Waterfront landowners fall into two categories: (1) those that personally use their property to access the water for business or recreation; and (2) those that provide access to other water-dependent businesses or users. Given the high cost of waterfront land and rising property taxes, most private waterfront landowners are under tremendous pressure to either sell or convert their property to facilitate seemingly more lucrative and different uses.

However, waterfront landowners around the country are taking advantage of a variety of tools to preserve working waterfronts. In some states, like Maine, landowners have used conservation easements to maintain docks and prevent conversion to non-water-dependent uses. Tax incentives may be available to help waterfront landowners cope with rising property values. In addition, waterfront landowners can encourage local, state, and federal governments to address working waterfront issues through legislative study committees, comprehensive planning, and funding programs.

Getting Started

You can read about and listen to what communities around the country are doing to protect and preserve working waterfronts in the following sections:

If you would like more information about the range of financing tools available for waterfront landowners, please visit the Financing section of the website.

If you are interested in learning more about law and policy tools of most relevance to waterfront landowners, we recommend starting with the Law and Policy pages on land acquisition and conservation and tax policy.