BOATING WITH BARB: Tides and Currents – the motion of the ocean

Barbara Thompson

Special to The Record

Just imagine this: I was lazing in the cockpit of our sailboat anchored in a small bay near Tree Island.

The sunlit waves had lulled me into a potato chip stupor, while I squinted at a nearby pleasure boat, maybe a 24-footer, much closer to shore, with no one on board. Then I noticed a line from the bow of the powerboat tied to a log on the beach. I thought, astutely, that log looks small, and soon after, that log is moving. Yes, the log was now floating alongside the boat, free of the shore. Then boat decided to leave with the log. Together, they had found love and they were heading out to sea with the help of the bay’s strong and obliging current.

We all know ocean water moves around. It’s the speed and power that catches us by surprise. By simple definition, the tides go up and down and currents move back and forth. We know the gravitational tug-of-war between the sun and the moon on the earth, predictably as day and night, raise and lower the ocean levels twice in a 24-hour day. Currents, however, are influenced by a variety of forces: tide, weather, temperature, salinity, ocean floor and land features, and they can be surface or deep, global or localized. Currents are described in three ways: set, rate, and drift. Set is the direction, rate is the speed, and drift is the distance your boat and log will travel over a period of time.

Fan through Port and Passes 2020 Tides & Currents, Washington Inside Waters, British Columbia, & Southeast Alaska; this easy-to-use spiral-bound text tells you what the ocean is doing and when and where it plans on doing it. Or you could download and print specific area tables from the Fisheries and Oceans Canada website below. Also free are multiple cell phone applications, like My Time Tides or Tides Near Me. Larger devices, like Garmin chart plotters, can offer as much data about the water under your boat as your wallet is deep. There’s never been such a wealth of free information about tides and currents, print or digital, to lower risk. Of course, there’s always the old-fashioned yell, “Hey Mister, your boat’s gone!”

https://www.waterlevels.gc.ca/eng

Boating

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tailgate Troubadours perform for Comox Valley shut-ins during pandemic

When playing music with others is your main entertainment and diversion, and… Continue reading

Courtenay volleyball star added to Olds College roster

Gracie Walls of Courtenay has been recruited to play on the women’s… Continue reading

Tofino woman’s plan for medical school nearly derailed by health crisis

Tofino resident/North Island College alumna Nora Morrison is heading to the University… Continue reading

NIC online marine training accessed by mariners across the country

NIC was among the first post-secondary schools to receive approval for digital marine courses

Sale of Vancouver Island’s most remote pub falls through

Beloved Holberg pub and restaurant The Scarlet Ibis is back with previous owner

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

North Island-Powell River MP blasts government, VAC for benefit delays

Some injured service men and women have applied for the Canada Emergency… Continue reading

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Okanagan home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

Beloved Island woman dies at 106

Dorothy Adair adored by the many people she met in Chemainus in two short years

Man arrested for allegedly pushing unsuspecting seniors, jumping on cars at Parksville mall

Cops arrest man after ‘aggressive incident’ at Wembley Mall in Parksville

Most Read