[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Council of the Town of Westerly 8-13-1991 by Ch. No. 983 as §§ 4-21 through 4-54 of the 1991 Code (as amended through Ch. No. 1403). Amendments noted where applicable.]
Beaches — See Ch. 81.
The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this chapter, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
- HARBOR MASTER
- For the purposes of enforcing any provision of this chapter including the issuance of summonses for violation of any provision herein, the Chief of Police as harbor master and any of his/her designees including assistant harbor masters, constables, police reserves and police officers.
- HEADWAY SPEED
- The slowest speed at which a personal watercraft can be operated and maintain steerageway.
- Any vessel propelled in whole or in part by mechanical means, either inboard or outboard and using a motor powered by gasoline, diesel fuel, naphtha, kerosene, steam or fuel oil.
- A person who operates or who has charge of the navigation or use of a watercraft.
- PERSONAL WATERCRAFT
- A vessel which uses an inboard motor powering a water jet pump as its primary source of motive power and which is designed to be operated by a person sitting, standing, or kneeling on the vessel, rather than the conventional method of sitting or standing inside the vessel.
- All lakes, rivers, steams, ponds or other bodies of water located within or partly within the boundaries of the Town.
No motorboat or other watercraft, while being operated upon waters within the Town, shall pass closer than a reasonable distance, with regard to the safety of bathers, to a public bathing area on the shores of the waters of the Town.
No motorboat or other watercraft shall be operated in a reckless or negligent fashion upon the waters within the Town either as to speed or conduct of operations.
Motorboat or other watercraft operators shall use due and reasonable care in passing close to or near other vessels and shall slow to a reasonable and safe speed when passing rowboats, canoes, sailboats or other vessels not propelled by mechanical means.
No person shall operate an outboard motorboat in an outboard motorboat race in the waters within the Town unless the outboard motorboat race is approved by the Town Council.
Motorboat operators shall obey lawful directions given to them by the harbor master or by any police officer or constable of the Town in enforcement of the provisions of this chapter and shall immediately upon being instructed by any police officer, constable or harbor master of the Town, comply with such lawful directions.
No motorboat having a rated horsepower exceeding five shall be operated or used on that certain body of water located in said Town known either as Chapman’s Pond or Burden’s Pond.
The harbor master shall have full power and authority to prescribe regulations and give directions regarding the anchorage, station, management and control of all vessels within the harbor of Little Narragansett Bay.
Any person in charge of any vessel who shall neglect or refuse to obey the directions of the harbor master in matters within his authority to direct, and every person who shall resist or oppose the harbor master in the execution of his duty, or shall violate any of the provisions of this chapter shall be punished as provided in Chapter 1, Article II, General Penalty.
Every vessel entering the harbor shall be anchored by the person in command thereof according to the direction of the harbor master.
All vessels not anchored according to the direction of the harbor master shall be forthwith moved by the crew under his direction, and if any such vessel has not sufficient crew to move the same, such vessel shall be moved by the harbor master, and the expense thereof shall be paid by the owner or master of such vessel, and may be recovered by the harbor master of such owner or master, by an action in the name of the Town before any court of competent jurisdiction.
No warp or line shall be passed across the channel so as to obstruct vessels passing along the same.
Vessels shall not in any case be placed alongside of any wharf in said harbor more than three deep without permission of the harbor master.
The owner or person in charge shall, as soon as may be after such vessel is made fast to any wharf or other vessel, cause the lower yards to be cock-billed and the top sail yards to be braced fore and aft, and the jibboom of any vessel shall be rigged in whenever so directed by the harbor master.
The harbor master may remove from time to time any vessel not employed in receiving or discharging cargo so as to make room for others requiring to be accommodated, and shall be the sole judge of the fact of any vessel being fairly and legitimately engaged in receiving or discharging of cargo. He may also determine the extent, time and manner of accommodation respecting the station of vessels which should be extended by the owners or masters thereof to each other and to require such accommodations to be extended.
Every vessel drawing more than seven feet of water and approaching the harbor at any other time than at high tide shall anchor outside the channel until the tide shall warrant a free passage.
[Amended 9-29-2008 by Ch. No. 1655]
No vessel of any description shall be anchored, moored or beached in that area of Little Narragansett Bay adjacent to the public anchorage known as the "Kitchen" and referred to as the “Lagoon” of Napatree Point, the opening to which is defined by the coordinates 41° 18’ 38” N. latitude, 71° 52’ 40” W. longitude and 41° 18’ 35” N. latitude, 71° 52’ 40” W. longitude. Only vessels powered by oar or paddle shall be permitted to navigate in said waters and shall be permitted to embark and disembark passengers for a period of time not exceeding five minutes.
Operators of powered craft shall not operate their vessels, ships, boats, jet skis, personal watercraft or the like at a speed greater than five miles per hour or at no wake, whichever is slower, from the entrance to the Weekapaug Breachway at its intersection with the Weekapaug Bridge and continuing down the breachway past its intersection with Winnapaug Pond until a line from the southwestern-most point of Lot #5 of Assessor’s Plat #142 in a line bisecting Winnapaug Pond due south until it meets Lot #15 of Assessor’s Plat #156.
A person may not operate a personal watercraft at any time between the hours from 1/2 hour after sunset to 1/2 hour before sunrise.
A personal watercraft must at all times be operated in a reasonable and prudent manner. Maneuvers which unreasonably or unnecessarily endanger life, limb or property, including but not limited to weaving through congested vessel traffic or jumping the wake of another vessel unreasonably, shall constitute reckless operation of a vessel and are prohibited.
No person under the age of 16 shall operate a personal watercraft on the waters of the Town unless an adult accompanies him or her or unless he or she has passed a Department of Environmental Management or United States Coast Guard approved safety course.
It is unlawful for the owner of any personal watercraft or any person having charge over or control of a personal watercraft to authorize or knowingly permit the same to be operated by a person under 16 years of age in violation of this section unless the provisions of Subsection C are met.
A person may not operate a personal watercraft within 200 feet of swimmers, divers, shore, or moored vessels, except at headway speed.
Personal watercraft, when launched from shore or returning to shore must proceed directly to the area where operation is allowed in a direction and course as perpendicular to the shore as possible and at a speed not in excess of headway speed.
No person shall operate a personal watercraft unless he or she and any passenger is wearing a personal flotation device which is approved by the United States Coast Guard.
No person shall operate any personal watercraft in a reckless manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of another.
No person shall operate any personal watercraft unless it is numbered in accordance with RIGL 46-22-4.
A person operating a personal watercraft equipped by the manufacturer with a lanyard-type engine cutoff switch must attach such lanyard to his or her person, clothing, or personal flotation device as appropriate for the specific vessel.
No personal watercraft shall be operated or used on that certain body of water located in the Town of Westerly known as Quonochontaug Pond.
Boat operators shall obey lawful directions given to them by the harbor master, his assistants or by any police officer employed by the Westerly Police Department in enforcement of the provisions of this chapter, as well as all boating laws as are covered under the provisions of the Federal Safe Boating Act of 1971 and such amendments as shall have been made thereto. Such boat operators immediately upon being instructed by the harbor master or a police officer employed by the Westerly Police Department, by voice or such sound device as may be used, shall heave to, to allow boarding by such officer and shall comply with the lawful direction of such officer. Checking of all required safety equipment, as well as proper registrations of vessels under power, shall be considered a lawful direction of said officers. Any person in violation of this section shall be subject to the fine identified in the violation schedule contained within § 86-34 of this chapter.
No person shall operate a vessel on any waters of this Town for towing a person or persons on water skis, or a surfboard, or similar device unless there is in the vessel a person at least 12 years of age, in addition to the operator, in a position to observe the progress of the person or persons being towed. There shall be aboard the vessel, in addition to those required for the persons aboard the vessel, at least one life preserver, life belt, or ring buoy for the person or persons being towed.
No person shall operate a vessel on any waters of the Town towing a person or persons on water skis, a surfboard, or similar device, nor shall any person engage in water skiing, surfboarding, or similar activity at any time between the hours from one hour after sunset to one hour before sunrise.
No person shall operate or manipulate any vessel, tow rope, or other device by which the direction or location of water skis, a surfboard, or similar device may be affected or controlled in such a way as to cause the water skis, surfboard, or similar device, or any person thereon to collide with or strike against any object or person.
The owners or operators of all vessels operated, moored or anchored within the waters under the jurisdiction of the harbor master shall not permit acts contrary to the public health or sanitary regulations, including such laws, ordinances, rules and regulations as shall be promulgated by the federal, state or local body in authority.
No rubbish, cans, debris, garbage, raw sewage, dead fish or other offal shall be discharged upon or into the waters under the jurisdiction of the harbor master.
No petroleum products shall be dumped or pumped onto or into the waters of the Town.
[Amended 4-12-2004 by Ch. No. 1479]
No person shall swim in the breachway of the Winnapaug Pond, said area defined as being the southernmost extension of said such breachway into the sea and thence running north to its intersection with the Weekapaug Bridge; thereafter, running further north inland from said bridge to a point identified by the conclusion of the breachway wall to the west and the beginning of private homes to the east or in the breachway of Quonochontaug Pond, or in any other breachway within the jurisdiction of the Town.
No operator or vessel owner shall cause or allow excessive noise in the operation of a vessel, nor shall such owner or operator allow excessive noise aboard such vessel when anchored or moored. Unmuffled sound from engines, outboards or other machinery is not permitted, except by permission of the harbor master.
The maximum period which a boat may tie up to the Town floats or docks shall be 15 minutes unless permission for additional time is obtained from the harbor master.
No repairs, other than emergency repairs of a minor nature, are permitted at or on Town floats or docks.
No fishing gear, equipment or any other matter shall be allowed to remain on the Town floats or docks except during the actual operation of loading or unloading.
No fish, bait or other marine life may be kept, cleaned or disposed of on the Town floats or docks.
There will be no soliciting from Town floats, docks or adjacent waterfront property without permission of the harbor master.
All persons injuring or damaging a Town float or dock, or all persons liable therefor, shall within 30 days reimburse the Town in an amount equal to the cost of repairing such damage as determined by the harbor master and Town Manager.
No warps, lines or fishing gear shall be in or passed across any channel or dock so as to obstruct vessels passing along the same.
Stakes shall not be driven to be used for mooring any vessel or boat, or for tying up any fish, lobster or bait can unless in the judgment of the harbor master their use would not be an obstruction.
Mooring shall not be located so that vessels or boats when lying to the same shall block any channel or approach to any channel, or obstruct the approach to piers, docks or other moorings in the vicinity.
No person shall block, barricade or in any way impede the public use of or access to designated public right-of-way to the water as defined by the RI CRMC or the Town of Westerly.
No person shall store a vessel, vehicle or structure on a designated public right-of-way to the water as defined by the CRMC or the Town of Westerly.
All people who use motor boats or sailboats as residences shall contact the harbor master within 36 hours of mooring to ensure compliance with harbor regulations regarding pollution as outlined in this chapter. The owners or operators of all vessels operated, moored, or anchored within the waters and the jurisdiction of the harbor master shall not permit acts contrary to the public health or sanitary regulations including such laws, ordinances, rules, and regulations as shall be promulgated by federal, state or local authority.
Every vessel entering the water and harbor areas of the Town of Westerly shall be equipped as required by Title 46-22 (Regulation of Boats) of the General Laws of Rhode Island, as amended, and all similar federal laws, rules and regulations. Consistent with Title 46-22 (Regulation of Boats) of the General Laws of Rhode Island, as amended, the harbor master shall have the authority to enforce all provisions of Title 46-22.
No person shall operate any motorboat or vessel or personal watercraft in Winnapaug Pond west of the speed zone identified in § 86-18 herein in excess of 30 miles per hour at any period during the hours from sunrise to sunset. Any individual who violates this section shall be subject to a fines as follows:
For speeds within excess of 10 miles of the limit: $25.
For speeds greater than 10 miles over the limit and up to 15 miles over the limit: $50.
For speeds greater than 15 miles over the limit and up to 20 miles over the limit: $75.
For speeds greater than 20 miles over the limit and up to 25 miles over the limit: $100.
For any violation exceeding 25 miles per hour over the limit: $5 per mile.
Notwithstanding any other provision in this chapter, the harbor master or any officer is authorized to issue a uniform summons for the various offenses in accordance with the following violation schedule and uniform summons. In addition to the following violation schedule, a uniform summons may be issued for any violation of state statute or municipal ordinance in accordance with the penalties ascribed to those violations:
Editor’s Note: A copy of the uniform summons is on file in the Clerk’s office.