Some people seem to live in the water. You know the ones – spending all their free time on the lakes, rivers, and oceans. Maybe that person is you. Whether fishing, swimming, boating, most of us Floridians spend some time out on the water. If you’ve had the opportunity to fly into Central Florida and sit in a window seat on the plane, you’ll be flabbergasted at the sheer amount of lakes that dot the landscape. That aerial view truly showcases one of the best aspects of Florida. Not only are we a sunny state, but there are surface waters everywhere. However, the question often arises, “Who owns all that?” Here is where a Florida riparian rights attorney can be extraordinarily helpful.
Enjoying the Salt & Freshwater Life in Florida
According to an online article from NPR, Born Wet, Human Babies are 75 Percent Water. Then Comes The Drying, “a brand new baby is 75 percent water…But then, with every step we take, we begin to dry. The longer we live, the drier we get.” (Krulwich, 2013). It makes you wonder whether we spend our whole life trying to return to the water because we’re getting drier as the years go on. Joking aside, the majority of native Floridians and non-native Floridians usually boast about their connection to the water. Spending time at the crystal blue springs, on the Atlantic or the Gulf, and enjoying the plentiful lakes of Florida are one of the main reasons that Floridians choose to live in this gorgeous state.
Florida Riparian Rights Regarding Recreational Access to Water: Where Does it Begin & Where Does it End?
Some of us have the blessing to live on a body of water, whether that’s a lake, pond, canal, etc. When purchasing your home, access to water may have been a large part of your decision to buy a certain home. Perhaps when consulting with your real estate lawyer you asked about property law or rights pertaining to the water, or maybe you didn’t.
On occasion, recreational access to water can cause disputes whether you are the person who owns that property on water or if you are a person who accesses water near someone else’s property for recreational purposes. We are a nation proudly founded on individual rights, and with individual rights comes property rights. When we purchase real property, we have the knowledge that there may be occasions where property must be accessed by others. But where does that access begin and where does it end? This is challenging particularly when we consider the water rights of riparian property. This would be a good time to contact a Florida riparian rights attorney who can make it very clear.
How are Florida Riparian Rights Defined? Attorney Bret Jones Can Help When It Comes to Recreational Access to Water
Whether lake, ocean, or river, Floridians flock to the water. With so many people enjoying the water, it begs the question, “What exactly are water rights?” When does access to water become a public right observed under public trust? Where and when do private property rights end and begin, especially when private property borders water? The Sunshine State is lucky to have both sunshine and water. Whether you are a water enthusiast who is a waterfront property owner or are a water enthusiast who doesn’t live on the water, a Florida riparian rights attorney like Bret Jones can assist you with any property questions you may have regarding your rights of access to water.
Legally-speaking, water rights in Florida and elsewhere are referred to in real estate law as riparian rights. Florida Statute 253.141(1) defines riparian rights. They read as follows:
“Riparian rights are those incident to land bordering upon navigable waters. They are rights of ingress, egress, boating, bathing, and fishing and such others as may be or have been defined by law. Such rights are not of a proprietary nature. They are rights inuring to the owner of the riparian land but are not owned by him or her. They are appurtenant to and are inseparable from the riparian land. The land to which the owner holds title must extend to the ordinary high watermark of the navigable water in order that riparian rights may attach. Conveyance of title to or lease of the riparian land entitles the grantee to the riparian rights running therewith whether or not mentioned in the deed or lease of the upland.” (2017).
Do Water Laws Vary From State to State?
Interestingly, as with most laws, what riparian rights include varies from state to state. As a matter of fact, water law in the United States varies greatly on each side of the continent. In the majority of Eastern states, water law falls under the riparian doctrine, whereas the main type of water law Western states observe falls under the prior appropriation doctrine.
As with all legal remedies, researching relevant case law and statutes is essential to understanding your water or riparian rights in Florida. When meeting with a real estate lawyer, it is important to specifically state the facts of your situation. By doing this, the real estate attorney can properly compare your set of facts with relevant cases and appropriate statutes, thereby determining whether or not you are likely to succeed in achieving your desired result.
Contact the Law Offices of Bret Jones, P.A.
Whether you have private ownership of waterfront property or not, you deserve to know your rights regarding access to water. Do you have the ability to restrict water access right behind your home? How far out on the waterline? If you don’t own waterfront property perhaps you are curious about whether or not a neighbor who does live on a riparian property can restrict your access to the water behind their home. Our team at the Law Offices of Bret Jones, P.A. can provide you with the legal advice that you need to determine your rights. Florida Riparian Rights Attorney Jones knows access to water for recreational purposes is a large part of being a Floridian, but respecting individual property rights is as well. Contact our office for any legal assistance on water rights.
Krulwich, Robert. (November 26, 2013). Born Wet, Human Babies Are 75 Percent Water. Then Comes The Drying. NPR.org, http://www.npr.org/sections/krulwich/2013/11/25/247212488/born-wet-human-babies-are-75-percent-water-then-comes-drying