Keeping an eye on the ocean : how to read tide times ?

Reading tide charts has never been so easy !

It is not easy to organise sea trips or seaside activities without consulting the tide times before. But where to find tide-related information and how to encipher it ? If you are asking yourself these questions, this article will help you better understand tide times. Put your glasses on as we are about to tell you everything about them !

Tide times in a few points

Remember, last summer, the time when you so wanted to do some inshore fishing but did not manage to do any because it was high tide ? It is not going to happen this year ! This is why it is essential to consult tide times when you plan beach or sea activities.

Not checking on both high tides and low tides is indeed a good way to have your plans cancelled, but above all it puts your life in danger. Indeed, tides can be mighty and dangerous, thus one ought to make sure all the lights are green to enjoy the seaside fully.

How to know if it is high tide or low tide ? Tide times tell you exactly at what time high tides and low tides will take place. Remember that there are two high tides and two low tides in 24h. No need to say that it remains essential to check on tide times in order to fully enjoy the best time of the day when you practice your favourite water activity.

Where to find tide times ? Today, it is very easy to find tide times. You no longer need to get to the closest port to get a tide table, many tools are now easily available. Either you are the connected type or keen on design objects, there is for sure some kind of supports adapted to your needs, may they be material or digital, to show you tide times : online or modernised hard-copy calendars, mobile applications or even tide clocks. The choice is yours ! 

calendrier des marées

© clip clop

prédictions marées

© Joan Ang Design

Tip : Make sure you select your reference port as tides differ from one place to another.

Reading tide times on a calendar 

Now that you have found the tide table related to your location, let us see together how to decipher all the information it contains.

Tide calendars are a support that lists tide-related forecasts for the port of your choice. These forecasts are generally calculated for a full year by oceanographers. What information can you find on your tide calendar?

To illustrate our explanations, here is a part of a tide chart.

tide chart

© beach of Brighton

As you probably noticed, there is a lot of information about tide curves. In addition to showing you tide times, tide tables also indicate you the water heights related to all tides, as well as the moon phase and tide coefficient depending on the type of calendar you are using. Some of this information might not concern you and the water activity you do but for some other activities it turns out to be essential. For instance, water height is some important information to know especially when it comes to boat trips.

To help you read tide times, we will interpret together some data on this tide calendar. Let us pick Thursday October 1st for example, we can notice that the first low tide will take place in 4h43mn and will be 1,1 metre high. As for high tide, it will happen at 11.03 AM and will be 6.4 metre high. Do you get it ?

You may ask yourself what the moon has to do with a tide table? To enlighten you, we invite you to read our article on the tide phenomenon. In other words, the attraction of the Moon onto the Earth plays a major role in their formation. It is therefore important to associate the moon calendar with the tide one as the moon cycle influences tides' strength. This is why, during full moon and new moon periods, we record the tides' largest amplitude and the highest tide coefficient (above 70), those tides are called "spring tides". This phenomenon can be explained by the way the stars are positioned. Indeed, the Earth, Moon and Sun are on the same axis. At these periods, you can notice that the curve waves more importantly.

Are you still a bit lost with all the information you can find on the tide calendar in front of and you may not even need to know the tide times a week or a month ahead ? With the tide clock, a simple glance is enough to know right away, or for the time to come, what the state of the tide is or will be.

tide clock

© Studio 255

Want to know more about the use of a tide clock ? Discover right now how to read its face.

Now, you will not miss your next boat trip, inshore fishing, surf session or beach walk, ever again. You will always be on tide time !