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TO CONDUCT A DEMARCATION of the coastline: It consists in determining and delimiting the properties belonging to the public domain of the coastline.


DEMARCATION: It is the material act of defining the border of the physical surface of a land plot. This demarcation permits an appropriate separation of properties. In the case of goods belonging to public land, including sea territory and costal land, through the demarcation the administration identifies and differentiates the area belonging to public land from the next area belonging to private property. Those goods included in the public space (earth-sea land) are those described in the following articles 3, 4 & 5 of the Coast Law 22/1988. (Definition from the Environmental Ministry)


GENERAL DIRECTION OF THE COAST: It exercises the authority of the Central Administration with respect to the coastline and comes under the jurisdiction of the Spanish Secretary of Water and Coasts of the Ministry of the Environment. It has the following functions according to the Decree 839/1996 of the 10th May (BOE 11th May of 1.996) and 1894/96 of the 2nd of August, (BOE of the 6th of August of 1.996):

a) The determination of the public territory of the coastline throughout the demarcation proceedings, as well as the adoption of the necessary measures to ensure its integrity and conservation.

b) The management of the coastline, as well as of its control and the control of the legal servitudes under the responsibility of the coast department.

c) The realisation, supervision and control of studies, projects and maintenance activities and conserving and integrating the public part of the coastline and, specifically, the generation and recovery of  beach areas.

d) the functional direction of the Demarcations and Provincial Services of the Coast Department.

e) The exercise of all other duties that are this department’s responsibility in line with current legislation.


PUBLIC PROPERTY: those goods that are included in the nation’s cultural heritage and in accordance with art. 132.1 of the Spanish Constitution, are inalienable and can not be impounded.


COASTLINE, it includes:


a. The area formed in the earth-sea area (coastline) or space made up by the sea including the line that is formed by the high and low tides, and tidehigh marks and flooding areas, as an occasional consequence of storms. This zone includes estuaries and river accesss points.


b. Beaches and areas when sediments are deposited, as the sand, chippings and gravel, including dunes, having or not vegetation, formed by the sea action or by the sea wind, or by other natural or artificial causes.

(the point about the dunes is further developed in the Law to include only the part of the fix dune required to guarantee the stability of the beach and not all the fix dune)


DUNE: it is a sand hill that moves as it is pushed by the winds. You can find dunes on the beach and in the desert. This type of dune is called “alive dune” or “dune in evolution”. (This definition corresponds as well to dune in movement). The dune in movement is in constant evolution, and changes shape according to the wind’s direction.


FIXED DUNE: dunes which are set by the vegetations around them. With time, the dune instability decreases and the dune becomes fixed thanks to the vegetation (ex. Amophila arenaria).