The first comprehensive attempt to zone mainland Portugal's shoreline began in 1993 with legislation which created Shoreline Spatial Plans (POOCs). The shoreline was subdivided into nine segments and between 1998–2005, the corresponding POOCs were developed and approved. POOC implementation was perceived as having contributed to improve the overall quality of the coastal area, but systematic/quantitative attempts to evaluate their implementation's success focused solely on rates of financial execution and on governance/procedural aspects. Evaluations did not answer if or how POOC implementation has been successful, i.e., if implemented measures actually contributed to attainment of POOC's objectives. An overview is given of the first generation of POOCs and of the main evaluations performed. The significance of comprehensive evaluations is discussed and reflection presented on the importance of a prospective view in development of second generation plans. A set of recommendations for shoreline spatial planning is proposed based on Portugal's POOC experience.