The Supermoon and Tides

Tides are at the greatest range near a full or new moon and these are called ‘spring tides’. This is when the sun and moon’s gravitational forces work together on the world’s oceans.

There was a ‘supermoon’ recently. A supermoon is the nickname of the pairing of two common events: a full moon and lunar perigee, when the moon is at its nearest point in its orbit of Earth.

A supermoon means we will see a slightly larger moon. But it only appears 14% larger than when it is furthest away and appearing its smallest – at apogee – so only approximately 7% larger than average.

When we combine the moon being unusually close and near full, we get a double impact on tides. The high will be abnormally high and the low abnormally low.

This of course means that more water is flowing through the same places than normal. And this means flows will be near the fastest they ever reach, halfway between high and low tide.

When gauging water flow, it takes a lot of practice to spot changes of speed in the water itself. Unless water is flowing over shallow bed, the surface will only show changes in flow when passing obstacles or when there is a breeze over the surface.

For a quick, easy check the best thing to do is look for obstacles in the water. Anything that resists this flow of water will show the speed and power of the water much more clearly.

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How to Navigate Using the Sea

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