Title 46
Waters and Navigation

Chapter 6
Obstructions to Navigation

R.I. Gen. Laws § 46-6-8.1

§ 46-6-8.1. Definitions.

As used in this chapter:

(1) “Abandoned vessel” means a vessel that has been left, moored, or anchored in the same area without the express consent, or contrary to the rules of, the owner, manager, or lessee of the submerged lands or waters below or on which the vessel is located for more than forty-five (45) consecutive days or for more than a total of ninety (90) days in any three hundred sixty-five (365) day period, and the vessel’s owner is: (i) Not known or cannot be located; or (ii) Known and located but is unwilling to take control of the vessel. Examples of abandoned vessels shall, include, but not be limited to, the following:

(A) Any vessel that is left unattended or has remained illegally on public property, including docks, boat launching ramps, or moorings for more than forty-five (45) days.

(B) Any vessel that has been found adrift or unattended in or upon the waters or submerged lands of the state of Rhode Island, and is found in a condition of disrepair as to constitute a hazard or obstruction to the use of the waters and submerged lands of the state or presents a potential health or environmental hazard.

(2) “Authorized public entity” means the department of environmental management or any municipality with jurisdiction or management authority over the harbor areas where an abandoned or derelict vessel or other obstruction is located.

(3) “Department” means the department of environmental management.

(4) “Derelict vessel” means a vessel whose owner is known and can be located, and who is able to exert control of a vessel that:

(i) Has been moored, anchored, or otherwise left in the waters or submerged lands of the state or on public property contrary to the rules adopted by an authorized public entity;

(ii) Is sunk or in danger of sinking;

(iii) Is obstructing a waterway; and/or

(iv) Is endangering life or property.

(5) “Director” means the director of the department of environmental management.

(6) “Mean high water” means a line of contour representing the eighteen and six-tenths (18.6) year average as determined by the metonic cycle and/or its equivalent as evidenced by the records, tidal datum, and methodology of the United States Coastal Geodetic Survey within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

(7) “Obstruction” means any unlawful or unauthorized structure or thing that is deposited or suffered to be or remain in the tidal waters or upon the tidal lands of the state, and in the judgment of the director, is, or is liable to cause or become an obstruction to the safe and convenient use of the waters and submerged lands of the state for navigation and other lawful purposes.

(8) “Owner” means a person, other than a lienholder, having a property interest in or title to a vessel or other obstruction. The term includes a person entitled to use or have possession of a vessel or other obstruction subject to an interest in another person, reserved, or created by agreement and securing payment or performance of an obligation, but it does not include a lessee under a lease not intended as security.

(9) “Tidal lands” means those lands that are below the mean high water.

(10) “Tidal waters” means all waters seaward of mean high water.

(11) “Vessel” means every description of watercraft, other than a seaplane on the water, used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water.

(12) “Waters and submerged lands of the state” means all tidal waters and tidal lands within the territorial limits of the state, all inland waters of the state, and all publicly owned submerged lands lying beneath the inland waters of the state.

History of Section.
P.L. 2012, ch. 370, § 1; P.L. 2012, ch. 389, § 1.