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University of Rhode Island — Marine Affairs
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MAF 220 - Introduction to Marine and Coastal Law
Course Information

Professor: Dennis Nixon
Semester: Fall
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: N/A

Catalog Description: Lecture

Course Goals & Outcomes

By the end of the semester students will be able to understand basic principles of marine and coastal law in the United States, including the integration of the coastal zone, outer continental shelf, fisheries, marine pollution, and admiralty laws.

Class topics:

  • Ownership and Boundaries of Submerged Lands
  • The Public Trust Doctrine
  • Riparian Rights and the Navigational Servitude
  • Public Access to the Shoreline
  • Regulating Development in the Coastal Zone
  • State/Federal Regulation of Fisheries and Indian Fishing Rights
  • Marine Mammals
  • Admiralty Law
  • Marine Pollution
About The Professor

Professor Dennis Nixon is an internationally-known expert on marine law and has been honored for his work for the American Academy of Underwater Sciences as a legal advisor to the group. For more than 20 years, Nixon has served as Legal Counsel and Risk Manager for the University National Oceanographic Laboratory System. He has provided legal advice for the U.S. academic oceanographic research vessel fleet in its entirety and for the National Science Foundation. Nixon's areas of specialization include coastal zone law and management; fisheries law and management; marine pollution law; and admiralty law including marine insurance.

Reasons To Take This Course

Have you ever wondered why you have rights to access a beach in one state but not another? What really happens to the parties involved in an oil spill after the media stops talking about it? What happens when your beachfront property "disappears" to erosion? If you have ever thought about any of these questions or have a burgeoning interest in marine law, you should take this course.