Another interesting reference is The Massachusetts Public Waterfront Act, also known as Chapter 91.
The Commonwealth formally established the program in 1866, but the philosophy behind Chapter 91 dates back to the earliest days of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, most notably in the Colonial Ordinances of 1641-1647.
The Colonial Ordinances codified the "public trust doctrine," a legal principle that dates back nearly 2000 years, which holds that the air, the sea and the shore belong not to any one person, but rather to the public at large.
In fact, these notions date back thousands of years to the concepts of civil law in ancient Rome.
For some things by the law of nature are common to all; some are public; some belong to corporate bodies, and some belong to no one...
By the law of nature these things are common to mankind---the air, running water, the sea, and consequently the shores of the sea.