On a popular travel site, a visitor from the Midwest asked the local volunteers why information about tides was included in so much media. He or she wanted to know why we needed this information and what we did with it.
The king tides this week reminded me of that conversation and what I learned as I read the replies. Here's a king tide post with photos from Universal Hub. Here's another.
Unlike some bodies of water with minimal tides, we can have some pretty substantial changes in water depth when the tide flows in and out. Above is a house we rent on Provincetown Harbor, pictured at low tide. You can see the marks on the seawall and on the piles that support the deck showing a more than 12-foot change in water depth.
Here is what happens to that sandy stretch alongside the house at high tide.
Add a storm and you had better be prepared. Here's a post we wrote after spending a stormy day in this house:
Boaters Need to Know the Tides
When you are at the helm of a boat, you had better know the tides. In some cases, your boat may be aground for part of the tidal span. Or you may have to anchor it in a part of the harbor that is deep enough to allow it to float even at low tide.
You also need to check your charts and know the depth of your keel to know where you can and cannot go on a given tide. For many years, we sailed on a catamaran that allowed us to pull up the dagger boards and slip over sandbars that would ground other vessels.
If you paddle your boat or row the direction of the tide in or out, it will make your workout harder or easier.
Many of the people who provide us with all that delicious New England seafood depend on tide charts and tide reports to schedule their workdays. The same is true for contractors who work on seawalls and piers.
Some beaches, like those on Provincetown Harbor, are better for walking at low tide than swimming. Our dog Poppy loves to walk the beach. At high tide, we take her to the stairway and show her that instead of sand at the bottom of the steps, there is water half way up the flight. We schedule her longest walk of the day for low tide.
Climate Change and Real Estate
As waters rise, the potential maximum high tide surge is becoming an issue in real estate matters. The FEMA flood plane maps have recently been revised and requirements for flood insurance will follow those guidelines. Property values in areas impacted by increased storm surges will eventually change. You want to know all about the tides in any area where you might be considering a purchase of property.
Your links to Tide Information
NOAA provides tide charts on the web at this site.
My preferred information source is a Tide App for my phone. In fact, I have two installed. I use TideApp most often because it is simple and clear and gives me a calendar that I can use to plan ahead for sailing, clam digging, or walking Poppy on the beach.
I like Tides Near Me because it gives me a map option to help pinpoint the tide measurement station.
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Words: Penny & Ed Cherubino
Photography: © 2016 Penny & Ed Cherubino