Fishing - Saltwater Fishing Licenses

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What saltwater recreational fishing license requirements have changed?
  2. When do I need a saltwater recreational fishing license?
  3. Do all recreational saltwater fishing activities require a license?
  4. Does my senior license cover shore fishing in salt waters?
  5. Does a disability license cover saltwater fishing?
  6. Does gigging from a boat or by walking require a license?
  7. Does everyone in a seining or gill netting party need a license?
  8. Does anyone on a dock where fishing is occurring need a license?
  9. Under what circumstances do I need a license to catch crab?
  10. Do I need a license to throw a cast net for bait?
  11. What are the prices of the saltwater fishing license?
  12. Does my senior license from another state allow me to fish in South Carolina?
  13. When does the new law go into effect?
  14. If I am a licensed charter boat captain and I take friends out for pleasure on my boat that is used for charter fishing and no fee is charged, do all the anglers over 16 years of age need a saltwater fishing license?
  15. If I buy a yearly saltwater fishing license does it expire June 30th or will it expire one year from the date I purchased it?
  16. Do I need a saltwater fishing license to fish on the beach?
  17. Where can I purchase a saltwater recreational fishing license?
  18. Why were changes made to SC’s saltwater fishing license program?

1. Q: What saltwater recreational fishing license requirements have changed?
     A: Individuals recreationally fishing from shore (beach, bank, private dock, free public pier, etc.) and those recreationally shrimping and crabbing will be required to have a saltwater recreational fishing license.

2. Q: When do I need a saltwater recreational fishing license?
     A: Anyone 16 years old or older who is fishing from shore, boat, private dock, free public dock or while wading requires a license. This includes fishing with a cast net, seine net, and a commercial style crab trap (two traps per person recreational limit).

3. Q: Do all recreational saltwater fishing activities require a license?
     A: No, anyone fishing aboard a hired charter boat or from a licensed commercial public fishing pier does not need a license. Additionally, anyone fishing with three or fewer drop nets, fold-up traps, or hand lines with bait attached for crabs does not need a license (chicken necking).

4. Q: Does my senior license cover shore fishing in salt waters?
     A: Yes.

5. Q: Does a disability license cover saltwater fishing?
     A: Yes.

6. Q: Does gigging from a boat or by walking require a license?
     A:Yes. All forms of gigging require a license.

7. Q: Does everyone in a seining or gill netting party need a license?
     A: Yes. Each person 16 years or older in the party will be required to have a license.

8. Q:Does anyone on a dock where fishing is occurring need a license?
     A: Anyone actively fishing will need a license. This includes anyone holding a fishing rod, or retrieving a hand line, crab trap, cast net or any other fishing device other than those specifically exempted (3 or fewer drop nets, fold-up traps, or hand lines for crabs).

9. Q: Under what circumstances do I need a license to catch crab?
     A: Recreational crabbing with commercial style traps (two traps per person recreational limit) and if using more than 3 fold up traps, drop nets, or hand lines with chicken necks.

10. Q: Do I need a license to throw a cast net for bait?
       A: Yes.

11. Q: What are the prices of the saltwater fishing license?
       A: An annual saltwater recreational fishing license is $10 for residents and $35 for non-residents. 14-day saltwater recreational fishing licenses are $5 for residents and $11 for non-residents.

12. Q: Does my senior license from another state allow me to fish in South Carolina?
       A: No.

13. Q: When does the new law go into effect?
       A: Yes.

14. Q: If I am a licensed charter boat captain and I take friends out for pleasure on my boat that is used for charter fishing and no fee is charged, do all the anglers over 16 years of age need a saltwater fishing license?
       A: Yes. A charter boat is defined as a vessel under hire. If it is not under hire, it is not legally a charter boat and all aboard must have a personal fishing license.

15. Q: If I buy a yearly saltwater fishing license does it expire June 30th or will it expire one year from the date I purchased it?
       A: Your license expires on June 30th, regardless of the date it was purchased.

16. Q: Do I need a saltwater fishing license to fish on the beach?
       A: Yes.

17. Q: Where can I purchase a saltwater recreational fishing license?
       A: Saltwater recreational fishing licenses can be purchased online; by telephone, 1-866-714-3611, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; or by visiting SCDNR license sales agents across the state.

18. Q: Why were changes made to SC's saltwater fishing license program?
       A: Changes to SC’s saltwater recreational fishing license will provide better information about recreational catch, which will lead to better management of SC’s valuable marine resources. With the license changes, SC anglers will simply need to purchase one license to fish anywhere in both state and federal saltwaters. (For certain offshore species, a federal permit will also be required.)