As recipients of an IBOATNJ grant in 2008, we are writing concerning the plight of marina owners in the state following Hurricane Sandy. Our businesses have sustained devastating damage.
IBOATNJ was a grant program established by the state Department of Transportation's Office of Maritime Resources in 2002 and designed to benefit the boating public by promoting, improving and enhancing the marine industry. The funds were derived from an increase in boater registration fees approved in 2002, but the program was a victim of budget cuts in 2010. The funds from that increase are now redirected to the state's general fund.
There were approximately 100 grants awarded in that time period. Our business, Grassy Sound Marina, was awarded $630,000 in 2008 to rebuild infrastructure and replace docks on a stretch of the Intracoastal Waterway that had been silted in and inaccessible to the public for 25-30 years. This is just one example of the highly successful IBOATNJ program. There is no doubt that without this funding and the ability to rebuild docks and bulkheading, and to upgrade plumbing, electrical systems and our fuel system, we would be standing with the 13 marina owners we saw on television Jan. 7 pleading for the governor's help.
New Jersey should consider reinstating the IBOATNJ program. It is desperately needed for that which it was originally intended. IBOATNJ was vital to the economic stability and growth of the marine industry in the state and is needed now more than ever following the devastation of Sandy.
Grassy Sound Marina