Scuba Divers Spark Coastal Access Rights Debate in Maine
October 16, 2011
Working Waterfront: The Maine Supreme court has upheld a ruling of the lower court granting rights to scuba divers to cross the intertidal zone even if it is privately owned.
This decision is being hailed as one more swipe at the Moody Beach case of 1989 that strictly limited the public rights in the intertidal zones as originally set out in the Colonial Ordinance of 1647.
Many of Maine’s coastal property owners hold deeds that include the beaches to low water. The public’s right to cross these intertidal zones is limited by the 350-year-old ordinance to fishing, fowling or navigation. A number of cases before the courts since 1989 have tried to expand on that definition.