Spring High Tides – Getting the Most Out of the Tide Chart

photo by Terri Thomas | post by Jenny Stein

When it comes to keeping track of high (and low) tides we’re fortunate to be in close proximity to the Bay Model. We can use the Army Corps of Engineers’ data without having to add or subtract (I can never remember) the 20 minutes (or is it 10?) differential when viewing tide times from the Golden Gate Bridge.

Spring high tides over the next few weeks will occur at night—affecting those working the night shift or returning home in the wee hours—and impacting Commodore the most. If you haven’t previously explored the tide chart in the Floating Times, here is an orientation and a few pointers (working left to right and top to bottom) to expand your use of the tide chart as a tool:

  • the date and time, and below that the Day button, with and + buttons to move ahead and back, in 24-hour increments
  • the rising and falling arrows, pointing up and down to indicate the direction the tide is moving
  • the tide Level—marked in feet—and the Rate or change of level— marked in feet per hour
  • the location where the data is gathered—in this case the Bay Model
  • times for both the next high and the next low tides occurring in this 24-hour period
  • and a map (touch to expand) to show various tide data locations—zoom in to see the Bay Model and then to return to the chart, touch the Bay Model location
  • the tide chart showing a 24 hour period—from midnight to midnight—with time indicated along the bottom, and tide level along the side
  • a semi-transparent white circle with a crosshair—think of it as your cursor. This is an interactive tool that allows you to move the circle along the tidal wave (I made that up) to see where the tide will be at any given time of the day. Click and hold to move the circle, and notice the time and tide arrows change to correspond with where you are on the rising and falling tides

How is this helpful?

  • Use this tide tool when moving large items in or out of your home—knowing when high tide (or low, as the case may be) occurs will enable you to arrange for a fridge to be delivered when the ramp to your home is at its most level. Changing the Day button and moving the circle allows you to pick that best date and time.
  • Using the Day button, you can identify periods of consistently low tides (handy for hull work) or daytime high tides (handy for work requiring the home to be floating).
  • You can see at a glance when the next unusually high tides (6 feet and over) will occur.
  • Note: you’ll need to refresh the Floating Times page to see where the tide is at any given moment (the tide chart is updated frequently) or simply move the circle along the plotted tides to bring the data into real time.

To see several days at a row, up to a maximum of 31 days, visit NOAA Tide Predictions (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and either scroll to, or search for: 9494819 (Sausalito COE Dock, S.F. Bay, CA).

High Tide dates for the coming weeks:

Wed, May 16 thru Sat, May 19 and again Fri, May 25 thru Mon, May 28

Note that even without rain and low pressure systems we can still experience flooding. If you are parked either at Gate 6 1/2 along the waterfront or in those few spots where A Dock parking abuts that of Yellow Ferry, take the precaution to move your vehicle.