PROVIDENCE, RI – Governor Dan McKee signed an Executive Order today at Rocky Point Fishing Pier in Warwick establishing Sunday, July 31, as Rhode Island's 33rd annual Governor's Bay Day. The event includes free parking at all Rhode Island state surf beaches on July 31 and recreational saltwater fishing without having to purchase a saltwater fishing license on Friday, July 29, through Sunday, July 31.
Also, the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) will waive the roundtrip fare on all service to South County beaches on the Route 66 (URI/Galilee) Express Beach Bus. Route 66 (URI/Galilee) provides weekend-only express service from Central Falls, Cranston, North Providence, Pawtucket, Providence, and Woonsocket to Salty Brine, Roger Wheeler (Sand Hill Cove), and Scarborough State Beaches. Service to the beach will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis. The Governor and Lt. Governor will take the Express Beach Bus from Providence to Roger Wheeler on Sunday morning.
"Governor's Bay Day is one of the summer's best traditions and a chance for Rhode Islanders to get out and enjoy our beautiful state surf beaches at no cost," said Governor McKee. "We're also lucky to live in a place with some of the best fishing anywhere. I invite experienced anglers to consider taking a beginner out and helping them cast their first line in Narragansett Bay this weekend."
"Promoting equal access to our shores is a uniquely Rhode Island value. I encourage all Rhode Islanders to take advantage of the opportunities that Governor's Bay Day affords to access facilities and activities that might not always be conveniently available to everyone," said Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos. "And whether you're heading to the beach for a swim or to the nearest pier to drop a fishing line in the saltwater, please be careful around water!"
"Rocky Point is a crown jewel of Warwick and the Rocky Point fishing pier is a crown jewel of Rhode Island recreational saltwater fishing," said Representative Joseph J. Solomon. "I hope that all Rhode Islanders will get to experience the joy of fishing on Narragansett Bay this Governor's Bay Day."
"As we celebrate Narragansett Bay, our state's picturesque coastlines, and going to the beach and boating and fishing, we should also recognize that as a state, Rhode Island continues to invest in facilities to expand public shoreline and fishing access," said Senate Majority Leader Michael McCaffrey. "The Rocky Point pier was largely financed by green bond funding approved by voters. There will be another green bond referendum question on the ballot in November and I urge Rhode Islanders to remember how much good we can accomplish through these investments."
"Narragansett Bay is the centerpiece of our Rhode Island environment and the core of many aspects of our quality of life here," said Department of Environmental Management (DEM) Director Terry Gray. "Many, many DEM programs focus on protecting and restoring the water quality in the bay, as well as enjoying time out on the water boating, fishing, or simply enjoying the view from one of our beautiful shoreside parks and beaches. Our progress has been amazing but looking back on the start of Governor's Bay Day, it originated from a disaster – the 1989 grounding of the tanker World Prodigy about a mile from Brenton Point State Park in Newport. The collision caused around 300,000 gallons of oil to spill and wash ashore, devastating wildlife and marine ecosystems. Bay Day began that same year to showcase the beauty of Narragansett Bay and highlight the threats it faces. DEM takes this moment to celebrate our natural resources while recognizing their fragility and the challenges facing environmental stewards to protect them."
"Fishing appeals to our sense of adventure, teaches us patience, and teaches us how to take care of the environment," said Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA) Executive Director Greg Vespe. "RISAA and the State of Rhode Island share common values and goals aligned on ensuring clean water to fish in and access to recreational opportunities for all. Here's hoping that Governor's Bay Day helps spark a new generation of anglers and ecological stewards who will love Narragansett Bay and preserve it for future generations."
Parking will be free at all state surf beaches:
• Charlestown Breachway and East Beach – Charlestown
• East Matunuck – South Kingstown
• Misquamicut State Beach – Westerly
• Roger W. Wheeler, Salty Brine, Scarborough North, and Scarborough South – Narragansett
Governor's Bay Day encourages families to enjoy Rhode Island's outdoor public spaces and engage in an active lifestyle while also highlighting the economic value of our natural resources. Rhode Island's natural and public assets – including eight surf beaches, 8,200 acres of parkland, 1,000 campsites, 400 miles of hiking and biking trails, 200 fishing spots, and 25 parks and nature preserves – are magnets, attracting more than 9 million Rhode Islanders and tourists a year. They're also an engine that adds an estimated $315 million to the economy, generating nearly $40 million in state and local taxes and supporting nearly 4,000 jobs a year.
Saltwater fishing also is an important driver for the state's economy. There are around 175,000 recreational anglers in Rhode Island and recreational saltwater fishing adds more than $130 million to the economy annually. While the free fishing day provides an opportunity for everyone to fish without a license, it also serves as a reminder that saltwater licenses are required on every day except on Bay Day, and that the license program provides vital support for Rhode Island's recreational fishing interests.
The Governor's team will share information on this event using the hashtag #GovBayDay on social media.