What Are My Rights on Waterfront Access to the RI Shore?


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

waterfront access in RI real estate

Waterfront access in front of your coastal RI home

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.


coastal RI real estate

Tread lightly on others rights on waterfront properties in RI

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 agent for real estate in RI and beyond…knowing the geographic area, schools, happenings and important tidbits of local information.  

Waterfront, oceanfront, luxury and coastal Rhode Island real estate are my specialty but all of RI is my backyard.  When you are in need of a real estate professional and specialist for your buying, selling or relocating needs and an internet savvy marketer who sells RI houses in this real estate market call Ginny at 401.529.7849.


  1. Whispering Pines says

    Nice, cool………:)
    See more Waterfront Property in Tennessee at Whispering Pines.

  2. says

    Great info Ginny on the rights of residents in the area. I know that being able to control the shores and waterfront property anywhere for the local residents is definitely an issue. Every state has their own set of laws. People want their privacy and it is good to know just who can be walking on the beach in front of your brand new home. No surprises necessary when someone comes strolling by.