Seawalls on Coastal South Carolina

There’s nothing quite like living along the coast. Unfortunately, as with anything else, the best things in life pose a few challenges. Have you experienced erosion? Have you noticed any flooding around your property? If so, it may be time to invest in a seawall. A seawall is a structure separating land and water areas. It is designed to withstand severe wave action, as well as storm surges. The purpose of a seawallis to protect areas of human habitation, conservation, and leisure activities from the action of tides and waves. They form a barrier and minimize the waves energy, and “redirect” the waves back to sea – aiding in the protection of the land.

This blog will focus on two types of erosion control methods – Vertical and Riprap Embankments.


Those who grew up near the water know exactly what riprap is. Chances are, you’ve probably climbed over it a few hundred times in your life. Riprap is an erosion resistant ground cover made up of large stones (rock/concrete) with geotextile or granular layer underneath. When choosing an erosion control method, it is essential to consider the body of water it will border. Factors like location, soil, size, depth, salinity, town ordinances, and currents, all play a major role in shore line stabilization.

Riprap is the ideal material to go with when dealing with salty seas. This material has a more “natural look” and is able to withstand high pressures of water. Riprap guides and absorbs the water rather than reflect it – posing a more friendly approach. This helps keep the dirt at the bottom of the wall from eroding away and allows the wave to complete its motion without having to deflect the energy elsewhere. Speaking of friendly, riprap is great friends with mother nature! It provides a habitat where marine life can hide, eat, rest, attach, and even grow. What’s better? It requires far less maintenance and the materials are readily available. It is important to keep in mind that riprap is not the solution to everyone’s waterway though. Those that experience frequent flooding/strong waves are likely to choose another option. Read on to see a few of the other materials available to you in building a seawall.


As the name implies, vertical seawalls are essentially a vertical wall built to keep the high energy of the waves from eroding the shorelines. These seawalls are usually best for the areas that have larger waves for longer periods of time however, they have been used under different conditions. While they do prevent the shoreline from being eroded, these seawalls take quite the beating and may need repairs and maintenance over time.

There are several different material options for vertical walls. Although we are capable of installing many of these options, we have focused on three in particular. Those being: aluminum, timber, and vinyl.


Aluminum is a great option to choose if there are obstructions in the way such as tree roots, rock, or even clay. This material has the strength to be driven deep down through most of these road blocks while remaining light enough to install without heavy equipment.


Timber is amongst the most common of materials Carolina Dock and Marine has used in building a seawall. It is mainly used when dealing with tidal properties that do not require the strength or corrosive resistance that other properties may require. Although the cost is a bit cheaper than most in the short term, it may cost a decent amount to repair and maintain over the years. You’ll want to keep this in mind when choosing the material for your wall.


Any seawall comes with a cost. However, vinyl proves to be cost efficient now, and in the future. It is a lower investment upfront (as compared to others) and typically doesn’t require much maintenance. It’s also proven to survive 30-50 years! This material can be used in numerous marine projects – residential, commercial, and municipal. It is lightweight, making for an easy install and there is less machinery needed on site. It is sustainable, long lasting, and as mentioned earlier, cost effective. This material is also resistant to harsh UV rays which means less deterioration in the future. Unlike riprap and timber, vinyl seawalls do not offer an attractive living space for marine life. They typically do not cling to this material which may result in less damage overtime.

As you can see, there are numerous options present when choosing the material for your seawall. We have only listed a few, but there are multiple other choices available. It is essential to have a professional come out and take a look at your property before going about your research. They will be able to best recommend an option that’s right for your location/needs. Contact us at Carolina Dock and Marine today to get the show rolling!

We look forward to hearing from you – Call us today at (843) 557-1234!