Maine tides are like Maine weather, constantly changing. Mainers who depend on the water need to know the ebb and flow. For your Maine vacation, its good to know the tides when you go to the beach or launch a kayak. Lobstermen, fishermen, sailors and even surfers carefully track the ever-changing tide charts in Maine to properly plan and navigate their trips.
It is important for visitors to Maine to take a careful look at the local tide charts before planning any swimming, paddling or even a picnic at the beach. Your beach chair could be swept away by the rising sea water if left unattended below the high water mark.
Tidal ranges can vary greatly along the Maine coast, with 9-11 foot ranges in the Southern Maine Coast area all the way up to 19-foot ranges in far north towns near Canada. The Bay of Fundy, located on the northeast end of the Gulf of Maine, is known for having the highest tidal range in the world of up to 50 feet!
Since tides are caused by the gravitational pull of moon, there are certain times of the month when tides are greatly affected, sometimes astronomical tides will put boats in the mudflats at low and tug on dock lines at super high tides. Spring tides occur twice a month, right after a full or new moon, and increase the tidal range. Neap tides decrease tidal range and occur twice a month, at first or third-quarter moon.
For sailors, it is important to understand tides when anchoring. Be aware of other boats in the area and anticipate the changing tides before dropping anchor. Surfers in Maine will enjoy large waves at many Maine beaches when the tides are just right. Experienced surfers know when the best waves are, but simply reading a tide chart will tell you all the information you need to know. Local surf shops offer lessons with professionals who can also advise you of the best time to grab your board.
If you are launching a kayak or canoe, go with the flow in tidal rivers and waterways, but time your return too, you don’t want to run out of water or to be paddling against the current.
Whatever water activity you choose for your Maine vacation, be sure to check the local tide charts first to avoid any problems, grab your life jacket or surf board and head on out to the Maine waters!