Waterfront Users

This page is designed for waterfront users. It contains information about rights and responsibilities of waterfront users, ways to acquire access to waterfront land, and suggestions for getting more involved in the local planning process as a means to promote greater coastal access and resources.

As a user of waterfront land, what are my rights and responsibilities?

In Alabama, waterfront land is owned to the mean high tide line by the property owner. Land below the mean high tide line is held in trust by the state for the benefit of the public. Pursuant to the public trust doctrine, the public has a right to use coastal property for fishing, boating, and other recreational purposes below the mean high tide line.

In some situations, private landowners may have given consent to public use of their land through the grant of an easement. Otherwise, waterfront users should not cross private land, as this is considered trespassing.

How can waterfront users secure access to private waterfront land?

Individual waterfront users or groups of users may purchase access rights by acquiring property or securing partial interest in property, such as easements. See Acquiring Access.

How can waterfront users increase public access to the shore, either from land or sea?

Waterfront users can work toward increased public access to the coast by becoming involved in the local planning process to raise awareness and desire for these amenities in the community. See Plan and Zone for Access.

Another option to improve public access is to donate financially to a land trust or conservation organization working toward acquiring public access rights. A waterfront property owner may consider a donation of land to improve access as well.

How can waterfront users enhance access infrastructure such as parking, piers, moorings, docks and slips?

Again, the best way for waterfront users to promote coastal access and the supporting infrastructure is to work within the planning process. See Plan and Zone for Access.

Where can waterfront users find more information about public access opportunities along the Alabama Gulf Coast?

Alabama’s Coastal Connection is a nationally designated scenic byway that connects beautiful beaches, authentic downtowns, wildlife preserves, historic sites and fresh Gulf seafood for a full experience of the flavorful culture, rich history and natural beauty of coastal Alabama. There are more than 20 stops to choose from on the byway and plenty of other places to discover along the way. Alabama's Coastal Connection beckons travelers to make their own connection and to learn more about the waters, ways and wildlife of Alabama’s Gulf Coast.

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