Including sea-level rise (SLR) projections in coastal adaptation is increasingly recognized as crucial. Here we analyze the first global survey on the use of SLR projections comprising 253 coastal practitioners engaged in adaptation/planning from 49 countries with time frames of 2050 and 2100. While recognition of the threat of SLR is almost universally recognized, only 71% of respondents currently utilize SLR projections. Generally, developing countries have lower levels of utilization. There is no global standard in the use of SLR projections: for locations using a standard structure, 53% are planning for a single projection, while the remainder are using multiple projections, with 13% considering an unlikely high-end scenario. Countries with long histories of adaptation and consistent national support show greater assimilation of SLR projections into adaptation decisions. This research proves insightful for improving sea-level science, and informs important ongoing efforts on the application of the science which are essential to promote effective adaptation.