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Charleston tides 101

There is a reason for our beautiful salty marshes

CHStoday tides

Tides changing in and out at Sullivans Island.

Photo by @morgan_civ

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Have you ever noticed we put the daily tides at the top of our newsletter? We are here to tell you why that is.


Tides happen twice a day and are controlled by gravitational pulls from the moon. The gravity from the moon creates a tidal force that advances or recedes the water.

High tide being when the water is pushed by gravity towards the coast. Low tide is when the water is pulled away from the coast.

This happens in Charleston by water being pushed in or out from the beaches and creeks. Think of Sullivan’s Islands and the different shades of sand.

CHStoday tide receeding

The tide rolling in and out at Pitt Street Bridge.

GIF by CHStoday using ezgif


It is said that the best time to fish is when the water is moving between tide change.

According to a local fishing guide“the best time to get out on the water is about two hours after low tide.”

This is because the bait is pulled out off the marsh at low tide towards the mouth of creeks making the larger fish congregate by the creek opening.

Alternatively, at high tide the bait is pushed into the marsh and this draws the larger fish into the grasses.

CHStoday tidal marsh

We do not want to try navigating this tidal marsh in a boat.

Photo by Sullivan Cox


As the water level changes swiftly it can be easy for boats to run aground. This is because a 6-ft water depth and 2-ft can sneakily look the same out in the marsh.

Docking can also be affected as the current is stronger from the tides changing. Making it more difficult to control the motion of the boat.


Flooding is not a direct effect from tides but they can be a troublesome pair if working together. This can happen if a high tide is paired with a prolonged wind flow that is pushing the water in the direction of shore.

Picture the battery with a tall water level during high tide and the wind is slamming the water onto the battery wall.

While we are by no means tide scientists we hope this local knowledge helped you to learn about our coastline. See you on the water.