Newport, Rhode Island, situated on Aquidneck Island within Narragansett Bay, is famed for its global reputation in sailing and yachting, its charming harbor, and the International Boat Show. Additionally, Newport is a major center for commercial boating., housing several marinas, shipyards, and various enterprises that bolster the industry.

At GetMyBoat, we require that all operators follow legal requirements and adhere to local guidelines. This includes acquiring necessary registrations, permits, and adhering to specific vessel and captain prerequisites, utilizing designated docks and approved boating zones for commercial activities, and any other directives stipulated by local laws and facility regulations. To support you, we've compiled crucial information for boating in Newport, RI.

Boating Safety Certificate:

Rhode Island legislation mandates that individuals born after January 1, 1986, who operate a motorized vessel exceeding 10 horsepower and anyone using a personal watercraft must complete a safety course and possess a boater safety certificate.

USCG License:

Each captain must possess a valid U.S. Coast Guard license. It is mandatory to present a copy of this license to the Commission for verification. Boats carrying six or fewer passengers require a 6-pack license, while those accommodating more than six passengers need a Master's Captain's license. The captain is accountable for ensuring the safety of the charter boat and all individuals aboard. Comprehensive guidance on acquiring this license is available at Mariners Learning System - USCG.

Licensing for Commercial Vessels:

Rhode Island requires commercial boat operators to obtain the necessary permits for legal operation. The specific permits required depend on the type of activity being conducted.

  • Application for Commercial Vessel Declaration/Boat Plate: Rhode Island mandates a Commercial Vessel Declaration for all boats utilized for commercial activities. Prior to commercial use, this declaration needs to be submitted to the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM). For inquiries, please contact the Department of Licensing at (401) 222-6647.
  • License for Commercial Marine Fisheries: Those involved in commercial fishing of various marine species in Rhode Island waters must hold a Commercial Marine Fisheries License. Rhode Island offers different types of licenses tailored to the particular species and fishing equipment intended for use.
  • Charter Boat Permit: Securing a charter boat license involves first obtaining a US Coast Guard Operator Uninspected Passenger Vessel (OUPV) license. This specific license authorizes the operation of a vessel capable of carrying up to six passengers for hire. Following the acquisition of the OUPV license, applicants can apply for a Rhode Island Charter Boat License. The initiation of the application process necessitates the submission of specific documents to the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM).
  • Party Boat License: Any vessel used for transporting passengers for hire, particularly for fishing or other recreational activities, requires a Party Boat License. This license must be obtained through the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM).

Commercial vessel operators must maintain a logbook of all fishing and commercial activities. Logbooks must be submitted to the DEM at the end of each year. It's advisable to reach out to both the RIDEM and the City of Newport to identify the most suitable permit for your boating requirements.


To uphold passenger safety, protect your business interests, and adhere to legal requirements when running a boat rental service, it's crucial to obtain the right insurance coverage. For professional advice on the essential insurance options, feel free to reach out to our trusted partner, BCI.

Passenger Pick Up/ Drop Off:

Several places allow boat drop-offs and pickups for rentals, and here are a couple with designated passenger zones. Before finalizing your plans, be sure to verify the pickup and drop-off policies with the marina or dock.

  • City of Newport - Martime Center, public boating facility: This facility is located at 6 Christies Landing, Newport,RI 02840
  • Galilee Boat Launch: This facility is located at 138-198 Great Island Rd, Narragansett, RI 02882

Vessel Registration and Titling:

In Rhode Island, the legal use of a motorized boat requires having a Certificate of Number (registration card) and valid decals. All motor-operated boats and any watercraft longer than 12 feet must be registered, irrespective of their power source. Moreover, even non-motorized kayaks and canoes longer than 14 feet need to be titled. The Certificate of Number must be stored on the boat and made available for inspection by law enforcement whenever the vessel is being used.

Additional Rules and Requirements:

  • Every boat must carry specific safety gear: Personal flotation devices (PFDs), Fire extinguisher, Visual distress signals, Whistle or horn.
  • The speed limit for commercial boats within Newport waters is restricted to 5 miles per hour.
  • Proper disposal of waste is mandatory for all commercial vessels. Dumping waste, including sewage, garbage, and oil, into Newport waters is strictly forbidden.
  • Certain areas within Rhode Island waters are off-limits to commercial fishing.
  • A yearly USCG inspection for commercial vessels is required.

For more information on boating in Newport RI please contact the DEM at 401-222-4700.