Date of Award


Degree Type

Major Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


All the coastal states of the U.S., particularly the more populous, have been and are struggling with the problem of obtaining public access to the nation's coastal beaches. There s a large volume of litigation and legislation devoted wholly or in part to mitigating the problem. It is the intent of this paper to examine some of the landmark court cases on the subject throughout the U.S. and also Federal legislation which has been proposed or enacted. Because the issue joined is so basic, i.e., public rights to use the beach vs. private property rights in that same beach, emotions run strong. Therefore our examination would be incomplete without a microscopic look at some individual coastal communities which have been or will be affected by the efforts of higher levels of government to attain the goal of improved public access to the beach. Lastly, from the information developed, it is hoped that some worthwhile suggestions may evolve in the areas of legislation or implementation.