Admiralty & Maritime Law


Sayer Regan & Thayer, LLP has been an active player in the fields of admiralty and maritime law since 1989.  We are based in Newport, Rhode Island, “the Sailing Capital of the World” and former home of the America’s Cup.  We are dedicated to assisting vessel owners, marine businesses and those that live, work and play on the water, both in Narragansett Bay and around the world.  Whether you are a commercial or recreational boater, at Sayer Regan & Thayer,  LLP, we can help with all your boating and maritime needs. Our practice focuses on the areas of:


·         Vessel purchase, sale and finance

·         Marine Business & Contracts

·         Charter Agreements

·         Marinas and Dockominiums

·         Maritime Liens & Mortgages

·         Marine Salvage Rights

·         Vessel Documentation

·         Maritime Personal Injury

·         Jones Act & Seaman’s Claims

·         Vessel collisions and allisions


From purchases to sales and financing agreements, to commercial and recreational marinas, we do it all.

Admiralty and maritime law are unique areas of the law which often involve complex administrative, procedural, and jurisdictional issues, all of which require specialized knowledge.  The admiralty and maritime attorneys at Sayer Regan & Thayer, LLP have the experience and expertise to handle these issues.  Our team includes a former Navy JAG officer and a former America’s Cup sailor.  We are members of the Maritime Law Association of the United States and our attorneys have written and lectured on a wide range of admiralty and maritime law issues.  After recently achieving a favorable verdict in a complicated marina cases, the Rhode Island Superior Court commended Sayer Regan & Thayer, LLP for its “high level of expertise and intellect”, saying that our “expertise and professionalism was amply demonstrated.”  Our team enjoys assisting clients in every aspect of maritime and admiralty cases - from the initial detailed analysis to creating unique strategies to achieve the results and solutions you need.


In 1993, following the repeal of the Federal Luxury Tax on vessels, the state of Rhode Island repealed its Boat Sales and Use Tax. In doing so, Rhode Island sent a clear signal to the rest of the country it is truly the “Ocean State”.  Not only have Rhode Island’s “boater friendly” tax laws led to tremendous growth in the boat building industry and marine trades, they have created great opportunities to reduce the costs of vessel ownership, even for non-residents.  Currently, Rhode Island has no sales tax on any boat bought or built in Rhode Island, no sales tax on the other gear you buy at the time of your boat purchase, and no personal property or use tax on boats.

If you don’t live in Rhode Island, can you take advantage of Rhode Island’s boater-friendly tax laws?  Yes.  At Sayer Regan & Thayer, LLP, our admiralty and maritime lawyers are experienced in structuring vessel purchases that allow non-residents to enjoy the same tax advantage as Rhode Island boaters, often through the formation of a Rhode Island corporation or limited liability company.  For example, by properly structuring the transaction, a Massachusetts resident can save up to $50,000.00 on the purchase of a $1,000,000.00 yacht.

At Sayer Regan & Thayer, LLP, we can help you take advantage of all the benefits that the “Ocean State” has to offer.


The purchase of a new boat represents a substantial investment.  For most people, it is second only to the purchase of their home.  As is often said, “the devil is in the details” and the purchase of a new or used boat has many traps for the unwary.  This includes having the necessary protections in the Purchase Contract, including the right to have the vessel inspected by a marine surveyor of your choice and the right to conduct a sea trial.  Other pre-purchase issues include ensuring that the vessel is registered, documented or licensed for its intended purpose, obtaining clear title, free of any liens, choosing the right ownership entity and tax and financing options.

At Sayer Regan & Thayer, LLP, we have the experience and know-how to guide you through the purchase of your new or used vessel.  We take care of the business side of boat ownership.


While owning a commercial or recreational vessel can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience, it also presents unique risks and liabilities.  Boat owners need to protect themselves from personal liability that can accrue if someone is injured or killed in an accident involving their vessel.  At Sayer Regan & Thayer, LLP, we can help you examine the risks and develop a plan to protect your personal assets from whatever storms may arise in the future.

At Sayer Regan & Thayer, LLP, we help boat owners select the most advantageous ownership options.  And since Rhode Island is the best place to purchase and establish boat ownership, we are uniquely positioned to help you accomplish your goals.


Accidents and disputes happen, not only on land, but also at sea.  As experienced admiralty and maritime litigators, the team at Sayer Regan & Thayer, LLP represents vessel owners and marine businesses in a variety of admiralty and maritime cases.  Our experience includes claims for personal injury and property damage arising from boating accidents and vessel collisions, charter disputes, salvage claims, breach of contract actions, vessel warranty claims, collection and foreclosure of ships mortgages and other maritime liens, and vessel arrests and seizures.

We also represent seaman and professional crew in Jones Act, unseaworthiness, maintenance & cure and unpaid wage claims.  The Jones Act provides extraordinary rights for sailors injured on the job to collect money damages for the negligence of their employer.  If you are a seaman and you have been injured on the job, Sayer Regan & Thayer, LLP is on your side.

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Sayer Regan & Thayer LLP
130 Bellevue Avenue, Unit 2
Newport, RI 02840
Phone: (401) 849-3040
Fax: (401) 849-4330
Toll Free: (866) 378-5836
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South County Office
343 Main St # C Wakefield, RI 02879
Phone: (401) 789-1616
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