The Small Shipyard Grant Program: Background and Facts on the Program


  • The Small Shipyard Grant Program is authorized by Congress at 46 USC §54101 and is administered by US Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration.

  • The Small Shipyard Grant Program awards federal funds to small shipyards to modernize their equipment and facilities, boost training for their employees and help improve their efficiency, productivity and competitiveness.


  • To be eligible to apply for a grant through the Small Shipyards Grant Program, a shipyard must have less than 1,200 production employees working at its site.  The shipyard must also primarily focus on workboats (i.e. tugs, tows, fishing boats and ferries) greater than 40 feet in length and/or non-commercial vessels (i.e., yachts) greater than 100 feet in length.


  • Congress created the Small Shipyards Program in fiscal year 2006, and it recently reauthorized the program in FY 2019. Funding has been sporadic, as Congress zeroed out the program in FY2014 and FY2015.

  • MARAD has awarded 216 small shipyard grants to facilities in 30 states and one U.S. territory.  However, these grants support economic growth far beyond our nation’s coastlines, rivers and waterways.


  • In addition, demand for this program has far outpaced available resources. At its peak in 2009 under the American Recovery and Reconstruction Act (ARRA) when MARAD awarded $100 million, more than 500 applicants asked for assistance on projects worth more than $1.25 billion. In the most recent round awarded in fiscal year 2019, MARAD received $64 million worth of funds, but only $19.6 million is available for award. 


  • To date, the majority of grant recipients have used funding to purchase equipment and modernize their infrastructure.  However, funds can also be used for workforce training. 


  • It’s not just shipyards that benefit. U.S. manufacturer of shipyard equipment receive orders for new equipment from this program each year, providing further leveraged economic activity.

CONTACT US:                                                                           This initiative is a project of Matsuda & Associates LLC

Phone (202) 681-8406