South Carolina's Flagship University

Regulatory Pathfinder
for Coastal Development in South Carolina

Nationwide Permit # 36 - Boat Ramps

Boat ramps may be eligible for a federal streamlined permitting process under NWP #36.

It may be worthwhile to contact the Corps office to discuss your project if you have any questions.

Boat ramps must meet both federal and state requirements. All boat ramps must meet the following state standards:

  1. Boat ramps are to provide water access to those who do not otherwise have access by a dock, pier or marina;
  2. Unless no feasible alternatives exist in non-vegetated wetlands, vegetated wetlands cannot be filled or excavated for purposes of constructing boat ramps. If filling or excavating is allowed it must be limited to what is reasonable for the intended use;
  3. Boat ramps must be constructed of environmentally acceptable materials and demonstrate sound design and construction so the ramp is reasonably expected to be safe and effective and minimize adverse effects;
  4. Boat ramp locations that require dredging or filling of wetlands to provide deep water access, parking areas or associated facilities are not permitted, unless no feasible alternatives exist and environmental impacts are minimized;
  5. Public use boat ramps in easily accessible areas (bridges, existing abandoned causeways or other areas) are encouraged if the areas comply with other applicable regulations;
  6. Priorities for boat ramp construction in environmentally sensitive areas are as follows:
    1. First priority goes to public use ramps that are open to all citizens;
    2. Then priority goes to restricted use ramps only open to citizens of a particular area or organization;
    3. And finally priority goes to to private use ramps for only one citizen or family.
  7. If private use is necessary, the ramp must, whenever feasible, be located where the least environmental impact will accrue and cannot be wider than 12 feet.
  8. (S.C. Code Regs. 30-12(B))

Last Updated October 29, 2010


This project was supported through a generous grant from the South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium. The principal investigator is Professor Kim Diana Connolly at the University of South Carolina School of Law. Two law students, Keith Bartlett and Valerie Cochran, provided invaluable work toward project completion. Technical assistance with web design was provided by USC School of Law webmaster Tobias Brasier. Broken links should be reported to lawweb@law.sc.edu. This website is NOT intended as legal advice, and particularized analysis by professionals should be sought wherever appropriate.