The coastline changes over time due to ocean currents, tropical weather systems as well as beach use and maintenance activities. South Carolina Code of Laws § 48-39-280 requires DHEC’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management to establish and periodically review beachfront jurisdictional lines. There are two lines of beachfront jurisdiction - the baseline and the setback line. The baseline is the more seaward (towards the ocean) of the two jurisdictional lines, 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 defined beach and beach/dune critical areas. South Carolina’s beachfront jurisdictional lines enable DHEC to implement laws and regulations that support the state's beachfront management goals, and protect vulnerable shorelines and natural ecosystems.
It is important to understand that the jurisdictional lines do not create a "no-build" area. Repairs, reconstruction and new construction are allowed under certain conditions and with authorization by the Department. DHEC staff is available to assist citizens in understanding the lines and the authorization process associated with specific property and specific activities.
South Carolina law requires DHEC's Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management to establish and review the position of the two lines of beachfront jurisdiction 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.
Notice of Established Jurisdictional Lines - 2018
On May 3, 2018, Act 173, the Beachfront Management Reform Act, was signed by Governor Henry McMaster. The Act established the position of the jurisdictional baselines and setback lines for the 2018 establishment cycle. As a result, the 2018 jurisdictional baselines and setback lines established by the Act do not move landward from their positions set during the 2008-2012 establishment cycle.
Act 173 established the baseline location as the most seaward location of either the baseline established during the 2008-2012 establishment cycle, or the baseline proposed by DHEC on October 6, 2017. Similarly, Act 173 established the setback line as the most seaward location of either the setback line established during the 2008-2012 establishment cycle, or the setback line proposed by DHEC on October 6, 2017.
Act 173 also provided guidance to DHEC for the implementation of future line review processes, which will be initiated on or after January 1, 2024.
For Property Owners
South Carolina’s beaches are dynamic places, some beachfront shorelines accrete or gain sand while other shorelines erode. Establishing and reviewing these jurisdictional lines provides protection of vulnerable shorelines and natural ecosystems. 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 a tool, the Beachfront Jurisdictional Line Viewer. This viewer illustrates the approximate locations of the most seaward jurisdictional baseline and setback line on your property. 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 activity within the state’s beachfront jurisdiction 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 is available to assist property owners in understanding these requirements.
For Land Surveyors
There is now a single set of beachfront jurisdictional lines available from DHEC.
Survey packets with coordinates are available through the DHEC Jurisdictional Line Viewer, available at https://gis.dhec.sc.gov/shoreline/.
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 OCRM.
The baseline and setback lines are in State Plane NAD83 (2011).
The beachfront survey monuments are in State Plane NAD83 (2011) International feet.
- Presentation: Beachfront Jurisdictional Line Review - (pdf)
- S.C. State Beachfront Jurisdictional Line Revision Process - (video)
- S.C. Beachfront Jurisdiction Viewer (includes survey packets with coordinates, line reports, shoreline change rates, and GIS data)
- 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)