Under Maine law, a property boundary described as extending to or along “the shore” of a tidal area extends only to the high water mark, and not to the low water mark – and the intertidal area between the upland owner’s land and the low water mark could be owned by another party.
Under well-settled Maine case law, a deed to waterfront property describing a boundary as extending to or along the “shore” means that the property line stops at the high water mark, and does not extend over the intertidal area to the low water mark.
The “shore” is the land between high and low tide under Maine law. The shore is also referred to in case law as the “intertidal” area or the “flats.” Thus, a deed describing a boundary as going to or by the shore conveys the land only as far as the shore, and does not convey the shore itself.
A specific conveyance of the shore and flats to the low water mark, or similar language conveying to the common low tide line, is required to convey an interest in the shore or the intertidal land.
If your property boundary is described as “to the shore,” then a third party may own the intertidal area to the low water mark. That shoreland owner could be the State of Maine, or it could be the original owner of the land from which your property was originally conveyed, or his or her descendants, whether known or unknown.
If you would like assistance in evaluating your shoreland or waterfront property or easement rights, we would be happy to provide it. Contact us by phone at 207-774-2635 or send an email to Peggy McGehee or Julie Ray.
NOTE: The comments above are not legal advice, and should not be relied upon to address anyone’s specific circumstances. They do not cover all legal issues about shorefront and waterfront property lines. Please contact us if you need advice or representation as to your shoreland boundaries.