Luminescence dating techniques have been applied to a range of different types of coastal and marine deposits, involving a variety of depositional processes and environments, as a means of addressing an assortment of local, regional and global themes. This review provides a brief historical background of 30 years of luminescence dating applied to coastal and marine sediments, followed by a discussion of some of the luminescence dating highlights for nine major regions of the world. A literature review of ∼200 readily accessible peer-reviewed journal publications is summarised in a table and studies that have made some methodological advances when applying luminescence techniques to coastal and marine deposits are discussed in detail. Where possible, a specific theme is explored for each region. Potential pitfalls and future prospects of luminescence dating applied to coastal and marine sediments are also considered.