12 Different Types of Tides Explained

The names, photos and descriptions of various types of tides.


November 5, 2019

There are all kinds of “tides”—or at least the word tide is used to describe a range of phenomena. In general, the gravitational pull of the moon and sun drives tides, forcing water to rise or fall over a period of time. Current is different, in that current moves water a specific direction, often with help from tide or wind. Check out these different types of tides and names of tides.

Twelve Types Of Tides

Bore Tide

A bore tide produces a wave as it travels upriver. NOAA

Bore Tide: A tidal bore (or simply bore in context, or also aegir, eagre, or eygre) is a tidal phenomenon in which the leading edge of the incoming tide forms a wave (or waves) of water that travels up a river or narrow bay against the direction of the river or bay’s current.

Twelve Types Of Tides

Neap Tide

A neap tide is a weak tide, with little difference between high and low tides over a period of time. Office of Naval Research

Neap Tide: When the Sun and Moon form a right angle, as when we see a half moon, their gravitational pulls fight each other and we notice a smaller difference between high and low tides. These are called neap tides.

Twelve Types Of Tides

Spring Tide

A spring tide is an exceptionally strong tide, with major water level changes between high and low tides. Office of Naval Research

Spring Tide: When the Moon, Earth, and Sun fall in a straight line, which we call syzygy (siz-eh-gee), we notice the greatest difference between high and low tide water levels. These spring tides occur twice each month, during the full and new Moon. If the Moon is at perigee, the closest it approaches Earth in its orbit, the tides are especially high and low.

Twelve Types Of Tides

Rip Tide

A rip tide is better known as a rip current, best explained as water channeling off the beach like a river. NOAA

Rip Tide: A rip current, commonly referred to simply as a rip, or by the misnomer rip tide, is a strong channel of water flowing seaward from near the shore, typically through the surf line. Typical flow is at 0.5 meter-per-second (1–2 feet-per-second), and can be as fast as 2.5 meters-per-second (8 feet-per-second), which is faster than any human swimmer. They can occur at any beach with breaking waves, including oceans, seas and even large lakes.

Twelve Types Of Tides

Low Tide

Low tide is when the water has pulled out of the estuary or river system into the ocean. NOAA

Low Tide: In both senses also called low water.
1. The lowest level of the tide.
2. The time at which the tide is lowest.

Twelve Types Of Tides

High Tide

A high tide is when the water reaches its highest point over a period of time. NOAA

High Tide:
a. The tide at its fullest, when the water reaches its highest level.
b. The time at which this tide occurs. Also called high water.

Twelve Types Of Tides

Brown Tide

A brown tide is a type of algae bloom. NY Sea Grant

Brown Tide: Brown Tide is a bloom (excessive growth) of small marine algae (Aureococcus anophagefferens). Although algae of many types are found in all natural freshwater and marine ecosystems, blooms of the Brown Tide organism literally turn the water deep brown, making it unappealing to swimmers and fishermen alike. While not harmful to humans, the presence of the Brown Tide is a problem for bay scallops and eelgrass, and to a lesser degree other finfish and shellfish. Brown Tide is unlike most other algal blooms because of its unusually high concentrations, the extent of area it covers and the length of time it persists.

Twelve Types Of Tides

Red Tide

A red tide is a type of algae bloom common on the west coast of Florida. NOAA

Red Tide: Harmful algal blooms, (HAB) occur when colonies of algae grow out of control while producing toxic or harmful effects on people, fish, shellfish, marine mammals and birds. The human illnesses caused by HABs, though rare, can be debilitating or even fatal. Many people call HABs ‘red tides,’ scientists prefer the term harmful algal bloom. One of the best known HABs in the nation occurs nearly every summer along Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Twelve Types Of Tides

Crimson Tide

The Crimson Tide is a nickname for the University of Alabama football team. University of Alabama Crimson Tide Athletics

Crimson Tide: Trademarked name for the University of Alabama Athletics.

Twelve Types Of Tides
A semidiurnal tide is a tide occurring twice a day. NOAA

Semidiurnal Tide: These are tides occurring twice a day. This means a body of water with semi-diurnal tides, like the Atlantic Ocean, will have two high tides and two low tides in one day, much like the eastern seaboard of North America.

Twelve Types Of Tides
A diurnal tide only occurs once a day. NOAA

Diurnal Tide: These tides occur once a day. A body of water with diurnal tides, like the Gulf of Mexico, has only one high tide and one low tide in a 25-hour period.

Twelve Types Of Tides
A mixed tide happens when low tide follows two high tides. NOAA

Mixed Tide: Some bodies of water, including most of North America that’s in contact with the Pacific Basin, have mixed tides, where a single low tide follows two high tides.

Learn How Tide Affects Pontoon Boaters
Learn How To Anchor At a Tidal Water Beach or Sandbar
Learn How To Tie Up At a Slip In Tidal Water


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