King Tides Initiative | South Carolina Aquarium

King Tides Initiative

Apr 25

King Tides Initiative

The South Carolina Aquarium is honored to work with the S.C Department of Health and Environmental Control on their South Carolina King Tides Initiative, an initiative to document the effect that extreme tide events have on our state’s beaches, coastal waterways, private property and public infrastructure.

The term “King Tide” is a non-scientific term used to describe the highest seasonal tides that occur each year. For example, in Charleston, the average high tide range is about 5.5 ft., whereas during a King Tide event the high tide range may reach 7 ft. or higher.

The effect of individual King Tides may vary considerably. In some cases, they may barely even be noticed. In other cases, a King Tide may cause coastal erosion, flooding of low-lying areas and disruption to normal daily routines. This is particularly true when a King Tide event coincides with significant precipitation because water drainage and runoff is impeded. Over time, the frequency and effect of King Tide events may increase due to gradual mean sea level rise.

DHEC needs your help to capture photographs of King Tide events. Please see below for a list of upcoming King Tides and then use DHEC’S mobile app on MyCoast:SouthCarolina to submit pictures from your smart phone.

  • May 5-8
  • June 3-6
  • July 2-4
  • September 15-21
  • October 15-20
  • November 13-18
  • December 12-16

Please refer to the DHEC Tide Chart for specific times.

DHEC will evaluate your photographs and include them in its long-term analysis of coastal vulnerability and planning initiatives with municipalities. DHEC may also use your photographs in presentations, publications, and on its website.

Tips for Effective King Tides Photos:

  • Take pictures at or near peak high tide.
  • Take pictures where the impact of the tide can be gauged against familiar landmarks like buildings, roads, sidewalks, parking lots, jetties, bridges, sea walls, shorelines, or bulkheads.
  • Taking contrasting shots of peak high and peak low tides helps to show the tidal variability.
  • Be Safe! Use good judgment when you are taking your photos. Stay away from dangerous situations particularly in stormy conditions and avoid taking risks.

Be on the look-out for the Aquarium’s King Tide photos! We’ll be documenting King Tides at the Aquarium as well as notable spots around Charleston.

For more information, please visit DHEC’s website.

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