The Commonwealth's primary tool for the protection and promotion of public use of its tidelands, great ponds and navigable rivers and streams is MGL 91, the Public Waterfront Act. The oldest program of its kind in the nation promotes and protects the rights of the public in these waterways and filled tidelands by ensuring that private uses serve a proper public purpose.

Specifically, the Waterways Program preserves pedestrian access along the water's edge for fishing, fowling and navigation and, in return for permission to build on Commonwealth tidelands, for general strolling.

2012 Waterways Program Plan pdf format of 2012 Waterways Program Plan doc format of 2012 Waterways Program Plan