Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Tide


Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Tide

Most visitors to Ocean Isle Beach come from destinations far inland. The beach is a magical place, full of sun, sand and fun. However, many visitors are often curious about the ocean's tides. The first time you see the tide go out or come rushing in you can't help but be impressed by the ocean's power. But what are tides? How do the tides work? What influence do they have on the local area and beaches? Well, you are in luck. This week we answer those questions and a few more, making you one step close to being a beach expert. 

Yes, there is a schedule.

Many visitors quickly notice that the tide appears to have a schedule (and they do). In coastal areas like Ocean Isle Beach, there are two high tides and two low tides every 24 hours and 50 minutes. It takes 6 hours and 12.5 minutes for the ocean to transition  from high to low tide, and the same applies from low to high tide. 

How do I know when the tide is changing?

There are many different ways to know when the tide is changing, but tide charts are by far the easiest. With the advent of smartphones, anyone can have tidal charts for any location at any time at their fingertips. There are also several websites that post the tide charts. Additionally, many local bait & tackle shops on Ocean Isle Beach will list the daily tide changes. As you spend more time at the beach (hint, hint) ... you will get accustomed to noticing the signs that the tides are changing. 

How tides work.

To discover how tides work, we need to check with the experts at the National Geographic Society. 

The moon’s gravitational pull on the Earth and the Earth’s rotational force are the two main factors that cause high and low tides. The side of the Earth closest to the Moon experiences the Moon’s pull the strongest, and this causes the seas to rise, creating high tides. On the side facing away from the Moon, the rotational force of the Earth is stronger than the Moon’s gravitational pull. The rotational force causes water to pile up as the water tries to resist that force, so high tides form on this side, too. Elsewhere on the Earth, the ocean recedes, producing low tides. The gravitational attraction of the Sun also plays a small role in the formation of tides. Tides move around the Earth as bulges in the ocean.

Source: The National Geographic Society 

Rip currents are not tides

Rip currents are a common hazard on every beach in the world, and knowing how to deal with them is important. With a little observation and preparation, a rip current will be nothing more than something to talk about. However, for those with kids or who are new to the beach, knowing how to deal with a rip current is vital. Watch this video to learn all about rip currents. It is also a good time to swim on over to our previous blog post: Beach safety 101: Safety Tips for your Ocean Isle Beach Vacation to learn more valuable safety lessons. 

Just remember: rip currents are not tides and behave very differently. 

Types of tides

Did you know there are three types of tides? 

1. Diurnal tides: gravitational tides which cycle once per day

2. Semidiurnal tides: gravitational tides which rise and fall twice a day

3. Mixed tides: gravitational tides during which one of the high tides is much higher than the other

Here on Ocean Isle Beach (and much of the East Coast of the United States) you will find Semidiurnal tide cycles .


There is still time left to book an Ocean Isle Beach vacation. We have a great selection of homes to choose from. Don't forget that late summer and early fall are some of the best times of the year to plan an Ocean Isle Beach vacation. Book today by calling us at 800-727-9222 or click the button below. 

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Tide

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