The Handbook of Rhode Island: Boating Laws and Responsibilities

The Handbook of Rhode Island: Boating Laws and Responsibilities


The Handbook of Rhode Island: Boating Laws and Responsibilities is the official boating handbook developed for the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. The handbook introduces you to Rhode Island laws governing boating and provides general information about safe vessel operation on Rhode Island waterways.

Nestled among historic villages and lighthouses, Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay offers boaters a chance to relax while sailing, fishing, or seal watching, as well as a chance for adventure that could include kayaking and waterskiing.

Use this handbook to familiarize yourself with steps to make all your boating outings safe and enjoyable. Remember, safety on Maine waterways is the responsibility of all boaters. 

Topics include:

  • Vessel Basics
  • Navigation Rules
  • Nighttime Navigation
  • Emergencies
  • Personal Watercraft (PWCs)
  • Rhode Island Boating Laws and Regulations
  • Required Equipment
  • Skiing
  • And much more…

Boater Education

You may have heard that you need a boating license to operate your boat, but what you really need is a boaters safety course. Whether or not your state requires education, it can reduce boating accidents and injuries on the water. Boaters can keep themselves and their passengers safe by learning about responsible boat operation, etiquette, and the rules of the waterways.

Persons born on or after January 1, 1986, who operate any vessel powered by a motor of more than 10 horsepower must complete a Rhode Island-approved boat education course.