Official Application Guidelines

Applications are currently unavailable. To be notified when applications are available, please follow us on social media or sign up for our E-Newsletter


The BoatUS Foundation Grassrooots Grants Program is an online grant program which makes funds available to small, local nonprofit organizations, boating clubs and student groups for projects that promote safe and/or clean boating on local waterways.

1. How it works:

The Foundation is looking for unique project ideas to reach recreational boaters with safety and/or clean boating messages. Information designed for boaters and delivered to boaters should be a key component of the project, not an afterthought. The Foundation is especially interested in projects that result in behavior changes in the boating community and are not solely about passive exposure to safe and clean boating messages. Projects should be planned to get wide exposure in the local community, and be replicated by others. The maximum grant request allowed is $10,000. Although applicants are free to request the maximum funding amount, the Grant Committee reserves the right to fund all or part of the proposed project. If changes are made to the funding request, the Grant Administrator will notify applicants of these changes before the application is posted online for voting. The best applications submitted will be posted for public voting in the Spring. Grant applicants will have several weeks to promote their project and encourage others to vote. After voting concludes, Foundation staff will notify the grant recipients and complete the required contracts. If a group receives a grant, they will be expected to complete all grant-related work within 12 months.

2.Grant Projects:

The Foundation is looking for unique project ideas to educate boaters on safe and clean boating topics. Projects that the Foundation is most interested in funding will include several of the following elements:

  • facilitates behavior changes in the boating community
  • be unique ideas - either topic, methods or delivery mechanism
  • include extensive outreach efforts to boaters
  • use technology to educate boaters including social media and the web
  • have a widespread reach (not just a handful of boaters)
  • include hands on work with the boating community
  • have a means to measure the success of the program

The Foundation is NOT interested in funding projects that:

  • are reproductions of projects done in the past by other organizations or the applicant
  • use the majority of grants funds for signs, brochures or giveaways (floating keychains, whistles, life jackets, etc.)
  • are not directed specifically to boaters
  • focus on promoting the applicant’s organization and not on safe or clean boating messages
3. Eligibility:

The Grassroots Grants Program is intended for nonprofit organizations. Applicants can include boating groups, clubs and associations, student groups as well as nonprofit organizations, including local chapters of national organizations. Grants will not be awarded to government agencies, international organizations, for-profit businesses or individuals. The following types of projects are not eligible for funding:

  • capital improvement projects or general operating funds
  • money to start an organization
  • debt repayment or reimbursement
  • multi-year projects unless the project will become self sufficient after the initial funding
  • projects that include lobbying efforts or any type of political action
  • promotional or membership drives for businesses or clubs
  • projects solely intended to benefit a group's membership
  • expenses for transportation, meals or lodging
  • specialized training or equipment for the recipient group members unless it can be shown that this training will benefit the general boating public
  • while the program does occasionally fund purchases of equipment for educational or display purposes, requests for electronic hardware/software, boats, motors, or other expensive boating gear is not likely to be funded
4. Project Budget:
  • The maximum allowable grant request is $10,000 but applicants can request any amount up to that.
  • Salary requests cannot exceed 10% of the total grant request
  • Funding requests for equipment cannot exceed 10% of the total grant request
  • The Foundation reserves the right to fund all or part of the proposed project
5. Agreement to Official Rules:


By submitting an application for the Grassroots Grants Program, applicant fully and unconditionally agrees to and accepts these Official Rules and the decisions of the BoatUS Foundation, which are final and binding in all matters related to the Grassroots Grants Program. Application submission gives the Foundation the right to reproduce, distribute or edit the application for use by the Grassroots Grants Program.

6. How to Apply:

Users must register to complete an application. Groups can submit more than one application for different project ideas. All application questions must be completed and the applications submitted for review. Applications that are not complete will not be reviewed. Applicants can include video, photographs, proofs and other supporting materials with their application (See Additional Requirements for Photograph(s), Video, and Other Attachment Content of Application for more information on acceptable attachments). These attachments will need to be uploaded with the online application. These attachments may be used by the Review Committee in evaluating the application and may be posted with the project information during the voting phase. Attachments that are mailed or emailed will not be included in the application review.

7. Application Content Guidelines:


Applications must:

  • be in English
  • be submitted using the online application form
  • be submitted by the application deadline date
  • contain a detailed budget
  • have all application questions completed
  • be from an organization or group that is eligible for funding (see Eligibility)
  • be a project that is intended to educate boaters
  • be for a project that can be completed in one year of funding award
  • not contain funding request for salary, transportation, meals or lodging
  • not involve political advocacy
8. Additional Requirements for Photograph(s), Video, and Other Attachment Content of Application (if applicable):
  • Any video used must reside in your YouTube® account (and comply with the YouTube Site's "YouTube Community Guidelines" set forth at ("Code of Conduct") & Terms of Service. You will have a space to provide a link to the video in the application
  • All other attachment content can be uploaded in the application
  • File types allowed are: .jpg,.jpeg,.gif,.doc,.zip,.docx,.pdf
  • No more than one file may be uploaded with an application
  • If you have multiple files to upload, they must be zipped (using a program such as WinZip, StuffIt, or similar) and uploaded as one file.
  • File size cannot exceed 4 MB
  • Photos, videos, graphics, and images must be the property of the applicant
  • The applicant must have written permission from all individuals in the photograph(s) and/or video (regardless of if they are in the foreground or background) – if an individual in the photograph(s) and/or video is under the age of majority in their state of residence, written permission must be obtained from the individual's parent or legal guardian
  • All attached content must be appropriate to the theme of the application
9. Review Phase:

After the application deadline, the grant administrator will review all applications that have been properly submitted. Applications that meet the following criteria will be submitted to the Review Committee:

  • are within the scope of the Grassroots Grants program
  • followed all application directions
  • directed at the boating public
  • addresses a safety or environmental concern for boaters
  • are creative, innovative or original
  • has a broad reach
  • can be replicated

The Review Committee will choose the best applications to move on to the voting phase. The Review Committee will user the following questions to evaluate all applications:

  • Is the project unique (either topic, methods or delivery mechanism)?
  • Does the project have extensive reach?
  • Is the project focused on education boaters about safe boating and clean water topics?
  • Does the project use new and different ways to reach boaters, including the use of technology?
  • Is the success of the program measureable?

Applicants whose projects have been selected will be notified before the voting phase begins. All applicants are encouraged to begin planning how they will promote their project if it makes it to the voting phase.

10. Voting Phase:

The best applications will move on to the voting phase. Voting will begin in the Spring of 2015. A summary of the application and appropriate photographs and video will be posted online for the public to view and vote on. Applicants should promote their project to their members, community and local media to encourage voting. The projects with the most votes at the end of the voting phase will be awarded funded.

11. Receiving a Grant:

After voting is complete, Foundation staff will notify applicants of the status of their proposed project. Those who receive a grant will be provided with the required contract and instructions for completing the project. Grantees will receive 50% of the grant funding when the grant is awarded and 50% when the grant has been completed. Grantees are required to provide the Foundation with status updates on their projects, proofs of all products produced with grant funding for approval and detailed budget reporting.

If you have questions about the Grassroots Grants Program, contact