Talk The Talk

Waterfront and Water Lots



The gradual and imperceptible increase in land area by natural causes, e.g., by alluvial deposits resulting from movements of a river course or of the sea. Accretion can be caused by the washing up of silt or sand.


The use of air space above the water, the ground, or a structure without impeding the original use of the property.


A term used in some regions to describe and make a distinction between the portion of a water lot that is located between the high and low water marks and that portion if any, located below the low water mark (the portion of the water lot submerged on a permanent basis).


A structure which provides shelter for persons, animals, and things. This is not to be confused with crib-work and earth filling done upon a water lot to raise it to the level of the adjoining dry land to render it suitable for the erection of buildings.



A floating object marking the navigable limits of channels, sunken dangers, isolated rocks, telegraph cables, etc.



A person who deals in the selling of provisions, dried stores, etc.



Waters facing the sea.


Amount paid to the adjacent upland owner for his riparian rights, usually an annual fee by agreement.


A steel box of a given measurement used for the carriage of goods, often referred to as a TEU (20ft equivalent). Can be a standard container, usually either 6m or 12m in length (20ft or 40ft), a reefer container for refrigerated cargo, a flatrack standard or collapsible container, or an open top container type.


Logs lost from towed rafts or other wood debris which has become lodged in the sea floor or river bottom. This debris often forms a hazard to navigation.


The depth of a ship in the water. The vertical distance between the waterline and the keel is expressed in metres, except in the USA where it is in feet.




​A post or group of posts lashed together at near top with cable, used for mooring a vessel. The dolphin may be in the water, on a wharf, or on the beach.


Specialized marine facilities used for ship repair. A drydock is usually a floating barge, with doors at one end. The drydock can be flooded and the doors opened to allow ships to enter the drydock. The drydock is subsequently pumped dry, allowing ship repair and maintenance to proceed for the vessel in a dry, controlled environment.

A specialized form of drydock is a "graving dock". While the drydock may be considered a form of vessel, the graving dock is a permanent excavated basin with watertight doors allowing access to the foreshore. The dock can be flooded and pumped dry in the same fashion as a drydock.



An upland area devoted to vertical or horizontal boat storage. The dryland storage area may be used for parking during summer months.




Exposed new land from the sea retreating or receding waters from a change in a river's course. If dereliction is natural, then the new land belongs to the upland owner.


An interest in real property that converys use, but not ownership, of a portion of an owner's property. Access or right of way easements may be acquired by private parties or public utilities. Governments dedicate conservation, open space, and preservation easements.


A floating or stationary wharf designed like the "fingers" of a hand. The design permits boats to enter each finger at an angle, similar to "angle parking".


The shore of the sea, or of any tidal water, that lies between the limits of the high and low water marks at ordinary tides. An area of land that may extend into creeks, channels, bays, estuaries, or up navigable rivers as far as the tide flows; as well as the "sea shore" in common usage. When used in a conveyance, the words "seashore" and "foreshore" have the same meaning.


The distance between the surface and bottom of the river, lake, or channel, or in the case of tidal areas, depth at low tide. The utility of a tidal water lot is strongly related to the freeboard.


A narrow area of filled and stabilized foreshore extending from the shoreline, generally intended to provide calm water in its lee.


The term normally used in respect to tidal waters, but expanded to include the rights concerning land abutting the shore of a sea or a lake. Often used interchangeably with the term riparian.


A term given to marina residents who "live-aboard" their vessel. Live aboards typically pay a special tariff since they produce additional wastes and consume a higher amount of utilities that other moorage tenants. Many local government have strong limitations or restrictions against live-aboard use.


A carriage on rails which extends from the upland into the water. Vessels are maneuvered onto the submerged carriage and secured. The carriage is then winched out of the water into a boat-house or boat-yard for subsequent repairs and maintenance.


Any body of water capable of being navigated by floating vessels of any description for the purpose of transportation, commerce, or recreation. This includes both inland and coastal waters. The final authority to determine the navigability of a waterway rests with the Minister of Transport or his/her designated representative.


The right of navigation is a right-of-way which may be enjoyed in the sea, in tidal and non-tidal water. It includes all rights necessary for the full enjoyment and exercise of the rights of convenient passage, such as the right to pass, to ground, to anchor; to remain for a reasonable time and for purposes of loading and unloading, or completing repairs; or of waiting until the wind or weather or the season permits the ship to leave. The right of navigation is paramount to the rights of property of the Crown and its grantees in the bed of a river, and such property cannot be used in any way so as to derogate from or interfere with the public right of navigation.


A river is non-navigable when its water cannot be used for navigable or wood floatation. In most cases, non-navigable waters can be identified (swamps, creeks, dammed lakes, etc.). In doubtful situations, legal opinion should be obtained.


Waters not affected by tides usually refer to inland waters such as lakes, rivers, etc. An owner of land that normally adjoins a non-tidal watercourse may own the bed of the watercourse up to the centre (ad medium filum aquae) depending on specific title descriptions and conveyancing intent.


A post driven into the sea, lake, or river bottom, to secure vessels, barges, or log-booms. Groups of piles are commonly lashed with cable and covered with galvanized metal to form a "dolphin". Piling may consist of creosote- impregnated timber or steel columns. The steel piles may be subsequently filled with concrete grout to form caissons for supporting concrete or timber decks or foundations. Steel sheet piling is commonly used to provide a stable vertical boundary which can be backfilled with layers of rock and engineered fill.


Pertain to the rights and privileges that are incidental to the ownership of land fronting on a body of water. The rights relating to the land that adjoins or abuts a watercourse or river running between banks.


Blasted, silt-free, angular rock which is deposited onto submerged land to form the basis of filled area or breakwater, or support for a specialized marine structure.


The bed or shore of a lake, river, stream, or other body of water below the natural boundary (high water mark).


Refers to the land area seaward, lakeward, or riverward from the mean high water mark of a body of water.


A term used to describe land which is above water at a normal low tide. The bed of a tidal river normally belongs to the Crown unless it has been granted to a subject.


Refer to rivers affected by sea waters.


Waterfront land located above high water mark.


A property's value in one specific use, as opposed to its value to the "market". If a property's current use is so specialized that there is no demonstrable market for it, but the use is viable and likely to continue, the appraiser may render an estimate of use value. Use value focuses on the value the real estate contributes to the enterprise of which it is a part, without regard to the highest and best use or the monetary amount that might be realized upon its sale.

Utility Value

A term used to describe the value of water lot properties for rent setting purposes accepted in some parts of British Columbia by landlords and lessees. Utility value applies to an integrated use of a water lot with its upland. Its value is determined by applying conventional percentages for categories of use to a zone value of the upland. Zone value is determined by use of a direct comparison approach applied to similar use upland properties for the establishment of an appropriate rate expressed as a price per hectare, square metre, etc. This zone value is applied at varying percentages to various predetermined areas of a water lot in accordance to their relative utility to the upland.


A legally defined area of land covered by water which may be either contiguous or attached to dry land, or may be separated entirely from dry land; may be filled, partially filled, or not filled; or a piece of land normally covered with water at high tide.



See Marine Ways.


Any improvement to the land that cannot be classified as a building, such as roads, sewers, water supply lines, docks, fences, cribbing, retaining walls, etc.


Represents the boundary line dividing actual or theoretical upland lots and

water lots.


Any improvement to the land that cannot be classified as a building, such as roads, sewers, water supply lines, docks, fences, cribbing, retaining walls, etc.

Sonny Ogilvie & The Anchor Team