doesn’t end a boating or fishing trip before it begins. When boats break down on the water, TowBoatUS brings them safely back to the launch ramp or dock, 24/7. BoatUS offers GEICO boat insurance policies that give boat owners affordable, specialized coverage and superior service they need. We help keep boaters safe and our waters clean with assistance from the nonprofit BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water. Visit BoatUS.com.