Multi-use (MU) has been promoted as a viable approach to the effective planning and mitigation of user-conflicts in the marine realm. Despite several research and pilot projects demonstrating the approach’s feasibility and benefits, commercially viable MU applications remain patchy and few. Further, MU is neither systematically applied nor purposively planned for even in the imminent event of incompatible and conflicting use of marine space. This paper seeks to identify barriers and opportunities for mainstreaming MU based on desktop study and iterative stakeholder consultation. The findings reveal that the MU concept was frequently framed as ‘co-location’ or ‘co-existence’ and aimed toward mitigating conflict among users. Practice was ahead of theory with little attention to synergistic and efficiency aspects. Barriers for MU application include shortcomings in legislation, sectoral thinking, and burdensome administrative procedures. The main opportunity lies in creating a conducive policy environment where MU risks and transaction costs become low and competitive, respectively. Solutions at the sea basin and national level, upon which further MU application can be anchored, are proposed.