About Us

FAQ

Where do we park?

Newport offers metered street parking and public parking lots.  View Parking & Directions

Please be sure to give yourself plenty of time to find parking and walk to the boat especially during peak times of the season.  We suggest at least 30 minutes to park and walk to the ticket booth.

Where do we board?

We are located at 2 Bowen’s Landing in Newport, RI.  Check in at our ticket booth to receive your boarding pass and a tour guide will bring everyone down to the boat when it’s time to board.

What time do we need to check-in?

Please check in at our ticket booth at least 20 minutes before your scheduled trip time.  The boat will not wait for late passengers.

What should we wear?

For your safety, please wear soft-soled shoes – no heels!  For your comfort, you may want to bring layers as the ocean breeze can sometimes be cool.  Sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat are also recommended.

What about the weather?

Our trips will go out in a variety of weather including light rain, drizzle and fog, as long as the captain deems it safe to do so.  If we do cancel based on weather, you will be able to reschedule your ticket or receive a full refund.

What's the cancellation/refund policy?

Tickets cancelled less than 24 hours in advance are non-refundable. Tickets are refundable if we have to cancel a trip due to less than minimum passenger count or weather conditions.

What is your schedule of trips?

Trips are offered daily from May through October. Please see our calendar for specific dates and times.

When do tickets go on sale?

Our booking calendar opens in spring.  Call anytime for info about booking private charters.

Are refreshments available?

Each of our trips offers a complimentary beverage as outlined in the tour descriptions.  A cash bar with water, soda, beer, wine, and specialty mixed drinks is available on each trip.  Outside food and drink is not permitted

Is there any narration?

Our trips are fully narrated as our guides share the legends and rich history of this amazing seaport.

Are there restrooms on board?

There is a ‘marine head’ on board for passengers to use.  We do suggest using a public restroom before boarding.

Are children allowed?

Children are allowed on all of our trips.  We have found that many families prefer the trips earlier in the day and we find the sunset trips attract more adults.

Are wheelchairs allowed?

Due to safety reasons, wheelchairs are not allowed onboard.  There is a ramp leading down to the dock and another ramp from the dock up to the boat.  Passengers will need to climb down three steps from the ramp to board the boat.  Wheelchairs can be left at the ticket booth during the trip.

Are strollers and car seats allowed?

Due to safety reasons, strollers and car seats are not allowed onboard.  These items may be left near the ticket booth before boarding the boat.

Can We bring our dog Aboard?

Due to circumstances beyond our control, the Gansett is no longer able to welcome dogs on board. We wish to extend our sincerest gratitude to our loyal patrons who have come to expect this courtesy. As of 8/24/2019.

What are the policies for large groups?

If you are making a reservation for 10 or more, our ticket booth will call you once the seats are booked. 

Please keep in mind that our tours are narrated and passengers are looking forward to listening to the tour guide; therefore we ask groups to be mindful of their noise level.

How can I purchase a gift certificate?

Gift certificates can be purchased on-line or by calling our ticket booth at 401-619-1300.

Is the boat available for private charter?

Yes!  Gansett can be chartered for any number of special occasions.  You can read more about our charters here and please contact our ticket booth at 401-619-1300 for more information.

Please keep in mind:

We reserve the right to refuse admittance of any passenger at any time to any trip.
We reserve the right to verify age before serving alcohol and will refuse service when appropriate to do so.
No smoking or vaping at any time on the boat.
No illegal drugs are allowed on the boat at any time.

M/V Gansett's

History

EXCERPTS FROM A FEATURE ARTICLE THAT APPEARED IN MAINE COASTAL NEWS
One must commend anyone who will step to the plate and do what they feel is right. Sometimes there are easier ways but preserving a way of life or a glimpse at history can be very difficult. After nearly a year, Jeff O’Brien of Newport, Rhode Island finally has his traditional passenger boat totally rebuilt and almost ready for the up-coming season, but if he is not ready for May it could mean financial disaster.

O’Brien was looking for a different turn in his career, which was getting away from being captain of millionaire’s yachts. One day he was visiting Giffy Full at his Brooklin home and he took notice of the photographs on Giffy’s kitchen walls. He explained, “When I started looking for passenger boats, they were all so ugly. From a money making point of view a lot of [owners] probably like the big ugly steel multi-deck boats, but I had no interest in them. This is more than just making money. I wanted to do it on a boat that I had an appreciation for, not just a cash cow.”

Finding the right traditional boat is not as easy as it once was. O’Brien found a couple, but neither was for sale. Giffy told him there was a boat in York, which was the same design as two he had owned years back. They chased the owner down and found that he was in China on business. O’Brien left him a message and he returned the call, and said yes he owned the boat, but he was not interested in selling her. However, after repeated calls he changed his mind and sold the boat to O’Brien.

This boat was built by Beal & Bunker of Mount Desert back in 1969. Her design concept was drawn by Giffy, who then took his drawings to Miles Fitch, who produced the finalized design. She had had a Coast Guard certificate to carry 49 passengers, but her last owner let that lapse. O’Brien added, “I was looking for any old traditional looking passenger boat that I felt I could handle. Not too big, not too small and had the right looks and the right space, not a yacht. A yacht does not lend itself well to a tour boat, because they have a lot of staterooms and cabins, so all the people are jammed onto an aft deck or the fore deck.”

O’Brien knew of Peter Buxton, Buxton Boats of Stonington, through Giffy. Last January the boat was put into Buxton’s shop and for the next six weeks he and O’Brien stripped everything out of her and took it to the dump. Buxton added, “We put in 21 new steam bent timbers, one new plank, all new stern, refastened the bottom, checked all the keel bolts, stop waters and then started putting her back together.”

The only fiberglass you will find on this boat is on the platform and the trunk.

This boat is very well constructed with 1 3/8-inch mahogany planking over split white oak 1¼ by 1¾-inch frames. This was the second boat owned by Giffy. His first had been planked with cedar, but when they took out recreational fishermen the sides would get dented by the lures and sinkers.

When the boat arrived at the shop everything was original except they had raised the fore deck so it was like that of a lobster boat. Originally, she had a walk around deck making access around the boat much easier for passengers. They also raised the platform an inch and the shelter roof was raised four inches for added headroom.

Originally, she was powered with a 671 GM diesel, and at some point this was changed to a 334 Caterpillar, which she had when she arrived at Buxton’s. This was removed even though it ran well, but you could not buy parts for it. So it was replaced with a 3306 Caterpillar.

When you look at the engine you will see a monster alternator. O’Brien added, “There is no generator on the boat and I need to run a refrigerator and freezer, household stuff, which is $300 verses $3,000 per unit. I need to be able to keep ice cream and stuff and not have to mess with coolers, which would be a nightmare. The inverter is key because I need to be able run all these systems through that. That is the biggest alternator I could find that would fit. The trouble is we are doing a lot of slow running so you need an alternator that specializes in high output at low rpm, which this one does.”

(This article appeared in the MAINE COASTAL NEWS, January 2006)