Q. Why is Rhode Island called the Ocean State?
A. Ocean State became Rhode Island's Official License Plate Nickname when it was adopted on July 8, 1971. It began to appear on non-commercial license plates in 1972, replacing the former nickname "Discover". The term was created to help promote tourism. The 400 plus miles of coastline includes inland extensions of the Narragansett Bay; all Rhode Islanders live within a 30 minute drive of the Atlantic Ocean or Narragansett Bay.
Source: Rhode Island Office of the Secretary of State. "Know Rhode Island History And Facts About The Ocean State", www.sec.state.ri.us/library/riinfo/riinfo/knowrhode and Rhode Island Government Online. "Facts & History", http://www.ri.gov/facts/history.php