From the collective fervor at the National Houseboat Expos, it's obvious that houseboat communities across America are keen on celebrating and promoting their home boating venues. Safe, clean lakes and waterways are certainly part of that effort. Now, thanks to increased grant funding from the BoatU.S. Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water, making a positive difference should be easier than ever.
The foundation has increased the funds available for its pairing of grassroots grant programs from $40,000 to $50,000 each (a total of $100,000 annually).
The most immediate deadline to apply for grant funding is for Clean Water Grant projects, with grant proposals due Feb. 1, 2006.
The Clean Water Grant program is designed to educate boaters on environmental issues that impact boaters such as petroleum pollution prevention, pump out education or littering prevention. For more information, to view grant projects, or apply for funding, go to www.boatus.com/foundation.
The Boating Safety Grant program, which funds innovative ways to promote safer boating, has an annual November 1 deadline. Projects have included creating literature on the effects of boating under the influence, boat ramp signage informing users about free vessel safety checks, and billboards educating people (including both private owners and houseboat renters) about the danger of carbon monoxide exposure.
"These perennial grant programs offer new opportunities each year for groups to be creative in sharing the safe or clean boating message and to have an direct impact on their own community," said BoatU.S. Foundation Director of Boating Safety Programs, Chris Edmonston. Both of the Foundation's Clean Water and Boating Safety grant programs give up to $4,000 to local, nonprofit groups to improve the marine environment or provide boating safety education, respectively.
The Foundation's grant programs are primarily funded by the voluntary contributions of the 630,000 members of BoatU.S., and over $700,000 has been given out since the first grant 18 years ago. In addition to grassroots grant programs, the BoatU.S. Foundation oversees more than a dozen programs including the only NASBLA-approved, free, online general boating safety course; a low-cost EPIRB rental program; the "Help Stop the Drops" national clean fueling campaign; and a free kid's Life Jacket Loaner program.