Thursday, October 24, 2013

Importance of Knowing Tide Schedules

When spending time on the coast one cannot ignore the daily effects of the tides that roll in and out a few times throughout the day. In fact, the low country tides hit their “highs” and “lows” twice a day.  Science tells us the ebb and flow of the tidal water levels is nothing more than gravitational influences of the sun and moon. It can be really important to know the approximate times during a twenty four span as to when tides are peaking or at the lowest point. Let’s put the science of gravitational pull aside for a minute and understand how the tide can impact our day at beach and having fun on the water.

Going to the Beach at low tide

Be alert to daily tide schedules and plan your trip accordingly. If you are looking for lots of beach space to play bocce ball, volleyball or build a sand castle, then you may want to consider going out to the beach when tide is low. The downside to going to the beach at low tide is that you will have to walk a lot further to the water’s edge to get your feet wet! You may also have to swim out quite a ways to get to get into the deeper water to body surf or use a wave board.  On the flipside, another beach benefit to low tide can be those leftover tide pools that often leave behind sea treasures and occasional critters such as a horseshoe crabs, fish, and plenty of shells. These small pools also can be ideal places for young little swimmers to cool off without fear of getting knocked over by waves in the ocean.

Going to the Beach at high tide

Going to the beach at high tide can also be eventful, but exercise caution. High tide may bring the water’s edge all the way up the entrance to the beach or sand dunes. That doesn’t leave much room for spreading out a spot on the beach and planting your chair and umbrella. The high tide can also bring about more turbulent waves with potential for dangerous rip currents.

Dolphins Behavior and Tides

Tides can also influence dolphin and fish movement between the ocean and inter coastal tributaries. In Kiawah, the tidal schedule does not necessary mean more or less dolphin sightings in the Kiawah River.  However, a low tide may increase potential to see dolphins pursuing smaller bait fish by beaching themselves on river banks and strand feeding.  While I have witnessed dolphins escorting kayaks and canoes on the river, I have not had the luxury of witnessing a dolphin feeding on the banks.

Boating and Tides

Fisherman and pleasure boaters departing inter coastal docks in the direction of the ocean should also be familiar with the tide schedule.  Not being familiar with tide levels during the day and evening can be challenging when navigating under bridges, over sand bars, and through narrow channels. 

For future reference, I added a link on this site to monitor daily tides whether in Kiawah or anywhere  in U.S.

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