An experimental investigation of coastal erosion generated by the action of regular and irregular waves was carried out in laboratory channels. Natural beach sand, with medium diameter of 0.35 mm and specific gravity of 2.63, was used in this study. A 1:5 initial beach slope was selected for the model tests. Different wave groups were generated over the initially flat beach, and the characteristics of coastal erosion geometry such as erosion lengths, erosion depths, location of maximum erosion point, and total erosion areas were measured. The most important parameters governing coastal erosion were evaluated by using earlier investigations and experimental results. These parameters were expressed as a dimensionless group by using pi theory. The empirical relationships between the geometric characteristics of coastal erosion and the dimensionless group are proposed through regression analysis for pure regular waves, pure irregular waves, and regular-irregular waves. The parameters, which were used to define geometric characteristics of coastal erosion, were evaluated and some ratios of these parameters gave a constant value. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.