What Are My Rights on Waterfront Access to the RI Shore?
What Are My Rights on Waterfront Access to the RI Shore? Homeowners or residents in Rhode Island real estate
want access to the fabulous coastlines we have, so knowing your waterfront access rights is a must. Public access to coastal waters have been fought in courts over many years especially in Narragansett, i.e. the Black Point controversy of years ago. All residents are allowed access to our waterfront areas, rights to fishing grounds, access swimming grounds and walk the shoreline. What is not your right is to trespass on homeowners waterfront property to gain access to the RI coastline.
So the question becomes how do I get to the shore if no state beach or right of way for public access exists?
Understanding that finding these coastal accesses can be found through the Coastal Resources Management Council’s web site. Public access is available at our state beaches and state parks. These are the best points of entry to enjoy the amazing 400 miles of Rhode Island coastline offered to residents and visitors to our state.
Once on the coastline an owner of waterfront property has rights also which is another area of contention with beach goers.
Waterfront property owners become upset when beach goers are on their property. Rhode Island law defines property owners land at the water line as the ‘mean high water’ mark ( aka, MHW) which is farther into the water then the high water mark. Confusing as it is, waterfront access should be respected by both parties, beach goer and coastal land owner.
At present, the RI legislature has not reached a consensus on designating a strip of dry beach sand along the coast that is public.
As a waterfront RI real estate agent, working with clients to understand the rights to waterfront access is so important when selling or buying RI coastal property. The most undeniable access to a beach is via the water. When no access exists from land hop in your boat, find a mooring and do some wading in the water to the shoreline!
If you are ready to sell and want a waterfront specialist to present your property right, give me a call at 401.529.7849 or email me RiByTheBay@gmail.com. What Are My Rights on Waterfront Access to the RI Shore?
Ginny Lacey Gorman is your go to waterfront Rhode Island Realtor® for real estate in RI and beyond…knowing the geographic area, schools, happenings and important tidbits of local information.