How to Read a Tide Chart Easily

How To Read A Tide Chart
4 Min Read
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Tide charts are great tools for predicting the weather. They show the direction and strength of the wind and waves. A tide chart shows the height of water at various times during the day. 

The height of the water indicates the level of the sea or lake. If the water rises, then it means that the tide is going out. Conversely, if the water falls, then it means that it is rising.

But how do we read tide charts ? They can be tricky for beginners to understand and many of us end up stressed, overwhelmed, and not sure what to do!

Well, no more! Today, we are here with all the answers you need! Keep reading to find out how to read a tide chart and what are tide charts and everything else you need to know about them!

What Causes Tides?

Tides are caused by the gravitational pull of the moon and sun. Tides are affected by the position of the moon relative to the earth. This is called its phase. During this period tides rise both high and low. A high tide occurs when the moon’s gravity pulls more seawater into the ocean than can be displaced by the normal tidal force.

A low tide occurs when the normal tidal force exceeds the moon’s gravity in displacing the water from the surface of the ocean.

The tidal range varies between different localities because of differences in distance from the coastlines and prevailing winds. It also depends on whether they are in a current-induced basin or not. In addition, the depth of an area is also important.

Factors Affecting Tides

Tidal ranges differ according to:

  • Local time zone 
  • Time of year – Water levels change throughout the year due to seasonal changes in temperature, rainfall, and solar radiation.
  • Location – Both landmass elevation and proximity to large seas and bodies of freshwater will influence how much the ebb and flow tides vary over time.
  • Oceanic currents – These affect the amount of water transported in each direction.
  • An area with no current will experience small-amplitude tidal variations.
  • An island or peninsula will have higher tides closer to it than it does away from it
  • A straight or narrow channel near shore will cause strong tidal variation.

In areas of strong tidal currents like coastal regions, there may be a discrepancy between the time of high tide and low tide. This is known as a slack tide, meaning that the difference in tide is less than what would normally occur at that location.

How Do We Predict The Next High Or Low Tide?

Like all natural phenomena, tide predictions are made possible through research, data collection, and analysis. By studying the patterns of past tides, we can get a good idea of future ones. Understanding these patterns helps us identify any anomalies and understand why they happen. 

Scientists use scientific instruments to collect data on the movement of the tides. They record the high and low tides and calculate the times and heights of significant phases of the tides.

They also measure the speed of the flow. From their data, scientists build models that describe the physics of our oceans and predict future tides.

There are various ways to map the tides. One way is to use a tide table. Enter the city name, state, zip code, and date. Click “tide forecast,” then compare the results to see if they match. If the prediction matches, that means that the pattern of the tides is similar to other locations nearby.

An alternative approach is to use software programs such as tide charts. Just enter your exact address and the program will generate a graph showing both the rising and falling periods of the tide. 

You can zoom in and out to make sure you know when the waves are hitting exactly where you live.

You can find information about the most recent tidal observations on NOAA’s Tides page. 

How To Read A Tide Table

How To Read A Tide Table

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A tide table is an easy-to-use tool that helps people plan their trips to the beach. The tides change throughout the year, and this guide tells you when the high water is coming. It also gives you information about how much time you need to arrive before the tide changes again.

A tide table lists the date, time, and predicted high and low tides for a given location.

Tide tables are useful tools for predicting when the tide will be highest or lowest. Tides affect people as well as marine life. Knowing what to expect helps swimmers avoid getting trapped in dangerous situations. 

Surfers use tide charts to plan their trips to the ocean. Fishermen use them to determine if fish will be caught. Boaters need to know the tide schedule before heading out into the water.

Tide tables are usually divided into columns representing different times of the day. Each column represents a certain hour. To use them effectively, you need to know when you’ll be going out to the beach, and then look up the appropriate hour. 

For example, if you wanted to know the high tide for 8:00 AM tomorrow, you would search for the word “tomorrow” in the first column of the table, and then look down to see that it says “8:00 AM”. Then you would look in the second row to find that it says “high tide”.

Tide tables measure the height of seawater relative to a fixed point called Chart Datum. A tide table shows the times of high tide and low tide. You can use this information to plan your activities around the tides. High tide occurs when the sea level rises higher than the chart datum. 

Low tide occurs when the sea falls lower than the chart datum, or zero. The difference between high and low tide is called the range of tides.

High tide values are greater than low tide values. High tides occur when the water level reaches its highest point. Low tides occur when the water levels reach their lowest point.

A tide chart gives information about the times when tides occur. You should know if it’s an early or late tide. You might also learn about the intervals of waves or the direction of the swell. They give information about the time of high or low tides, and how much water levels rise or fall. 

A tide table usually includes the date, location, and height of the tide. 


Remember, you need to be careful when reading a tide chart because it changes every day. Make sure that you use the most recent tide table available. Also, tide tables are just predictions. There are many factors affecting tides. Always exercise caution when near the water.

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