South Carolina’s beaches are dynamic places, some beachfront shorelines accrete or gain sand while other shorelines erode. The coastline changes over time due to tides, waves, currents, tropical weather systems, as well as beach use and maintenance activities. South Carolina Code of Laws § 48-39-280 requires DHEC to establish and periodically review two beachfront jurisdictional lines. There are two beachfront jurisdictional lines - the baseline and the setback line. The baseline is the more seaward (towards the ocean) line, while the setback line is the landward (towards the land) line. The purpose of these lines is to delineate the extent of DHEC's direct permitting authority for activities within the beach/dune system critical area, and enable DHEC to implement laws and regulations that support the state's beachfront management goals, and protect vulnerable shorelines and natural ecosystems within this critical area.
It is also important to be aware that in addition to the beach/dune system critical area, there are two other beachfront critical areas in South Carolina, beaches and coastal waters, in which DHEC has authority to review activities. DHEC staff are available to assist citizens in understanding the lines and the authorization process associated with specific property and specific activities within all of the beachfront critical areas.
The jurisdictional lines create a state jurisdictional area for the beach/dune system critical area, where activities associated with habitable structures, pools, erosion control structures, renourishment, landscaping, fencing, decks, service lines, and others are reviewed through authorization and permitting processes. Repairs, reconstruction, and new construction are allowed under certain conditions and with authorization by DHEC.
South Carolina law requires DHEC to establish and review the position of the beachfront jurisdictional lines every seven (7) to ten (10) years. The average annual erosion rate for all oceanfront land that is developed or potentially could be developed is also reviewed during this time frame.
Upcoming Jurisdictional Lines Review - 2024
The next jurisdictional lines review cycle will kick off in 2024. DHEC will release a tentative schedule for line establishment and adoption in the first quarter of 2024.
This line review will be a phased effort that will occur between 2024 and 2027.
There will be many opportunities for public education and engagement.
Please refer to this webpage for the latest updates and information.
For Property Owners
To assist property owners in understanding the location of the jurisdictional lines on their property or an area in which they are interested, DHEC developed the Beachfront Jurisdictional Line Viewer. This viewer illustrates the approximate locations of the jurisdictional baseline and setback line statewide. Please note that to determine the exact position of jurisdictional lines for a given property, coordinates must be obtained by downloading data from the Beachfront Jurisdictional Line Viewer and a property-specific survey must be performed. Coordinates can also be obtained by calling DHEC at (843) 953-0200.
Proposed activities within any of the state’s beachfront critical areas should be coordinated with DHEC to determine if notification or an individual permit application is necessary. Please be aware that there may be critical areas landward of the jurisdictional setback line that may also require authorization and coordination with DHEC. Staff are available to assist property owners in understanding these requirements.
For Land Surveyors
Survey packets with coordinates are available through the Beachfront Jurisdictional Line Viewer. There is a single survey packet for each beach, which contains the coordinates for the baseline and setback lines. This survey packet also contains a pdf file of the beachfront survey monuments that are maintained by DHEC. Please be aware that the coordinates provided in the spreadsheets may not be in order north to south; users should download and utilize the full spreadsheet to ensure that no coordinates along the baseline or setback line are missed.
The baseline and setback lines are in State Plane NAD83 (2011).
The beachfront survey monuments are in State Plane NAD83 (2011) International feet.
- Beachfront Jurisdiction Line Viewer (includes survey packets with coordinates, line reports, shoreline change rates, and GIS data)
- Beachfront Jurisdictional Line Revision Process - (video)
- The South Carolina Coastal Zone Management Program - Statutes, Regulations and Enforceable Policies
- Final DHEC Decision on Remand - Docket No. 18-ALJ-07-0023 – Edisto Beach (120, 204, 402, 512, 610 & 612 Palmetto Blvd)
- Final DHEC Decision on Remand – Docket No. 18-ALJ-07-0023 - Edisto Beach (1002 & 1006 Palmetto Blvd)
- Final DHEC Decision on Remand – Docket No. 18-ALJ-07-0047 - Kiawah Island (Captain Sams Spit)