County boat and water safety grants

State Boat and Water Safety Grant Program

Program Purpose: To assist in funding boat and water safety programs carried out through the county sheriff's offices. The goal is to reduce deaths, injuries and property damage on state waters.

Eligible Projects: Funds may be used by the county for patrol, enforcement; search and rescue; buoying; removal of hazards to navigation; boat and water safety outreach; inspection of watercraft for rent, lease or hire; watercraft and water accident investigation; and search, rescue or recovery of accident victims.

Who May Apply: Counties through their sheriffs' offices. Seventy-two out of 87 counties participated in 2013. Counties are the only local unit of government that are: 1) authorized & mandated by law, and 2) equipped to carry out all of these boating safety functions

Priorities: Based on formula noted below.

Level of Assistance: Up to 100% of eligible costs. Grant amounts are based on the overall legislative allocation and predetermined formula. The formula includes the spectrum of prior year's boat & water safety activities, boat use and special considerations, such as having to patrol large lakes or rivers.

General Information: This program has been ongoing since the early 1960's.

How to Apply: Grant contract forms are sent to the participating counties early in each calendar year. A spending plan and county board approval is required on each grant. Grants are good for 18 months beginning in January of each year. The county must submit an annual calendar year accomplishment and a financial report by the first part of March each year. In addition, they must submit other required reports as noted in the grant itself. Reimbursement is done via an invoice form submitted to DNR by the counties.

Federal Boating Safety Grant Programs to Counties

1. Supplemental Boating Safety Patrol Grants

Program Purpose: To assist counties, through their sheriffs' offices, in funding additional boating safety patrol hours on lakes and rivers in an effort to reduce accidents. The program is designed to add hours: 1) to the lakes and rivers with the most boat use, 2) during times when use is highest, or 3) during nighttime hours when accidents may occur. The grant period usually starts in mid-May and ends on Labor Day.

Eligible Projects: This grant is designed to specifically target certain high impact boating violations including: boating while intoxicated (BWI), personal watercraft (PWC) operation, careless operation, carriage & use of lifejackets and navigation light usage. Counties must submit a written patrol plan/schedule with the grant forms and a narrative / activities summary upon completion. They also must complete log sheets for each day and submit those with all invoices.

Who May Apply: Counties through the sheriffs' offices. Counties are the only local unit of government that are: 1) authorized & mandated by law, and 2) equipped & trained to carry out boating safety enforcement functions.

Priorities: Targeted to counties with approximately one percent or more of the state's boat use, or those located on the commercially-navigable Mississippi & the Lower St. Croix Rivers.

Level of Assistance: Up to 100% of eligible costs. Grant amounts are based on federal allocations available to the state, overall county boat use, special considerations, including the duty to patrol large lakes, commercially navigable rivers and the type of boating encountered (active recreational use vs. passive boating activities). In some cases this is modified up or down based on the prior year's on-water activities, accident history, climatic conditions or a county request on their year-end narrative.

General Information: This sub grant has been ongoing since 1988 and involved 32 counties in 2013.

How to Apply: Grant contract forms are sent to qualified counties in March of each year by DNR. County board approval is required on each grant and counties must submit a patrol plan with the grant forms. A narrative report (including a summary of enf. activities) is required before final reimbursement is made to the counties. The final invoice, all log sheets and the report are required to be submitted, usually by the 15th of September.

2. Supplemental Boating Safety Equipment and Aids to Navigation Grants

Program Purpose: To assist counties through their sheriffs' offices in funding boating safety equipment and aids to navigation to help carry out their legislatively-mandated boating safety duties. The goal: to reduce deaths, injuries and property damage on state waters.

Eligible Projects:

  1. Boats, motors and trailers used for boating safety work – including patrol, search & rescue and aids to navigation.
  2. Buoys, signs, lights and other aids to navigation for boaters.
  3. Other equipment, supplies or materials used for boating safety enforcement, search & rescue, outreach or aids to navigation.

Who May Apply: Counties participating in the state boat & water safety grant program, through their sheriff's offices. Counties are the only local unit of government that are; 1) authorized & mandated by law, and 2) equipped to carry out all of these boating safety functions.

Priorities: A set of criteria is used to evaluate grant applications. A panel of three B&W safety staff independently rates each item applied for on a scale from 1 to 10, based on these qualifications.

Level of Assistance: Up to 100% of eligible costs. In a number of cases the county will pay for a portion of the equipment out of their own funds. This is required if it is also to be used for non-boating safety activities.

General Information: This program has been ongoing since 2006 and assisted 43 counties in 2013.

How to Apply: Grant proposal forms are e-mailed by DNR to all participating counties in late March or early April each year. Forms are then returned to DNR, scored by three DNR staff members using a set of criteria, and then ranked. Using the ranking and funds available, a cutoff score is established. Grant forms are sent to the selected counties in May for county board approval and return to DNR. Those counties that had no items selected are notified by individual letters. Counties must then purchase the item from July 1- early Sept. Invoices for reimbursement are due to DNR by a specified date - around Sept. 15th.

 

Questions regarding these three grant programs should be directed to:

Deb Ethier, Grants Specialist
500 Lafayette Road, Box 47
St. Paul, MN 55155-4047
Phone: (651) 259-5361
Fax: (651) 297-3727
E-Mail: deb.ethier@state.mn.us