Island Safety

A few Block Island rules to keep you safe.DIAL 911 FOR EMERGENCY
IMPORTANT: THE DIALING OF 911 IS FOR EMERGENCY USE ONLY!  An emergency is when immediate police, fire or rescue assistance is necessary. 911 should not be dialed for nonemergency calls that do not involve or require immediate assistance.Do exactly what the 911 operator tells you to do. Give the operator all necessary information, including the fire number on the house. Remember, your assistance could make the difference between serious injury, life or death.

If in doubt, use 911
911 is for emergency use only!  However, if you feel that there is an emergency occurring but don’t know for certain, presume it is an emergency and use 911.

• Drinking alcoholic beverages in streets, on docks, etc.
• Camping, except by special permission.
• Sleeping overnight in vehicles or on beaches.
• Operating mo­tor­cy­cles between midnight and 6 a.m.
• Beach fires and/or driving on the beach without a permit.
• Dumping refuse on roads or in harbors.
• Shellfishing without a license.
• Charcoal fires on boats tied up at docks.
• Disturbing the peace.
• Un­leashed dogs.
• Littering.

Important Island Phone Num­bers
BI Medical Center    466-2974
Police (nonemergency)    466-3220
Fire Department / Rescue Squad    466-3220
Coast Guard (Block Island)    466-2086
Coast Guard (Galilee) 24 hours    789-0444
RI Poison Control     (800) 222-1222
BI Airport        466-5511
Harbormaster    466-3204
Town Clerk        466-3200
Recreation Department    466-3223
Interstate Navigation (Block Island)    466-2261
Block Island Express    466-2212
Block Island Hi-Speed Ferry    466-2261
Transfer Station    466-3234

Vehicles are permitted to drive on Crescent Beach only from 6 p.m. until 9 a.m. No motor vehicle shall be allowed on the beach without a valid, updated permit from the Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC). Permits are available at the police department for $100/residents, $200/non-residents (June 20- Sept. 7) Sunday, 6-7 p.m., Monday, 2-3 p.m. and Friday, 3-4 p.m. All motor vehicles of any description are prohibited on dunes except on trails marked expressly for vehicular use. Vehicles are also not allowed on any lands designated “Open Space” and maintained by the town for the benefit of the general public.

The dunes offer a home to countless species of plants and animals that, like the beach itself, need our protection if they are to survive. To help save the life of our dunes and beaches, we urge you to:
• Use designated access paths and parking lots only.
• Keep off dunes and beach vegetation.
Keep all vehicles off the beach, as they destroy vegetation and cause beach erosion.
• Do not sleep on the beach overnight.  

Beach fires are prohibited without a permit. Permits are available at the police department, and are valid for one day, expiring at midnight. Fires must be at least 25 feet from dunes. Please clean up and dispose of all trash properly and extinguish fires completely before leaving beach.

Gas motors banned
All forms of gasoline or diesel fuel-powered motors on boats are not allowed on BI’s freshwater ponds.

Pollutants and contaminants banned
No discharging of any sew--age, petroleum products, detergents, pesticides, or any other form of pollutants or con-tam-i-nants is permitted.

Penalty for violation
Any person violating this ordinance shall, upon con-vic-tion, be subject to a fine of not more than $100, or confinement for not more than 10 days, or both such fine and confinement. Any person convicted of a second violation shall be subject to a fine of not more than $200, or forfeiture of motor and equipment, or both.

Wildlife refuge areas on Block Island include Sachem Pond, Payne’s Farm, the Southeast Lighthouse, Rodman’s Hollow, Lewis-Dickens Farm, Beane Point and Cormorant Cove. No one may hunt, shoot, trap, or annoy wildlife, or destroy or disturb the eggs, nest or nesting area of any wildlife within designated areas.

Penalty for violation
Any person violating any of the provisions of this ordinance shall be punished by a fine of not more than $100, or be imprisoned not more than 10 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment, together with costs of prosecution.

A license is required for shellfishing. Beds are currently closed to the harvesting of scallops and oysters. The harvesting of clams is restricted. For more info, call the Harbors Department at 466-3204 or stop by the Harbormaster’s shack in New Harbor (adjacent to the Boat Basin), where shellfishing licenses are sold.

Dogs must be licensed and wear tags on a collar.  Unless in a vehicle or on property of its owner, dogs must be leashed with a cord not exceeding 6 feet in length. For problems contact the Police Department at 466-3220. Horses: the New Shoreham Town Council requests that all persons refrain from riding horses in the downtown area.

Lyme disease: Don’t get ticked off.
Lyme disease is a serious health threat on Block Island. Visitors should make a daily “tick check.” Look for attached ticks, no bigger than a pinhead, red areas and itchiness. Symptoms include rashes, head-aches, joint stiff-ness, chills, fever, and nausea. Not all ticks carry the disease; not all people bitten catch it. Infection is uncommon if the tick is removed within 24 hours. Consult your physician if you suspect you may have be-come infected. Treatment after early diagnosis is generally effective, but be-comes more difficult if symptoms are left untreated. Long pants and sleeves are suggested for forays into wooded areas, brush and meadows.

Pedestrians. Pay special attention to traffic while in the downtown area. According to Rhode Island law, pedestrians must walk against traffic (on the left side) on roads without sidewalks.

Bicyclists. please take care when cycling the unique roads of Block Island. Ride with the traffic, obey traffic signs and adhere to all rules of the road. Hand signals are very helpful to other traffic and can prevent accidents. Keep on the right side of the road and ride single-file whenever possible. For nighttime riding, a light is required for the front of the bicycle and a reflector should be attached to the rear. Bicycles are not permitted on Greenway trails. Helmets are required for bicyclists age 16 and under, and strongly encouraged for adults.

Automobile drivers. Please exercise extreme caution when traversing Block Island roads. The speed limit is 25 mph island-wide. Pass bicyclists and mopeds  only when you are certain it’s safe.

Rollerblades, Scooters, Skateboards. Due to heavy congestion and safety concerns, rollerblading, skateboarding and scootering are not permitted in the downtown area or on Ocean Avenue. Skating and scootering is allowed north of Town Beach, south of the Spring House and on the west side of the island. Please travel with the traffic and adhere to all rules of the road. Scooters with helper motors (electric or gas) are not allowed on roads by RI state law.

Accidents. Do not hesitate to seek help from the Rescue Squad if you have or witness an accident.  First aid and ambulance service is rendered at no cost to you. A portion of the Rescue Squad budget is met by town funds, but the Rescue Squad relies heavily on donations to cover the full costs of training, equipment, supplies and maintenance. Any contribution made to support this work will be welcomed and acknowledged. Donations are tax-deductible. Mail donations to: Block Island Volunteer Rescue Squad, P.O. Box 214, Block Island, RI  02807.

Recycling. All trash must be separated for recycling. Deposit your sidewalk trash in the recycling containers marked for bottles, cans or trash only.  These special containers are not for household or boat trash. Those renting houses should use the Transfer Station, located on West Beach Road. Recyclables (news-pa-per, glass, cardboard, plastics, aluminum and tin cans) are free. Glass, cans, plastics and aluminum should be clean. Other trash is deposited at a charge of 10 cents per pound, paid in cash, by local check or credit card at the Transfer Station (466-3234).

Rabies notice. State law and town ordinances require that all pets (cats, dogs or ferrets) brought to the island be vaccinated against rabies. In addition to vaccinating pets, people should stay away from all wild and stray animals. Rabies is always fatal unless treated before symptoms develop. Rhode Island rabies hotline: 1-800-482-7878, ext. 3.

Please Conserve Water. While the island’s municipal water company has been producing a lot of good water this summer, water conservation is still encouraged, and the water is very expensive. On properties with septic systems, be sure not to overload the system with showers and dishwashing and clothes-washing all at once. And please don’t shock such systems with paper products, fats, oils and greases.

Bicycles and Mopeds. Bicycles are the preferred rental vehicles. You can explore dirt roads with them. If you do rent a moped,  please note —
• Mopeds are not allowed on dirt roads.
• By law, a helmet and eye protection must be worn.
• Do not leave the training area until you feel that you know how to operate the moped. Be sure you are familiar with the controls.
• Once you are on the road, proceed slowly enough to examine oncoming road conditions. Do not drive on the shoulder of the road. Driver inexperience, heavy traffic flow, sandy shoulders, sharp curves, and  uneven  pavement  are  common  causes  of accidents on Block  Island.
• Mopeds may be operated from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. only.
• Passengers must ride behind the operator.