Permitting Process

We eliminate the headaches of the permitting process

The dock permitting process can be a bit overwhelming. We are committed to staying up to date on all regulatory and subdivision changes affecting Lakes Keowee, Hartwell, and surrounding lakes. We understand the different processes and can take care of the permitting process from start to finish, making it hassle-free for you. Give us a call at 864.882.7671 and we will take care of all of your permitting needs.

Permit FAQ

We’ve summarized information for the most common questions we receive about permits below for convenience. Duke Energy has all of this information and much more on their website (

Anyone desiring to construct or make changes to a pier/dock or shoreline stabilization within the project boundary of a Duke Energy-owned reservoir must first obtain written authorization from Duke Energy Lake Services prior to beginning any construction.

In certain areas, additional permits and approvals may be required. Be sure to review the “Additional Information and Application Requirements” and obtain any necessary approvals prior to submitting an application to Duke Energy Lake Services

How do I apply for a permit?
Print out the permit forms or submit them electronically, including the Construction Application and User’s Agreement, at Duke Energy Lake Services website You’ll also see a list of other items you’ll need to include with your permit there. Or call and ask them to mail you a permit package 1-800-443-5193. We handle permits and permitting issues on a daily basis, and provide permit assistance as a standard part of our customer service.

When should I apply for a permit?
You’ll need to apply for a permit before doing any of the following: building a new dock; reconfiguring, relocating, modifying, or expanding an existing dock; shoreline stabilization. Failure to get a new permit may result in delays, suspension/cancellation of approved applications, increased fees, modification/removal of the non-complying structure, and/or withdrawal of permission to have a dock on the particular lot.

How much does a permit cost?
As of July 1, 2022, fees are:

  • Boat Dock Permits $350, plus the Habitat Enhance Fund fee of $500
  • Shoreline Stabilization Permits $350, plus the Habitat Enhance Fund fee of $500
  • If you are planning to have both dock and riprap work done within the next 12 months, you may apply for both at the same time to save $350 and avoid paying the Habitat Enhancement Fund fee twice. When you apply for both at the same time the total fee is $850.

Permit fees for requests that are denied are refunded to the applicant.

How long does it take to get my permit back once I submit all my information?
Response times vary depending on what you’re applying for and time of year. Our experience is that it takes about 4 weeks to get a response on dock permit applications and about 6 weeks on shoreline stabilization

How long do I have to put my dock in place after I receive my permit?
Permits are valid for one year from the date on the approval letter and the dock must be installed within that time frame. Failure to install will result in the need to reapply for a permit.

Do I need to apply for a permit if I plan on installing a boat lift or PWC lift?
A boat lift is allowed within a slip of the dock without a permit. Dock owners are also allowed up to two PWC lifts along the side of a dock without a permit. Boat lifts installed on the outside of the dock will require a permit.

How do I determine the length of walkway I request?
Water depth and minimum boat lift operation depths are two main factors to consider when requesting a walkway length. Docks may extend up to one-third the distance to the opposite shoreline (1/3 of the cove). Duke Energy will provide the maximum length of walkway you will be allocated through the permitting process, but it is a good idea to have the water depth measured 30 feet, 40 feet, and 60 feet from the shoreline so that an accurate request may be made.

What is the maximum size dock I can have installed if I have less than 100 feet of shoreline?
That depends on when your lot was subdivided and recorded. If you have at least 75 linear feet of shoreline and the lot was subdivided and recorded prior to September 1, 2006, you may be allowed to construct up to 10 square feet of dock for every linear foot of developable shoreline. If you less than 75 feet of shoreline but you lot was subdivided and recorded before June 1, 1996, you are also eligible for 10 square ft of dock for every linear foot of developable shoreline. There is a maximum limit of 1000 square foot that applies to all docks no matter what the linear shoreline.

What is included in the total square footage for a dock on Lake Keowee?
The total square footage is calculated by the dock, including the roof, and walkway size. You may have up to 2 slips. A total of two PWC docks or lifts are allowed in addition to this maximum but do not count towards the square footage.

*More information on Duke Energy’s Shoreline Management Plan is at Contact Duke Energy Lake Services to speak with a Lake Services Representative at 800.443.5193 or