MarAd Small Shipyard Grant Program Receives $20 Million

On page 1,691 of the 4,155-page, $1.7 trillion funding package President Joe Biden signed into law December 29, 2022, were four lines that will go a long way in boosting efficiency and capability and growing the workforce for small shipyards in the United States.

The bill set aside $20 million in funding for the Maritime Administration’s 2023 Small Shipyard Grant Program. Shipyards with fewer than 1,200 production employees are eligible to apply for the grants, which cover a maximum of 75 percent of a project’s cost. Eligible projects include capital improvements and training or workforce development programs.

According to the law that established the Small Shipyards Grant Program, the Maritime Administration must post a Notice of Funding Opportunity for this round of grants within 15 days of the enactment of the appropriations bill, January 13.

According to Dave Matsuda, who leads the Small Shipyard Grant Coalition, an advocacy group that supports the Small Shipyard Grant Program and helps shipyards applying for grants, the clock is already ticking for shipyards planning to submit a grant application. The law establishing the program requires shipyards to submit applications within 60 days of enactment of the appropriations bill.

“In addition, grant applications are likely to be due February 27, 2023, or thereabouts,” Matsuda said in a letter to coalition members. “As a reminder, should MarAd’s issuance of a notice be late, you will not get extra time to prepare your application.”

The last round of small shipyard grants was announced July 21, 2022, with 24 shipyards in 19 states receiving funding. With the forthcoming funding this year, the Maritime Administration, through the Small Shipyard Grant Program, will have awarded more than $302 million to shipyards in the United States since the program’s inception in 2008.

“These grants will allow small businesses to do what they do best, which is to build essential infrastructure while creating long-term and well-paying jobs for Americans,” Maritime Administrator Ann Phillips said in announcing the grants last summer. “Better equipment means increased productivity and more ships and watercraft moving through our small shipyards. Growing this industry further supports and strengthens our domestic maritime industry.”