Aquatic Center Education Program


2024-25 Aquatic Center Grant

The application period for the 2024-25 grant cycle will open Fall 2024. For questions or a sample application contact Amy Rigby

All applications must be submitted through the Online Grant Application System.

Grant Information

DBW promotes a safer and more enjoyable boating environment through grants to non-profit organizations, colleges, universities and local agencies operating in California that offer on-the-water training to enhance basic boating safety. Click here to see Participating Aquatic Centers.

GranteeGrant FundedGrant Amount
 Alameda Community Sailing Center Equipment and Scholarships $40,000
 Associated Students Inc. of Sacramento State Univ. dba Sac. State Aquatic Ctr. Equipment and Scholarships $60,000
 Associated Students of San Diego State University Equipment, Scholarships and Events $62,000
 Backcountry Medical Guides Equipment $6,047
 Boys & Girls Club of West San Gabriel Valley Scholarships $39,780
 Cal Sailing Club Equipment $45,550
 California State University, Channel Islands Equipment, Scholarships and Events $60,781
 City of Carpinteria Equipment and Scholarships $15,499
 City of Long Beach Equipment $25,631
 City of Newport Beach Equipment $29,484
 City of Oakland (Lake Merritt Boating Center) Scholarships and Events $30,270
 City of Redding Equipment, Scholarships and Events $38,000
 City of Santa Rosa Scholarships $1,400
 City of Ventura Equipment, Scholarships and Training $39,985
 Coast Community College District Equipment, Scholarships, Training and Events $61,938
 CSU Long Beach Research Foundation Equipment, Scholarships and Training $30,819
 Dana Point Aquatic Foundation Equipment, Scholarships and Events $59,295
 Environmental Traveling Companions Equipment and Scholarships $61,963
 Feather River Center Equipment, Scholarships, Training and Events $57,250
 Feather River College Equipment and Training $20,005
 Healing Waters Wilderness Adventures  Scholarships and Training $40,000
 King Harbor Youth Foundation Equipment $39,901
 Lake Tahoe Community College Equipment $32,557
 Long Beach Area Council Boy Scouts of America Scholarships and Events $42,000
 Los Gatos-Saratoga Community Education & Recreation Equipment $2,297
 Nor Cal SUP Groms Equipment, Scholarships, Training and Events $38,110
 Pacific Coast Sailing Foundation Scholarships $40,000
 Pacific Corinthian Youth Foundation Equipment, Scholarships and Training $37,930
 Peninsula Youth Sailing Foundation Equipment $27,803
 Regents of the University of California (Berkeley - Cal Adventures) Equipment, Scholarships and Training $59,990
 Regents of the University of California (Davis) Equipment $39,769
 Regents of the University of California (Los Angeles) Equipment, Scholarships and Training $40,000
 Regents of the University of California (San Francisco) Scholarships and Events $10,600
 Regents of the University of California (Santa Cruz) Equipment $28,686
 Regents of the University of California (Santa Barbara) Equipment, Scholarships and Training $24,685
 Sailing Education Adventures Equipment, Scholarships, Training and Events $38,000
 San Diego-Imperial Council, Boy Scouts of America Equipment and Training $39,390
 Tahoe City Public Utility District Equipment, Training and Events $33,710
 The San Diego Canoe Kayak Team Equipment, Scholarships, Training and Events $41,068
 Treasure Island Sailing Center Equipment, Scholarships and Events $62,000
 Truckee Donner Recreation and Parks District Equipment and Training $3,772
 United States Adaptive Recreation Center Scholarships and Events $21,500
Total Funded   $1,529,465



The mission of DBW is to provide safe and convenient public access to California's waterways and leadership in promoting the public's right to safe, enjoyable and environmentally sound recreational boating.

As part of its mission, DBW manages the Aquatic Center Grant Program to enhance boaters’ knowledge of boating laws, practical handling of vessels on the water, weather and water conditions, rules of the road, equipment requirements and environmental stewardship.

Funding is provided to organizations that offer on-the-water training to the general public that includes all of the above-mentioned topics.

The following questions are typical of those DBW receives concerning the Aquatic Center Grant Program and should provide valuable information for grant applicants.


2024 Aquatic Center Directors
In-Person Meeting Dates


Please check back in Spring 2024 for updates.


Aquatic Center Director's Meetings

Aquatic center director meetings provide an opportunity for aquatic center directors throughout the state to come together and discuss boating-related topics. (Meetings are open to the public.)
Topics of discussion have included:

  • Aquatic programs for children, including youth at-risk programs
  • Ways to make program dollars go further
  • Programs for the disabled
  • Sharing instructional videos and manuals
  • Grant writing workshops
  • How aquatic centers can form valuable partnerships with municipal governments and other area organizations
  • Role of the Internet in aquatic center programs

Meeting attendees get the chance to network with others who direct programs similar to theirs, affording them a chance to share ideas and find ways to offer better, safer and often cheaper programs.

Two meetings are held each year, one in Northern California, and one in Southern California. Agencies participating in the grant program volunteer to host a meeting. The meeting lasts two days and occasionally includes a third day, which involves a boating activity.






Frequently Asked Questions

Section 668.2 of the Harbors and Navigation Code allows DBW to distribute funding to local public agencies, nonprofit organizations, and colleges and universities operating within California.
DBW opens the application period in the fall each year. During this period, dates and deadlines are posted on the DBW website. Please visit the website for updates since the application period can change.
DBW will consider awarding grant funds to public agencies, colleges, universities and non-profit organizations that can provide on-the-water programs for enhancing boating safety education. The grant process is competitive in nature. The organization must have a positive boating safety record, must have adequately trained staff and have a safe environment in which to teach.

In addition, ideal candidates for funding would have several of these attributes:
  • Program goals that support DBW’s mission.
  • Self-sufficient program that does not totally depend on DBW funding.
  • Adequate permanent staff to ensure continuity of programming.
  • Located in sites where boating is prevalent, but there are limited opportunities to receive boating education.
  • Year-round courses where weather and water conditions permit.
  • Comprehensive and cost-effective boating safety training courses for a large segment of the general public.
  • Training for underserved populations.
  • Basic boating safety education
  • Safety training for boating activities associated with accidents.

The Aquatic Center Grant Program Manual includes grant management, as well as terms and conditions that must be followed. Online Grant Application (OLGA) information may be found by clicking the links in the left-hand column on this page.

After DBW receives an application for grant funds, it is reviewed to see how closely the applicant's program funding request aligns with the Aquatic Center Grant Program's goals and objectives. Usually a site visit is conducted in order to further evaluate the program. Only the most qualified applicants are granted funding.

If the application is approved, an agreement is sent to the grant recipient for signature, and then it is processed through DBW's Administrative Services Unit and signed by the Deputy Director. Additional approval occurs at the Department of General Services Office of Risk Insurance Management.
Vessels, and/or associated equipment that provide for boating safety education are eligible for grant funding. Examples include but are not limited to sailboats, trailers, water ski boats, canoes, kayaks, rafts, stand-up paddle boards, windsurfing equipment, boat engines, safety boats, and associated safety equipment, such as life jackets, radios, and wetsuits. Life jackets must be worn by all participants during any training paid for by grant funds or when using any vessels purchased with grant funds.

Additionally, applicants may apply for associated portable equipment such as storage sheds, equipment racks and portable docking systems.
Scholarships are available for basic non-competitive boating safety education. Scholarship funding can be used to lower the overall cost of a course in order to make it more affordable to all participants if it is estimated that the majority of people in an area cannot afford the actual tuition. Scholarship funding can also be used to partially or completely fund the tuition of individual students or specific groups of students such as school groups, outreach clubs, etc. Funding is available for disabled students as well.
There are both general terms and conditions that are required by all state agreements as well as specific terms and conditions that apply to this grant program that all organizations must be able to comply with in order to be considered for funding. These include

Exhibit B – Special Terms and Conditions
Exhibit B – Special Terms and Conditions (UC System)
Exhibit C – General Terms and Conditions
Exhibit C – General Terms and Conditions (UC System)
Prospective applicants should ensure that they can comply with both the general and specific terms and conditions.
After a grant is awarded, follow-up visits are periodically scheduled between the organization and DBW representatives. Such visits include a review of the program’s goals and inventory of the equipment purchased with DBW funds.

Additionally, the grantee shall ensure that the grant requirements are met such as attending one Aquatic Center Directors’ Meetings each year and completing an annual program report.
Reports are required from grantees receiving scholarship, training, and National Safe Boating Week funds each year they receive funding for the stated program requirements. For vessels, engines and other equipment purchased with grant funds, annual reports and inventory forms are required as long as the equipment remains in use or until it is approved by DBW to be sold and/or replaced.
No money is awarded upon approval of the grant; all funds are distributed through reimbursement only. Reimbursement requests must be submitted in accordance with the specific terms and conditions and must be accompanied by proof of payment. Purchase orders from manufactures/dealers will not be accepted in place of invoices when requesting reimbursement from DBW.
The length of time to receive reimbursement varies. Grantees should ensure that they carefully follow the billing instructions to ensure maximum speed of payment. Once the correctly completed request for payment leaves DBW, it goes to the DPR Accounting Unit and then to the California State Controller’s Office where the actual check is processed and mailed to the grantee. This process generally takes six weeks to complete if all documentation is in place. Programs without sufficient funds to cover payments while waiting for reimbursement should not apply for grant funding.