General anchorages are in the outer and inner harbor and, except in emergencies, vessels must anchor in these areas. Special anchorages are in Brenton Cove and in the inner harbor east and northeast of Goat Island. Vessels of more than 18-foot draft anchor in the outer harbor in depths of 36 to 100 feet with good holding ground.
The best anchorage is in Brenton Cove, the bight eastward of Fort Adams, which is used frequently by yachts. When entering, the western shore should be given a berth of 200 yards. The harbormaster requests that transient craft anchor only in the northern part of the Brenton Cove anchorage and in the anchorage northeast of Goat Island.
Newport is a customs port of entry. There is a two-step process for foreign arrivals. Such arrivals should call the Customs Area Security Center (CASC) 207-532-2131 x255 to register foreign passengers/crew. CASC then notifies Customs and Border Protection that everything is in order, and Customs will send someone to the Vessel. The Customs office is located at 320 Thames Street (upstairs from Post Office), Newport, 401-847-2744.
The public dinghy docks are listed below from the north end of the Harbor to the South.
- Elm Street Pier
- The north side of the shipyard breakwater
- Inn on Long Wharf
- Newport Yacht Club
- Bowens Wharf
- Ann Street Pier
- West Extension Street
- King Park
- Sail Newport
- Ft. Adams
- The Ann Street Pier located between 41 North (old Christies Marina) and Newport Onshore Marina is currently run by the Harbor Division. It has limited space for transient short term tie up of vessels between 26 and 40 feet in length. Mariners may hail the Ann Street Pier Dock master on VHF. Channel 09 for availability.
Timothy J. Mills
Channel 16 & 14
U.S. Coast Guard
Channel 16 & 22A
Use these NOAA Charts for Navigation:
NOAA 13223: Narragansett Bay including Newport Harbor
NOAA 13221: Narragansett Bay RI – MA Approach
NOAA 13218: Martha’s Vineyard to Block Island
NOAA 5161 Plotting Sheet Newport to Bermuda (Overview)
The approach and passages through the harbor are well marked by navigational aids, and you’ll soon observe it’s divided by Goat Island, a major pleasure boating center. To the island’s west is the outer harbor, extending from north of The Dumplings to south of Gould Island. The inner harbor is to the east of Goat Island and extends along the western front of Newport. A marina, hotel, recreational and service facilities, and marine supplies are available on Goat Island.
Click on image to view harbor map/chart.
The following objects are prominent when approaching Newport Harbor either from the southward or northward: a hotel on Goat Island; a white building of the yacht club near Ida Lewis Rock in the southerly part of the harbor; church spires in the town; and the buildings of the Naval Education and Training Center and Naval War College on Coasters Harbor Island in the north part of the harbor. To the westward on Conanicut Island are several large hotels and a standpipe.
Numerous navigational aids mark the passages through the harbor. From the south, the entrance to the outer harbor is unobstructed.
The entrance from northward, passing either side of Gould Island, is clear, but the passage eastward of Rose Island is partly obstructed by the rocks and ledges between Rose and Coasters Harbor Islands.
The inner harbor has two entrances north and south of Goat Island. A fixed highway bridge with a 40-foot span and a clearance of 14 feet connects the Newport mainland to the northern part of Goat Island. This bridge limits the size of vessels that can enter the inner harbor from the northern approach.
Shoals extend nearly 300 yards from the southern shore of the inner harbor to Ida Lewis Rock and Little Ida Lewis Rock; the latter is marked by a daybeacon. Goat Island is marked by a light at its northern end and a lighted bell buoy at its southern end. Buoys mark the shoals along the southeasterly and southwesterly sides of the island.
Rose Island, privately owned, is surrounded by a shoal with little water over it. The shoal extends about 0.4 mile northeastward of the island where it rises abruptly from deep water. A rocky area extends southward from Rose Island and is marked by a buoy. A private light marks the southwest point of the island. Mitchell Rock, with a depth of 14 feet and marked by a gong buoy, is about 0.1 mile southeast of the dock on the southeast side of the island. Citing Rock, 2 feet high, is 350 yards east of the north end of the island and on the edge of the shoal surrounding Rose Island.
Tracey Ledge, covered 10 feet, is about 0.3 mile eastward of Rose Island and marked by a buoy. Gull Rocks are about midway between Rose Island and Coasters Harbor Island. Buoys mark the ends of the shoals and rocks that extend northward and southward of the rocks. There is deep water between Gull Rocks, Rose Island, and Coasters Harbor Island. A rock, covered 17 feet and marked by a buoy, is about 0.3 mile north-northwestward of Gull Rocks. Off the northern and southern sides of Coasters Harbor Island are numerous rocks and ledges. A private light marks an obstruction in the channel south of the island. St. Patrick Rock, covered 5 feet, is about 0.3 mile southeastward of the island. The island has numerous buildings.
Two highway bridges connecting the island to Newport have 31-foot fixed spans with clearances of 3 feet. Overhead power cables of unknown clearance cross the harbor 0.1 mile north of the northern bridge. The western portion of the outer harbor is generally free of dangers northward of The Dumplings.
In the entrance off Bull Point the flood current is often irregular. There may be a long period of slack water preceding the flood, or a double flood. The flood reaches a strength of about 1.2 knots; the ebb is regular and averages 1.5 knots. Northward of Bull Point, tidal current velocities seldom exceed 1 knot. In the inner harbor they are usually less than 0.5 knot.
The mean range of tide is 3.5 feet. (See Tide Charts for predictions.)