Small Harbor Improvement Program

The Small Harbor Improvement Program (SHIP) promotes economic development, public access, improved commercial fishing opportunities and works to preserve, and create, infrastructure at facilities in tidewater and coastal municipalities. The SHIP program assists municipalities in improving or creating facilities, such as public wharves, piers, landings and boat ramps. There is a required 50% local share under this program. The SHIP program can provide up to $250,000 in assistance towards eligible projects.

Ongoing Program for Future Funding Assistance

This grant application is open to tidewater communities that can demonstrate a need to improve economic activity and access to a tidewater river or the ocean on publicly-accessible property. Typical types of projects funded under this program include commercial and municipal wharf improvements, hoist systems, boat ramps, gangways, stairwells to clam flats, piling replacements, etc.

The goal of this program is to promote economic development, and improve public marine infrastructure and public access. MaineDOT urges each community to contact us as soon possible with your project ideas/needs to begin the process for potential inclusion in upcoming budgets. MaineDOT will schedule site visits as needed once a letter of intent has been filed. Once a letter of intent project has been deemed eligible, the community will be able to submit an application.

Letter of Intent and Application Documents


We have instituted an ongoing application process. Please contact Chris Mayo at 207-624-3409 at any time to discuss your proposed project.

Ongoing Application Process

  • MaineDOT will schedule site visits as needed after letters of intent have been filed. Below are a few specifics regarding the application process.

Project Eligibility

  • The project proposal must meet three basic criteria:
    • Project must improve access to the water for the public, including but not limited to commercial and recreational fishermen and other resource-and tourism-related industries.
    • Proposed project must be on current or proposed public access facilities. If the project is not on public property, the public must have easement rights for at least 100 years.
    • The project and proposed local match must have local elected official approval before being considered eligible for inclusion in future budgets

For more information, please call Chris Mayo at 207-624-3409.

Additional Information

For a list of current and future SHIP and BIG projects, please refer to the spreadsheet link below.