No Sales Tax


Every boater has a budget—whether it’s in the hundreds, or thousands, or millions. Regardless of that figure, we all want to stretch our dollars as far as they will go. One way to do that is to look at the tax ramifications of your boating purchases. You can easily do that during your visit to the Providence Boat Show.


Rhode Island has a no-sales-tax policy on boats and boating services. The policy was put into effect in 1993, thanks to the efforts of the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association (RIMTA), the organization that owns and manages the Providence show. There is also no property tax on boats in Rhode Island. Boating is important to the economic life of the state, and policy makers have long recognized the benefits of fostering the health of Rhode Island’s marine trades while also attracting more boaters to its shores.

As you do your boat shopping at the show, ask the dealers you speak with if the no-sales-tax policy can apply to your situation. The rule can apply to boats that are purchased in Rhode Island and registered in the state.


The no-sales-tax policy also applies to boating services. That means repairs, refits, storage, dockage and mooring fees. You won’t pay sales tax on these services—except for the parts and products used in any work you have done to your boat.

Use the Providence Boat Show as a good way to research marinas as a potential for winter storage and refit and repair work. You’ll meet the owners and managers of many excellent outfits located throughout the state. Don’t overlook the fact that Rhode Island has a strong concentration of marine-trades talent within its borders.

“When you look at the marine industry on a global scale, there are few places on Earth that have such a dense concentration of high-quality, diverse marine companies,” said Wendy Mackie,CEO of RIMTA.“Just look at the East Bay alone; within a 15-mile radius you have all the technology, expertise and services needed to build an entire boat—whether it’s cutting edge or classic.”


If you live in a state that neighbors Rhode Island, you can also use the boat show as a way to research the marinas you can call home for the boating season. Rhode Island does not have a property tax on boats, so if you make the Ocean State your boating home you won’t be paying those taxes year after year. According to the latest statistics, approximately half of the registered boaters in Rhode Island live in other states— so if you are not a resident of Rhode Island, you will be joining many others who have decided that an Ocean State berth is the way to go.

While you are at the show, you’ll be able to talk to many marina operators and learn about their facilities. Ask them about their local waters; you may discover fishing and cruising ground s near that marina that you and your family will enjoy exploring together.

All these policies benefit the boating industry in Rhode Island as well as the consumers who choose to take advantage of the state’s policies. “These policies are such a strong incentive to buy your boat in Rhode Island—and to keep it here!” said Mackie.