Massachusetts Law about Beach Rights

WaterWalker

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Jan 31, 2007
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Cape Cod, Massachuestts
Detector(s) used
Garrett (Infinium, ATPro, ATX), Minelab Excalibur, Tesoro Conquistador, Whites (Surfmaster PI, Quantum), JW Fisher 8X, DetectorPro Underwater 8", Minelab Equinox 800, Manticore, Pro-Find 35
Primary Interest:
Beach & Shallow Water Hunting
Massachusetts tidal area i.e. high tide mark to median low / extreme low tide water is very confusing going back to the 1600s. If you are on the beach with no intent to fish or fowling or for “navigating” in this area and you are not in a vessel or swimming you are on privately owned land. You will need the land owner's permission to legally detect. Note: that if swimming in the inter-tidal area you can not legally touch the bottom with you feet! No, dirt fishing is not a form of fishing such as the act of catching swimming fish or digging for shellfish. Fowling includes hunting and bird watching. All this is why I stay in the water, past the extreme low tide water line. Even then, if ask to move on, I do so.


See: Massachusetts Law about Beach Rights

Which opens with a bit of history and current court standings:

Colonial Ordinances of 1641-1647 Extended private ownership from the mean high water line to the mean low-water line, or 100 rods from the mean high-water line, whichever is less. Previously, ownership had extended only to the high-water mark (under section 16 of the Body of Liberties of 1641 ).


At the end of the above Massachusetts Government website other, and easier to understand verbiage can be found at web links:


See: Cape Cod Home Finder: Public Rights / Private Property: FAQs on Beach Access brought to you By Trisha Daly-Karlson


“This is actually a pamphlet that a former Attorney General had put out, reproduced on this site without attribution. Despite that, the information given is sound and extremely helpful.”


Also see: Private Beach -- No Trespassing! - Boston Real Estate Now - Boston.com
 

Upvote 0
Thank you for posting that. I had found part of it yesterday, and it was certainly helpful. I asked Mrs Claus for a set of neoprene waders for Xmas.... Crossing my fingers!!! Happy holidays!
 

Really have never been bothered when wet sand detecting here on Cape Cod. Do it off season when hardly anyone is on the beach anyway. No body will bother you if you are respectful and fill your holes. If worried carry a small fishing rod with you. Most local police are nice guys and have far more important things to do than be concerned about someone doing no harm. Just stay off National Seashore property as most detectorists are aware.
 

I no longer work for the department. When I last did was in 04. You might think a lot has changed legally since the merge. But, DCR has only recently been able to update the CMRs. It took a stroke of luck imo and lots of time and effort, but we are still allowed now on DCR beaches. I have only heard of a few still being asked to leave by lifeguards [16-18 year olds who don't know any better]. That being said.

If your on a DCR beach. Your under their rules. I don't know if its still a law now. But there were two exceptions to the main rule of the parks closing at 8:00 pm. Fishing. And star gazing. Thats right. Star gazing.

You can always say your star gazing. As for private beaches and those disputes, not sure.

Keep in mind, as a general rule, when two agencies or more have athority over one park the federal one usually has most say. This happens on all the islands. I think more agencies then there are islands are in charge of them.

WW thanks for links, good read. hh gl -Joe


Massachusetts tidal area i.e. high tide mark to median low / extreme low tide water is very confusing going back to the 1600s. If you are on the beach with no intent to fish or fowling or for “navigating” in this area and you are not in a vessel or swimming you are on privately owned land. You will need the land owner's permission to legally detect. Note: that if swimming in the inter-tidal area you can not legally touch the bottom with you feet! No, dirt fishing is not a form of fishing such as the act of catching swimming fish or digging for shellfish. Fowling includes hunting and bird watching. All this is why I stay in the water, past the extreme low tide water line. Even then, if ask to move on, I do so.


See: Massachusetts Law about Beach Rights

Which opens with a bit of history and current court standings:

Colonial Ordinances of 1641-1647 Extended private ownership from the mean high water line to the mean low-water line, or 100 rods from the mean high-water line, whichever is less. Previously, ownership had extended only to the high-water mark (under section 16 of the Body of Liberties of 1641 ).


At the end of the above Massachusetts Government website other, and easier to understand verbiage can be found at web links:


See: Cape Cod Home Finder: Public Rights / Private Property: FAQs on Beach Access brought to you By Trisha Daly-Karlson


“This is actually a pamphlet that a former Attorney General had put out, reproduced on this site without attribution. Despite that, the information given is sound and extremely helpful.”


Also see: Private Beach -- No Trespassing! - Boston Real Estate Now - Boston.com
 

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