Crown land is located along all major waterways including South Australia’s coastal land, river banks and other navigable waterways.
The government aims to promote free and unrestricted right of public access across all waterfront Crown land.
Both the banks and the bed of the River Murray is Crown land and is subject to the rules that apply to Crown land and may subject to native title.
In a majority of locations, this is an area of approximately 30-50 metres from the water’s edge, but may extend further inland where there is a significant wetland, swamps or conservation areas.
However, there are a few areas where private ownership exists to the water’s edge.
All structures and infrastructure items built or installed on Crown land requires authorisation. These may include pumps, pipelines, boat ramps, jetties, pontoons, permanent boat mooring and retaining walls for erosion purposes.
Permission for these structures may be provided if they comply with the department’s Crown Land River Structures Policy through the issue of a licence to occupy.
If a Crown water frontage licence is issued, the public still retains the right to enter and remain on the land for some recreational purposes.
Some structures erected under licences issued by the former Department of Marine and Harbours still exist, however not all of them comply with the current licence assessment rules. These structures have been allowed to remain, although a number of licences in this category are deemed to be non-transferrable. This means any non-complying structures will need to be removed when the adjoining landowner wishes to sell the private land associated with the licence, at the licensee’s expense.
The construction of jetties or other similar structures, including boat ramps and retaining walls, will only be permitted on Crown land where appropriate tenure has been issued. This is usually in the form of a Crown lands licence.
A Crown lands licence will not be granted without development approval. To obtain development approval contact your local council.
Find out more about developing on Crown land.
You may moor a houseboat for a temporary stay of up to 21 days on Crown land.
The permanent mooring of houseboats on Crown land is not permitted, except where authorised by the appropriate tenure or in a designated marina.
Some parts of the river are held under freehold title to the water's edge. You are not permitted to moor a houseboat in these locations without the permission of the land owner.
For more information about houseboats in South Australia, contact the Houseboat Hirers Association.
Coastal or riverbank protection works
The construction of structures for coastal or riverbank protection will only be permitted on Crown land where appropriate tenure has been issued. This is usually in the form of a Crown lands licence.
A Crown lands licence will not be granted without development approval. To obtain development approval you should contact your local council.
Contact the Coast Protection Board for further advice about coastal protection works.