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Frequently asked questions of the Harbor Division

1. How do I get a mooring in North Kingstown?
      Wickford Harbor and Allen Harbor have been full for many years. Both maintain Waiting Lists. Mooring space in other town waters is also extremely tight and is further limited by requirements of deeded access, parking and dinghy storage. Some commercial rentals may be available. Do NOT purchase a boat assuming that you will be able to get a mooring.  You may request a mooring application by email harbormaster@northkingstown.org.

2. How do I get on the Waiting List for a town mooring or space at the town wharf?  
 Email the harbormaster  harbormaster@northkingstown.org and ask for Wait List application. There is a $15 initial application fee. Persons on the Waiting List must reapply every May to remain on the list ($10 yearly fee to remain on the list).

3. Does the Town maintain any transient moorings?    
Yes. We currently have four moorings located just inside the southern breakwater. The mooring balls are bright orange and are clearly marked. They are on a first-come first-served basis and are intended for the use of visitors who do not have a local mooring or slip. The fee is $35 per night, with a three day maximum. Fees will be collected by the Harbor Division. Maximum vessel length is 40’. Be sure to check you swing room to be sure your vessel will not interfere with adjacent vessels.

4. What Mooring Service Providers are authorized by the Harbor Division?
Currently, there are five: Aquidneck Mooring , Pleasant Street Wharf, Rhode Island Mooring Services, Shoreline Diving Services and  The Mooring Man. All mooring installations and inspections must be done by a Mooring Service Provider approved by the Harbor Division. Self installations and inspections are not allowed.

5. Can I rent my mooring?
 No. Mooring rentals have not been allowed for many years.

6. I don't have a boat anymore - can I let my friend use my mooring?   
  No. Mooring permits are issued for the exclusive, personal use of the permittee, for a boat registered in his/her name. If you do not own a boat, you cannot renew your mooring. We have a long waiting list.

7. Why can't I let my friend use my mooring if I'm not using it?
      The demand for moorings far outstrips the available supply. The Harbor Management Plan requires that you have a boat registered in your name AND that you use the mooring for that boat. If you no longer have a boat or a need for a mooring, the space will pass to the next person on the waiting list. This is the fair way to manage public space. Why should you keep a mooring that you don't use when other families are desperate for a space?

8. How often does my mooring need to be inspected?
All moorings must have a full inspection every three years. This means lifting the actual anchor for visual examination. This must be done by an authorized Mooring Service Provider, with documentation provided to the Harbormaster. Self inspections are not allowed.

9. What size mooring do I need for my boat?
 The requirements for mooring tackle are specified in the harbor ordinances. Many have observed that the requirements are conservative - often people opt to increase their tackle.

10. I just bought a new boat and don't have a place to keep it - what do you suggest?   
  NEVER buy a boat without knowing where you will be keeping it. We get calls all year with this question. Mooring fields and marinas throughout the State are often full.

      11. I am buying a larger boat - Can I keep it on my old mooring?
It is impossible to know whether a larger boat will fit until you try it. If your new boat interferes with other boats around it - It doesn't fit! While the Harbor Division will make every effort to accommodate reasonable requests, we cannot guarantee a place for your larger boat. We will not allow a larger boat to impair the safety or comfort of surrounding moorings. Do NOT buy a bigger boat unless you are certain it will fit!

12. I used to have a 35' boat on my mooring. For several years now I have had a 20' boat. Can I go back to a   35' boat?   
  Probably not. Mooring fields are constantly changing. Space that is not used generally gets absorbed by the mix of boats around it. We do not reserve space that is not being used.

13. I just bought a house that comes with a "deeded" mooring. What do I do?
      There is no such thing as a "deeded" mooring. Moorings are located in Federal navigable water which is part of the Public Trust. Mooring space cannot be owned, sold, transferred or otherwise controlled by private parties.

14. If my boat breaks down, will the Harbormaster  tow me in?
      The Harbor Division is not a towing service. If called, we will respond as good Samaritans and will attempt to help you. If the situation is stable, we will contact a commercial towing service or friend for you. If circumstances require emergency intervention we will respond to the best of our abilities, keeping in mind the limitations of our equipment, operators, weather, and sea conditions.

15. Can I install my mooring myself?
No.  Moorings must be installed by an authorized Mooring Service Provider. Why? Proper mooring installation requires heavy equipment and professional experience.  It has taken many years to upgrade the condition of all town moorings - this is for the benefit of everyone. Do-it -yourself moorings can be a hazard to everyone.

16. When does my child need to wear his/her life jacket?
      Rhode Island law requires all children aged 12 and under to wear a life jacket while on a vessel under 26'.

17. Do I need a certificate to operate a motorboat?
      All persons born after January 1, 1986, must receive a safe boating certificate from DEM, if they wish to operate a motor boat with more than 10 horsepower. Courses are available from several sources.

18. Do I need a license to operate a Personal Watercraft?
      Yes. All persons regardless of age must complete a safe boating course and have their certificate with them at all times, while operating a PWC.

19. What happens if I don't use my mooring in accordance with the Harbor Management Plan?  
     It is the policy of the Harbor Division to notify permittees in writing if their usage contradicts the regulations. They will be given every opportunity to correct the situation. If, in the end, the permittee is unwilling or unable to comply, the mooring permit will not be renewed the following year.