Accessibility at WaterFire Events

WaterFire takes place along the walkways bordering the Providence rivers. These walkways have been designed and built over the last several years. Although most of the walkways are handicap accessible in some form or manner, mobility can be difficult in crowded situations. During a typical WaterFire, the walking crowds assembled from the time of the lighting through about 10:00 p.m. can form a considerable obstacle for persons with challenged mobility. These crowds also present potential problems to persons with dogs, strollers, or small children. After 10:00 p.m., the crowds tend to thin out and the walkways become easier to navigate.

We need your help to keep the WaterFire Access Program running. Donate today to support this important and life-affirming program.

There is a reserved section of the riverwalk, on the Memorial Boulevard side of the river, for visitors with mobility difficulties or other disabilities. The ADA-friendly viewing area is located on Memorial Blvd. near the intersection with Crawford Street. You can find this location and the location of the Access Program dock marked on our online event map under the Accessibility category.

See more tips on how to optimize your WaterFire Providence experience: On-shore Accessibility at WaterFire Providence.

2021 WaterFire Access Boat Reservations

Good news! The WaterFire Access Boat will be up and running for most of the 2021 WaterFire Season. Access Boat reservations are now be accepted for our three Full WaterFire Lightings on October 2 & 16, and on November 6. At this time we are not able to have the access running at the September 4 Full Fire or at any of our Partial WaterFire lightings. Email to make reservations.

The WaterFire Access Boat

WaterFire’s commitment to include each and every one of our visitors has resulted in WaterFire Access: a water-taxi program that provides an unforgettable experience of the artwork for children and adults with disabilities to assure that they can join in the most popular arts event in the state and share the experience with their families and friends.

Reservations: Reservations are required and can be made by emailing We ask that you make your reservation at least two weeks prior to your selected date. Each WaterFire Access passenger may bring along one companion. When making a reservation, please have ready the contact information for both the eligible individual and his/her companion. Please let us know if passengers will be in wheelchairs and if they are motorized.

Hours of Operation: The first trip of the evening is a sunset cruise that concludes just as the procession of WaterFire boats prepares to light the braziers. The available times for the sunset cruise – and all other boat rides throughout the evening – will be reviewed with you when you make your reservation. The final boat ride of the night leaves from the dock at 11:00 pm.

Timing: The boat trips leave about every 45 minutes and the trip will take about 30 minutes. Please arrive on the dock at least 15 minutes before your departure time or your reservation may be forfeited or the boat may leave without you. Plan significant extra time for traffic, loading, and parking.

Ms. Wheelchair Rhode Island and other WaterFire visitors enjoy the first Access Boat ride of the 2018 WaterFire Providence season. Photograph by John Nickerson.

Location: The boat leaves at scheduled intervals from the Dyer Street Dock (located across the street from Capriccio’s Restaurant and right next to the Rhode Island Irish Famine Memorial). Please note there is a drop-off zone for individuals with disabilities, but there is no long-term parking available at the curb.

Directions and Parking: Public parking is available within walking distance of the dock.

Eligibility and Cost: WaterFire Access is provided for free for individuals with accessibility issues, but we need your donations to ensure the survival of this valuable program.**

**(Please note: in accordance with the weight restrictions listed by the United States Coast Guard, motorized chairs or scooters will be positioned at the rear of the boat).