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You are looking at a preview of what’s in the Rhode Island Boat Ed Course. Feel free to look around, but you’ll need to register to begin progress toward getting your Rhode Island Certificate of Boating Safety Education.

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Rhode Island law provides regulations that apply to all vessel operators boating on Rhode Island waters.

PWC riding too close to a boat

The failure to exercise the care necessary to prevent the endangerment of life, limb, or property of any other person is illegal.

It is illegal to operate a vessel within any marked restricted areas such as swimming areas.

No one may operate a vessel in any harbor, inlet, pond, or any other confined body of water in Rhode Island at a speed in excess of:

  • 45 miles per hour from sunrise to sunset and...
  • 25 miles per hour from sunset to sunrise or during other periods of restricted visibility such as fog.

It is illegal to exceed any posted speed limits. For example, harbors may be marked as “maximum speed 5 miles per hour—no wake” zones.

It is illegal to enter any posted exclusionary zones.

You may not dock or secure your vessel to a pier, wharf, or any other shore structure without the consent of the owner of the structure except in the case of an emergency.

As an owner of a vessel, you are responsible for any damage or injury caused by the negligent operation of your vessel if it is being operated with your express or implied consent. If the vessel is being operated by an immediate family member, it is presumed that you have given consent.

Some waterways in Rhode Island may have special regulations such as horsepower restrictions, speed limits, or limits on when certain watercraft may be used. Be sure to check for special restrictions on a waterway before going boating.