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Explaining Tidal Differences


There is quite a lag between time of high and low tides and time of the change in direction in some of the favorite local haunts. The time of tide is the time that the water is highest or lowest, while the time the tide turns can be much different. In some places, the high and low tide correspond with the change in direction but lag considerably behind the tide at Sandy Hook. Sandy Hook is generally the reference point as to tides in this area. Here's a few places, let me know if you'd like some more.

Point Pleasant Canal: Tide is almost 3 hours later than Sandy Hook. So, whatever time high is at the Hook, add 3 hours and that's the tide at the canal. However, the water is highest when the tides half way in, and the lowest when the tides half way out. Go figure, that's just the way it is there!

Highlands Bridge: Tide is between 1 1/2 to 2 hrs later than the Hook, even though the Hook is right at the base of the bridge. The lag between high tide and high water is about the same as the difference. That is, the water will be going out for about 1 1/2 hours while the water is getting deeper. Ditto for the incoming tide.

Rumson Bridge: Tide is about 2 1/2 hours later than the Hook. Strangely, the water stops getting lower when the tide stops going out. Ditto on the incoming tide.

All these tides are affected by the wind, sometimes the tide will lag even more, rarely will it turn in time less than the ones I have posted here. The reason why it's important to know when the water starts getting deeper even though the tides still going out will be obvious the first time you are on a bar far from land and realize the waters getting deep quickly even though the tides still headed out!

NOTE: These numbers do not agree with all the printed tide charts but are far more accurate, even in their vagueness. I know, I check my watch a lot and I have the tide portion of the watch set for Sandy Hook, so if my watch says it's 1 1/2 hrs out at the Hook and the tide just stopped at the Highlands, then that's the difference, not some hooey printed by NOAA.


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