Boat Moorings in Newport County: What You Need to Know When Buying or Selling a Coastal Home


Newport County, Rhode Island, with its picturesque coastline and vibrant marine culture, attracts many boat enthusiasts and coastal property buyers. If you’re considering purchasing or selling a home in Newport, Portsmouth, Middletown, Jamestown, Tiverton, or Little Compton and are interested in getting a mooring for your boat, there are several essential things you should know. In this blog post, we’ll cover the key aspects of obtaining and maintaining a mooring in Newport County.

Mooring Regulations

The number of moorings you can have varies depending on the town and your property’s rights. In Portsmouth, RI, for example, you can have up to two moorings per lot, one for yourself and one for guests, if you have riparian rights. (Guest moorings cannot be rented or leased, or be used by the same vessel for more than 14 days in a calendar month.) Visit Portsmouth’s website for more details about mooring regulations in Portsmouth, RI. To find out the specific criteria for obtaining a mooring, it is best to contact the town’s Harbormaster’s Office (information below). 

What are Riparian Rights?

The rights of a landowner to use and access water that flows through or beside the property is called riparian rights. If you have riparian rights, it means you own the land next to the water, and you have the right to use that water for certain reasonable purposes. Regulations may vary between Newport, Middletown, Portsmouth, Jamestown, Tiverton, and Little Compton.


How to Get a Mooring

To get a mooring, you’ll need to visit the harbormaster’s office or website to apply for a permit. Once approved, the harbormaster will provide you with the location and mooring ball, but you’ll need to arrange for the anchor and chain separately. To make the process easier, there are authorized vendors who can supply and install the necessary equipment. More on that below.


Mooring Costs and Transfer

Obtaining a mooring permit may involve an application fee, and having the mooring installed can cost anywhere between $1500 and $2500. The cost may vary depending on your location and the vendor you choose.


Remember that when selling your coastal property, the mooring rights do not transfer automatically. You will need to contact the harbormaster to arrange for a transfer permit. On the buyer’s side, they must inform the harbormaster to secure their mooring rights after transferring the property.


Mooring Location and Restrictions

Not all areas along the Aquidneck Island coast allow for moorings. The suitability of a location depends on factors such as water depth and flows. In Portsmouth, RI, for example, while you can generally have a mooring anywhere from Island Park to Sandy Point, the availability may be limited south of Sandy Point. Certain private areas, like Potters Cove on Prudence Island, are off-limits for mooring installations.


Riparian lots have a right to moorings, but they cannot be more than 500 feet offshore. Additionally, some areas have designated mooring fields, which may have specific regulations. It’s also important to keep in mind that owning property on the water doesn’t necessarily guarantee your mooring will be directly in front of your property. If shoreline or other considerations prevent the placement of a mooring immediately adjacent to your waterfront property, the mooring will be placed in the nearest mooring field with priority consideration being given to the proximity of your home.


Mooring Equipment and Installation

Each town may have different rules regarding the type of mooring ball allowed. It’s essential to check with the harbormaster for guidelines.

As for installation, the vendor you choose will typically handle the anchor and chain installation. These vendors are experienced and equipped to ensure a safe and reliable mooring system.

Portsmouth, RI Mooring Vendor List

  • Aquidneck Mooring Company: (401) 851-1212
  • J&K Mooring Service: (401) 353-0864
  • New England Diving Service: (401) 855-6567
  • King Marine: (401) 247-5464
  • Rhode Island Mooring Service: (401) 295-2502
  • Shaw’s Water Taxi: (401) 683-2021
  • Standish Boat Yard, Tiverton: (401) 624-4075


If you’re considering purchasing or selling a home in Newport, Portsmouth, Middletown, Jamestown, Tiverton, or Little Compton and are interested in getting a mooring for your boat, I’d be glad to offer my experience and insights. You can reach me, Emily Chappell at (401) 862.3803 or Emily@HoganRI.com.


About Hogan Associates

Hogan Associates is an independent Rhode Island brokerage founded by Leslie Hogan and Matt Hadfield, two of Rhode Island’s most experienced agents, each with a strong track record of success in the Greater Newport real estate market. Hogan Associates’ 36 sales agents work on behalf of buyers and sellers of fine properties in the coastal communities of southern RI. The firm has offices in Newport and Middletown and is a member of Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate, an elite broker network with more than 130,000 sales professionals located in approximately 880 offices in 70 countries and territories. In 2020 & 2021 & 2022 Hogan Associates received Newport Life Magazine’s Best of Newport County award. For more information, visit HoganRI.com.


About Christie’s International Real Estate

Christie’s International Real Estate has successfully marketed high-value real estate around the world for more than 30 years. Through its invitation-only Affiliate network spanning 48 countries and territories, Christie’s International Real Estate offers incomparable services to a global clientele at the luxury end of the residential property market. The company and its affiliated brokerages have recorded approximately US$500 billion of real estate transactions over the last five years. For additional information, please visit christiesrealestate.com.