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  • Writer's pictureErika Young

Five Key Small Shipyard Grant Takeaways from the First Five months of 2024


The May 8 deadline for the FY 2024 Small Shipyard Grant Program capped a fast-paced five-month run for the Small Shipyard Grant Coalition. From the Congressional Fly-In, to gaining support in both the House and Senate for funding for next year's grant program, to working with you to create upcoming educational events, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on the first part of the year and tell you about what's coming up next.


FY 2024 Small Shipyard Grant Program


Congress funded the FY 2024 program at a level lower than in previous years, at $8.75m. Despite this lower level of funding, MARAD continued to signal that the size of each award may not be impacted, and demand for the program remains strong. For this round, MARAD received 79 applications requesting $50 million, to fund $95 million worth of projects, so the program continues to be more than 5x oversubscribed, and shipyards are proposing an average match rate of 53% using their own dollars.


This year's grant solicitation saw a few technical changes from the previous year, including:

  • a more streamlined approach to addressing Departmental priority selection factors;

  • a decision not to apply a blanket exemption to domestic preference requirements for equipment funded via FY 2024 Small Shipyard grants;

  • more flexibility to include grant-eligible costs, if a project takes longer to complete due to environmental/permitting requirements; and

  • more explicit direction on how environmental/permitting requirements will impact projects that involve in-water work, including many dry dock projects, for example.


The Small Shipyard solicitation is now closed, and we anticipate that MARAD will announce award selections on or around July 9th.


2024 Congressional Fly-in


On March 15, the Coalition hosted 25 shipyards, manufacturers, and supporters in Washington, DC for the 2024 Small Shipyard Grant Coalition's congressional fly-in. The first since 2019. The Fly-In focused on educating Members of Congress and their staff on the importance of small shipyards back home and also across the nation. A special thank you to Tompkins Defense Consulting and to the Passenger Vessel Association for their sponsorship of the event.


A few highlights include:


  • meeting with MARAD Administrator, Rear Admiral Ann C. Phillips, US Navy (Ret.)

  • engagements with more than 30 Members and staff in both the House and Senate to express concern with the cut to the program this year and discuss ways to increase funding levels next year

  • identifying new advocacy opportunities for 2024

Building Congressional Support for Grant Funds


The Coalition fly-in was well timed to create support for the 2024 efforts to develop additional Congressional support for the program. Program champions such as House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Ranking Member Salud Carbajal (D-CA-24) spoke about his committment and that of the Subcommittee to increase the size of the Small Shipyard Grant program, with up to a $35m authorization level this year.


At the Fly-In, we also discussed strategies to build funding support in the House and Senate. This year, requests were filed for up to $35m in funding from the 2025 budget. Ranking Member Carbajal and Subcommittee Chair Daniel Webster (R-FL-11) led the support letter in the US House of Representatives and secured a total of 35 signatures from Members of Congress. Senate Champions Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) secured support from a total of 18 Senators making the request. All told, despite an almost doubling of the request amount from last year to this year, support in Congress continues to increase for these funds. Without the work of these Congressional champions for small shipyards, the program would not continue.


You can read both request letters here:


We ask you to take a close look at these letters and see whether your Member of Congress or U.S. Senators has signed on to demonstrate support for small shipyards. If not, there may be a good reason (i.e., they have requested the funding through another means), or we've all got some work to do!


Panel Session at 2024 Inland Marine Expo


This month, Dave Matsuda, founder of the Small Shipyard Grant Coalition, will host a panel at the 2024 Inland Marine Expo in Nashville, TN, on Federal Funding Opportunities and Forecasting for Small Shipyards. The panel is scheduled to include a representative from MARAD as well as executives from two inland waterways shipyards. The panel will discuss the Small Shipyard Grant Program, as well as other programs that small shipyards can access for capital improvement projects.


If you're planning on attending IMX this year, please join us on Thursday, May 30 at 1:30PM CT at the Music City Convention Center at the Main Stage in Hall D for an informative and engaging discussion.


Register for IMX 2024 HERE to join us on May 30th.


What's Next for the Coalition?


The Coalition will continue to advocate for a robust Small Shipyard Grant Program for the remainder of 2024 until Congress passes its annual appropriations. The increased level of funding requested in the House and Senate support letters are a good sign this year, but we will need your help to ensure the strong funding levels continue. If you see an opportunity to help raise the profile of this important program with key decision-makers, please reach out to us.


Additionally, the Coalition will again host their annual breakfasts this year concurrently with the Pacific Marine Expo in Seattle (not yet scheduled) and the International Workboat Show in New Orleans, during the week of November 12. We encourage you to join us for a robust conversation about the grant program and the capital needs of small shipyards.





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