The Ebb & Flow BLOG

A Conservationist’s Guide to Lowcountry Waterways


As stewards of the Lowcountry’s stunning waterways, we understand the delicate balance between enjoying nature’s wonders and preserving them for future generations. Whether you’re a seasoned angler, an avid paddler, or someone who simply loves to dip their toes in the water, there’s something magical about exploring the creeks, rivers, and marshes that define our coastal landscape. In this guide, we’ll share some tips and tricks from our staff for making the most of your time on the water while ensuring its protection for years to come.

Licenses and Safety First

Before embarking on any water adventure, ensure your boating and/or fishing (freshwater and saltwater) licenses are up to date. Visit the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources SCDNR website to purchase or renew your licenses as needed. Parents: according to SCDNR, boaters under 16 years of age operating, without supervision, a personal watercraft (jet ski) or a boat powered by a motor of 15 horsepower or more are required by law to pass an approved boating education course.

Safety for yourself and others should always be your top priority. Check the tides and weather forecast before heading out, and consider scoping out areas new to you at low tide to familiarize yourself with the terrain- oyster beds and sand bars included!

Leave a Float Plan

Always inform someone of your plans before setting off, whether boating, paddling, fishing, swimming, or beaching. Let them know where you’re leaving from, when you expect to depart and return, and any specific routes or destinations you plan to explore. This simple precaution can be a lifesaver in case of emergencies.

Are you wondering where and how to access the Lowcountry’s waterways? 

Stock Up on Supplies

Stop by local shops like Haddrell’s for bait and other essentials. Pack plenty of water, sunscreen, and snacks to stay hydrated and fueled throughout your journey. And don’t forget to bring a pair of Rheos’ floating sunglasses to protect your eyes from the glare of the sun dancing off the water. Lowcountry Land Trust partners with local outfitter Vapor Apparel to offer UPF 50+ sun shirts – check them out by clicking here—a portion of your purchase benefits Lowcountry Land Trust. 

Stay Informed of Local Water Quality

Charleston Waterkeeper’s alert system is a valuable resource for anyone looking to enjoy the cleanest waters in the area. Before fishing or swimming, check this website for the latest updates on regional water quality and potential hazards.

Practice Courtesy and Respect

Be courteous to fellow anglers and boaters on the water. Avoid crowding popular fishing spots, move slowly through ‘no wake’ zones and near boat ramps, and be mindful of others’ space and privacy. If you find yourself in a crowded area, consider it an opportunity to expand your horizons and explore new territory.

Embrace Eco Exploration 

One of the joys of exploring Lowcountry waterways is discovering hidden gems off the beaten path. Instead of relying on others’ favorite spots, embrace the thrill of finding and figuring out new locations for yourself. Always be mindful that you’re the visitor in various coastal species’ habitats, and approach each new area with caution and respect for its ecology. Think like a fish, observing current direction, tide levels, and other environmental factors to increase your chances of discovery, fun, and a successful day on the water. 


Navigating the waterways of the Lowcountry is a privilege and a responsibility. By following these tips and embracing a conservationist mindset, you can make the most of your outdoor adventures while preserving our coastal ecosystems’ natural beauty and integrity. So grab your gear, chart your course, and embark on a journey of discovery and stewardship throughout Lowcountry waterways.