Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Citizens' Guide to State Services

Published by
William Francis Galvin
Secretary of the Commonwealth
Citizen Information Service

Environment/Energy: Public Access To Beaches and Coastlines

G28 Office of the Attorney General

G29 Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management

G30 Waterway Regulation Program

G31 Office of Fishing and Boating Access

G28 Office of the Attorney General
Energy and Environmental Bureau
One Ashburton Place
Boston, MA 02108
Tel: 617-727-2200

The Attorney General's office, as a public service, has put together a helpful brochure to assist people in understanding the law regarding the right to beach access, to the extent that it has been settled. It provides simple answers to commonly asked questions about the ownership of the coast. In particular, it highlights ways that coastal property owners who want to let the public gain access through or along their property can do so while avoiding liability and at the same time preserve their own rights.

G29 Massachusetts Coast Guide
Coastal Zone Management
Executive Office of Environmental Affairs
251 Causeway Street, Suite 800
Boston, MA 02114-2138
Tel: 617-626-1200
Fax: 617-626-1240

The Coastal Zone Management offers information in print and mobile app designed to assist the citizen understand and access the areas along our coastline. The office publishes “The Massachusetts Coast Guide: to Boston Harbor and the North Shore”, and posts “Public Rights along the Shoreline” as well as Coast Guide Online showing federal, state, municipal and non-profit ownership. It also has helpful online historical background on public rights to coastal access in Massachusetts.

G30 Waterways Regulation Program
Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Department of Environmental Protection
One Winter Street
Boston, MA 02108
Tel: 617-292-5929

The public rights to access to filled tidelands, which are protected by a state law commonly known as “Chapter 91”. Contact the DEP’s  or Information Line for further information.

G31 Office of Fishing and Boating Access (OFBA)
Department of Fish and Game
One Rabbit Hill Road
Westborough, MA 01581
Tel: 508-389-7810
Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00-4:30

The Office of Fishing and Boating Access provides boat and canoe access sites, shore fishing areas, and sport fishing piers at more than 275 locations on coastal waters, great ponds and rivers throughout Massachusetts. The Department of Fish & Game, in conjunction with the Public Access Board, acquires property and easements for the purpose of providing access; and, through the FBA, designs, constructs, manages, and improves facilities statewide.

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