How Does A Tide Clock Work?


The story behind this clock.

Tides punctuate the lives of surfers, sailors, fishermen, and all ocean lovers. More than a clock, it is a way to stay connected to our playground. A vintage tide clock found in a flea market gave us an idea… To design a modern and original one. The Salty Tide Clock was born. Let's find out how this decorative object allows you to stay connected to the ocean, no matter where you are.

Aloha brown tide clock

What is a tide clock?

More than just a clock.

The ability of this clock to connect us to the ocean may indeed seem strange, after all you may think it is just a wooden object with hands that turn. It should be noted that this clock, contrary to what its name might suggest, does not tell the time. It is directly linked to the tides and therefore indicates the high and low tide and you can admit it living at the rhythm of the tides is much more fulfilling. A tide clock is therefore an object that informs you about the tides.

Let's take an example, I want to surf at Boynton Inlet, South Florida. I know that the best time is at low tide. By looking at the tide clock I can know when the tide will be low and therefore when I should leave.

How to read the clock.

black psyche tide clock

The clock has two parts, the left part informs about the high tide and the right part informs about the low tide. Two indicators are placed respectively at noon and at six o'clock. Then, numbers from 1 to 5 are visible in each of the two parts. They represent the time left before full high or full low. If our clock shows the number 3 on the right side of the clock, the tide will be low in 3 hours. By contrast, when the hand points to 2 on the left side of the clock, the tide will be high in 2 hours. The clock works like a countdown between the different tides.

How to set up a tide clock?

Understanding the tides.

Tides are the short-term periodic rise and fall of the world’s oceans. They result from the gravitational interaction between the Earth, the Moon and to a lesser extent, the Sun. Gravity from both the Sun and the Moon pull water across the Earth’s surface. Just as the Earth pulls water downwards (in waterfalls, for example), the weaker gravitational pull of the Sun and Moon pull water sideway across the Earth. The side of the Earth closest to the Moon has the strongest gravitational attraction towards the Moon whilst water on the other side of the Earth experiences a weaker gravitational force. A convenient concept is to think of the tide generating forces causing an ovoid of water, aligned with the position of the Moon, enveloping the earth (although this is an over-simplification and such a bulge does not exist in nature). According to this model, there are two bulges of water (high tides) divided by troughs of water (low tides) around the Earth.

Tide

A technical view of the clock.

The coastal style wall clock work with a quartz mechanism set on a semi-diurnal periodicity: 12h 25min. This corresponds to half of the lunar day and thus to the average time between two high or low tides

How to link the clock to the tide.

 Step 1 - Find the right time.

Google the next high tide time in your area. If possible set the tide hand at high tide during a full or new moon.

Step 2 - A history of precision.

Sync the tide clock to the current high tide time. Kai Lenny's collection of tide clocks are very precise and accurate once they are set on time.

Step 3 - The height of success.

That is it. You are ready to go surfing, sailing or fishing, or to feel the breeze of the Ocean simply from home.

Bonus step - The most complex one.

Do not forget the batteries...

Atlantic coast tide clock

Are tide clocks accurate?

For the most accurate tide timekeeping, set your tide clock at the exact time of high tide on the day of a full moon. If the tide clock is set correctly on the day of the full moon it will display the minimum error throughout the entire month. Usually the discrepancy will be less than 30 minutes and therefore will be unnoticeable. Typically, only four or five days each month will have a difference as great as an hour. Different parts of the world experience different tidal regimes.

On the Atlantic coast, there are mostly two high tides and two low tides each day: this is called a semi-diurnal regime.

On the Pacific coast, we have a mixed semidiurnal tidal cycle : two high and two low tides of different sizes every lunar day. Now you know everything about our clocks and how they work. You no longer have excuses for missing the perfect session.

two models

Don't hesitate to look at the different models of tide clock to choose the one that will best fit your interior decoration. If you want to learn more about our other products, discover the manufacturing secrets of our surfboard coffee tables here.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q.1 What do I do if my Tide Clock readings don’t match the actual tides?

A. For the most accurate tide timekeeping, set your tide clock at the exact time of high tide on the day of a full moon. If the tide clock is set correctly on the day of the full moon it will display the minimum error throughout the entire month.

Q.2 How to read the tide clock if you are a non-surfer?

A. Ocean tide clocks are easily readable. The clock has two parts, the left part informs about the high tide and the right part informs about the low tide. Both sides have 1 to 5 on each side with a High tide sign at 12 o’clock and Low tide sign at the 6 o'clock position.


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