What is a Seawall?

Florida is fortunate to have droves of people leave their cold and land-locked states to revel in our sunny skies and the singular beauty of our waterfront properties. The one disadvantage to area newcomers is learning about the marine structures that potentially impact the security of these real estate investments.

Just as you would hire a home inspector to ensure the integrity of a property’s HVAC system and its insulation, in addition to scrutinizing for roof leaks, etc., so it should be with the structures that ultimately protect waterfront property from the water itself.

Besides careful awareness of the condition of decks, docks, and boat lifts, a seawall is the structure that needs to be particularly durable. While they can be repaired, it is the wise homebuyer who will have it professionally inspected prior to purchase.

What is a Seawall?

It is an embankment that defends the shoreline from erosion and potential flooding. While there is typically a coastal defense solution in place for seaside towns, a private seawall will provide that extra layer between your land and the water.

You could say a seawall is simply delaying the inevitable, but when you live waterfront, these are steps essential to co-exist with nature; learning to respect boundaries so to speak.

Seawalls are not necessarily going to prevent high waves and subsequent flooding in very severe weather, but they help prevent natural sand and soil erosion. They can even provide a surface area perpendicular to itself that can be used for other purposes: like strolling along the coastline, taking in the Florida sunshine from a lounge chair, and enjoying a favorite local pursuit like fishing.

The marine construction industry offers a variety of materials that can be used. Design alternatives also lend themselves to creating unique looks and styles to suit the locale and the property itself. More traditional (and older) seawalls are constructed from large rocks and pebbles, while contemporary seawall construction incorporates materials like concrete, vinyl, metal, and/or a combination of all of the above. Woods and plastics are always an option, but should be used judiciously as they are not necessarily the most resilient — unless they are appropriately treated and of high quality.

Additionally, depending on the natural formation of the coastline, the area’s climate, and its tide, seawalls can be designed to be curved. This helps retard the water’s energy to facilitate wave breaking. They can also be straight, have multiple layers, and even slope to the water’s edge with a blanket of stones, adding to the natural beauty while still serving to impede destruction.

Installing and/or Properly Maintaining a Sound Seawall is Probably One of the Best Investments You Can Make for Your Waterfront Home


  • Serve as an embankment
  • Prevent soil erosion
  • Increase coastal defense

If you have ever been fortunate enough to appreciate water views from your own home; you know that it takes some maintenance and attention to marine structures to preserve and protect them.

If you are buying a waterfront home, we strongly suggest having it professionally inspected to ensure you are not inheriting breaches of any sort. Contact us for more information about how we can give you the peace of mind you should expect from a waterfront lifestyle.

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