Terri Cortvriend

Privileges to Rhode Island Shoreline

This year we passed a bill that clarifies where the public can access Rhode Island’s many miles of shoreline to exercise their constitutional rights. The new law establishes a public access line 10’ landward of the recognizable high-tide (the ‘wrack line’ or the ‘seaweed line’) along a sandy and rocky shore. When there are multiple seaweed lines, the one closest to the water is deemed to be the most recent.  If there is no seaweed, start at the wet/dry sand line and add 10’. The law assumes that you have accessed the shore from a legal Right of Way and does not allow persons to traverse private property to access the shore. It does not allow the public to use property owner’s lounges, cabanas, chairs, or other private property. The statute is already being challenged in the courts, so more to come on this.