When a property close to a beach is purchased, beach access is provided through deeded beach rights. In terms of deed rights, the word beach is used to define any body of water with attached land located seaward of the toe of the dune, crest of the dune, or in some cases, high water.
Deeded beach rights ensure that certain areas of a beach are accessible to the public, even though the beach is privately owned. Many waterfront homes are sold with deeded beach rights as an amenity.
The private owner of a beach has a right to remove any trespassers, but if your property includes deeded beach rights, you can freely access specified areas without the owner taking recourse. Also, deeded beach rights provide a specific pathway directly to the beach or waterfront. Purchasing a property with these rights included means you are guaranteed access to the pathway and any other specified areas.
Areas where beaches are prevalent, such as Florida and the Hamptons, have experienced problems with deeded beach rights. In some cases, specified areas are not clearly defined in privately owned deeds, creating issues in regard to what areas of the beach are truly public and accessible. As a result, lawsuits over beach access are common in these areas.