South Carolina's Flagship University

Regulatory Pathfinder
for Coastal Development in South Carolina

Applying for a Permit to Build a Marina

To apply for a permit you should include, plan for or consider the following:

  1. You must submit an Operations and Maintenance Manual. The Manual must comply with these rules and must contain this information.
  2. Adverse impacts should be minimized by utilizing prooper location and design features. A comprehensive site plan showing the location and number of all water-dependent and upland facilities such as parking and storage must be included with the permit application.
  3. You must institute and submit the results to OCRM a water quality sampling program prior to performing construction. The sampling must be done at your expense by an OCRM certified laboratory. A decline in water quality will require remedial action. Click here for more requirements on water quality management and water quality monitoring reports.
  4. A stormwater management plan for the marina and associated parking areas and runoff from the permanent spoil disposal area and adjacent highland development must be submitted and approved in writing by OCRM prior to any construction.
  5. If your marina will be in waters classified for shellfish harvesting you can request that the DNR comment in writing as to whether the area around the proposed marina is suitable for the natural growth and propagation of shellfish. The permit cannot be issued until OCRM seriously considers the DNR's comments and OCRM determines the natural propagation of shellfish is precluded by the natural physical conditions surrounding the proposed marina. The DNR's comments will be based on the following criteria: a) intertidal bottom types; b) density of naturally occurring oyster beds; c) presence or absence of significant subtidal oyster populations; d) water depth; e) oyster population elevations; f) salinity regimes; g) presence or absence of significant clam populations; h) potential expansion of existing natural oyster beds through cultivation; i) potential of shellfish production with non-traditional methods; j) current shellfish management and water quality classifications; k) any other factors relating to the area's natural physical conditions as determined by the DNR, including whether the area can likely support the natural growth and propagation of shellfish in the reasonably foreseeable future. The DNR retains the ability to comment on your entire permit application.
  6. If constructing the marina will affect shellfish areas OCRM has to consider the rights of the lessee, if applicable, the public, and any possible detrimental impacts on shellfish resources.
  7. If your proposed marina is not a dry storage type you must show why a dry storage facility is not possible in whole or in part. Infeasibility is possible if the applicant seeks a facility for large boats that cannot be accomodated in a dry storage facility or if there is inadequate upland space for the facility.
  8. Maintenance dredging schedules and dredged material disposal sites must be included in an application, when applicable.
  9. Adequate parking for marina users must be shown- either as one parking spot for every 3 wet and/or dry slips or the number of spaces required by local government parking regulation, whichever is greater.
  10. Mooring fields are encouraged instead of pierheads and floating docks when the size of the waterbody and other site conditions allow. The mooring fields must comply with these conditions.

S.C. Code Regs. 30-12(E)(1) and (2).

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.