photo of the cover of the Public Shoreline Access in Maine publicationUnderstanding coastal property law can be daunting for land owners, beach visitors, and municipal officials. Public Shoreline Access in Maine: A Citizen’s Guide to Ocean and Coastal Law describes Maine law and prominent court cases related to public use and access to the coast, from the seventeenth-century Colonial Ordinance that reserved the public’s right to “fishing, fowling and navigation” in the intertidal zone to the recent decision by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court regarding public use of a private road to access Cedar Beach in Harpswell.

This is the third edition of the publication and the first update in more than a decade. Research and revisions were conducted by UMass-Boston law professor John Duff with assistance from Liana James and Victoria LaBate, supported with Sea Grant Program Development Funds.

Public Shoreline Access in Maine: A Citizen’s Guide to Ocean and Coastal Law [508 accessible version] was produced by the University of Maine Sea Grant Program, the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry, and the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve with funding from the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund. Copies are available from Maine Sea Grant, 207.581.1435 or; or from the Wells Reserve, 207.646.1555. 

For more information about access to and from Maine's coastal waters, visit