Recently, demand for outdoor spaces has increased beyond all of our expectations and there’s a huge need to be expanding access to the water. Boat ramps, fishing piers, kayak launches, beaches. It’s been so refreshing to see people reconnecting with the great outdoors and getting out on the water. 

A family fishes from a dock at dusk becasue they have access to the water

On the flip side though, the supply of public waterfront spaces falls short of the ever increasing demand. Boat ramps are overrun with cars and trailers. Families eager to spend the day crabbing arrive at their favorite pier only to find no parking available. And those public beaches that aren’t totally overcrowded are usually in rural areas, far away from the communities that could benefit from them the most. 

In the United States, about 75% of our coastlines are privately owned. About 80% of the shoreline around the Great Lakes is privately owned. And in some states, like Maryland and Virginia, that percent is upwards of 98-99%! There are thousands of miles of shoreline around the Chesapeake Bay, and knowing that only 1-2% of that is available for public access is astounding. Learn more about how the National Park Service is expanding access to the water in the Chesapeake Bay area here.

Here at Dockshare, we are always looking for ways to solve problems and help our communities and expanding access to the waterfront is obviously in our wheelhouse! While boating has made up the main focus of Dockshare, we want to expand upon that to include those that want to access the water for kayaking, paddleboarding, fishing, crabbing, birding, or just enjoying a waterfront view. 

In May of 2022, we launched a new feature on our platform that allows waterfront owners to list their property as a kayak launch. Now paddlers can find new places to launch and new waterways to explore by simply booking a privately-owned launch for a few hours.

woman sits in yoga pose on a dock because she has access to the water

We are also encouraging our dock owners to think beyond the boaters and imagine even more possibilities. Docks could be rented out to the dad that wants to teach his son how to cast a rod. Or the young couple across the street that doesn’t have the means to drive to the next closest public pier which is 30 miles away. Or the older, single woman that lives nearby that can no longer lift her kayak onto her car to travel to a public boat ramp. 

two teenagers and a toddler fish from a dock because they have access to the water

Our oceans, bays, and rivers are not privately owned. Our waterways are for everyone. Let’s band together to break down barriers, expand waterfront access, and share docks. Afterall, our name is Dockshare!

Want to learn more about public water access? Here’s what we’ve been reading: