Track the Waves with our Sarasota Tide Chart

Track the Waves with our Sarasota Tide Chart

Sarasota is one of the most beautiful places in Florida, if not the world. What makes it beautiful, of course, is access to Gulf waters for boating, swimming, snorkeling, and exploring. Anyone experienced with water and boating or swimming is likely familiar with tidal action and tracking tides. For the rest of us, it can be a bit confusing. Let’s learn a bit about why tide charts are, why they are important, and how to read them when venturing out into the Sarasota tide.

What Are Tides?

Tides are the result of ocean water or lake water being impacted by the gravitational pull of our sun and moon. The earth rotates which causes gravitational effects. Tides are measured as the height of the water surface at a particular point on the shoreline. In essence, it is the level of water moving towards the shore. Many factors influence tide including water depth, weather conditions, and the coastline to name a few. It is important to look at a Sarasota tide chart to get a feel for what tides are doing on any given day and know what to expect.

What Impacts Tides?

Tides are impacted by the weather but also vary from coast to coast. In Sarasota where weather is calm most of the year, it is still impacted by the gravitational pull of the Earth and changing of seasons. Storm season is one of the most impactful in Sarasota in terms of tides. Tides are higher when Earth is closer to the moon and when the moon and sun align, tides are strong. More than people realize, gravitational pull impacts tides everywhere, even Sarasota. Here in the northern hemisphere, tides are lower in winter and higher in summer. 

Types of Tides

Three different types of tides exist. Learn a little about each as it relates to reading tide charts:

  • Semi-diurnal: two high tides and two low tides each lunar day (most common)
  • Diurnal: one high, one low tide per lunar day
  • Mixed tides: two high tides, two low tides of differing heights each lunar day

It is important to know what type of tide is happening when heading out into the waters as it may impact activities and safety while boating, swimming, or enjoying the open water.

How Tides Are Charted

Tide charts exist because people read the data coming from fixed stations along the coast. Stations have names and are located by coordinates. A gauge is used to record water levels using ‘the mean sea level as a reference point. These gauging stations are maintained by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service (NOAA). In Sarasota, there are several stations dotted along the coast. Tide gauges take measurements at 6-minute intervals with each measurement having over 100 water level samples taken at one-second intervals. This constant reading of the water helps develop tide charts. Read here for more information on their locations. 

Sarasota’s Unique Tides

Florida’s west coast experiences a mix of diurnal and semidiurnal tidal patterns. When they occur together, there may be days with one or even five tides. Some are unequal in height which gives the higher and lower high tides or even higher and lowers low tides to mix things up a bit. To make boating safe, navigation charts show depths relative to the mean or averages of lower low tide. The average level of near-shore Gulf changes month to month. February is the lowest and late September to mid-October is the highest. Seasonal winds factor into things in and around Sarasota. Winds from the north and east drive water out of rivers and bays with west or south winds pushing water inland. This is important when planning excursions, beach days, and adventures out into the water. A great time to look for clams is in winter following a cold front when sand bars are filled with them.

The rarest and most extreme sea level is a hurricane storm surge. Although rare, it is important to understand how weather impacts water surges, and storms, in general, play a key role in whether people will be venturing out that day into the water.

Trip Tips from our Blog

American Restaurants in Sarasota

American Restaurants in Sarasota

Restaurants serving American food in Sarasota offer some of the best cuisines in Florida. Want to eat near the...

Read More

Bad Things About Sarasota, Florida

Bad Things About Sarasota, Florida

Sarasota is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Florida. Living here is a dream for many people...

Read More

Best Nightclubs in Sarasota, Florida

Best Nightclubs in Sarasota, Florida

Sarasota is a whole scene, from shopping to beaches and places to drink, dance, and dine. There is nothing...

Read More

Best Parks in Sarasota

Best Parks in Sarasota

Florida can be quite hot in summer but offers temperate weather the rest of the year. While tropical storms...

Read More

Best Restaurants in Lido Beach

Best Restaurants in Lido Beach

Dining out on Lido Key is a real treat for visitors and locals alike. From the fantastic ocean views...

Read More

Best Seafood in Siesta Key

Best Seafood in Siesta Key

One of the best things about Siesta Key is the scenery and abundance of fresh seafood available day or...

Read More

Best Siesta Key Nail Salons

Best Siesta Key Nail Salons

When looking for the best Siesta Key nail salon, there are many to choose from but a few standouts....

Read More

Best Spots for Breakfast in Siesta Key

Best Spots for Breakfast in Siesta Key

Siesta Key is a relaxing paradise. Situated on the Gulf Coast, it offers sun and sand every day for...

Read More

Best Sushi in Sarasota

Best Sushi in Sarasota

Traveling to Sarasota is an exciting adventure. There are sandy beaches, blue waters, and inviting restaurants to choose from....

Read More

Best Things to Do in Sarasota on a Rainy Day

Best Things to Do in Sarasota on a Rainy Day

A rainy day in Sarasota can feel like a day lost on the beach. Rain doesn’t come as often...

Read More