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 Mississippi, 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 coast, 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 Mississippi Gulf Coast?

The Heritage Trails Partnership of the Mississippi Gulf Coast is a collaborative effort on the Mississippi Gulf Coast whose mission is to improve the quality of life of Mississippi Gulf Coast communities by promoting healthy physical outdoor activities. Heritage Trails Partnership envisions a safe, coast-wide network of diverse trails that connect neighborhoods to businesses, schools, green spaces, and blue spaces where everyone can enjoy scenic, historic, educational and natural areas.

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