General notes about tidal streams


Tidal streams – Where the tidal streams are semi-diurnal information regarding them is usually given, in a convenient part of the chart, in tabular form or by notes, special symbols being inserted at the positions to which the information refers.  In certain cases, where the information available is incomplete, the streams are indicated by means of arrows.

There are many places where the tidal streams cannot be predicted by reference to the tide at a Standard port.  Although no data for predicting the times at which they flow is given, their general direction is, in many cases, indicated by arrows on the charts.  For a few of the straits and channels, where these conditions exist, tidal stream predictions are given in Admiralty Tide Tables.

Tidal streams, particularly if rotary, may vary considerably both in direction and rate; predictions of the stream must therefore always be considered approximate.

The turn of the tidal stream is not usually coincident with the times of high and low water; in fact, though in estuaries, harbour entrances etc., the stream usually turns at about the times of high and low water, in open channels, and along open coasts generally, the turn usually occurs more nearly at half tide.  Predictions of the times of high and low water must therefore never be used as predictions of the times of slack water.

It should be remembered that, even where the general direction of the stream is parallel with the shore, an indraught is usually experienced when crossing the entrances to bays and inlets.


Adapted from Admiralty Sailing Directions, English Channel, 1947

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