The quirks of winter boating are something that make many new boaters cock an eyebrow when noticed for the first time. Take, for example, the celestial forces we are being subjected to right now. “Spring tides” are in full affect surrounding Sunday’s all-dark New Moon. A spring tide, so named for the springing action and not the season, comes from the sun and moon being in alignment.
Yes, it does indeed happen twice a month all year long, but in the winter, the earth is around three million miles closer to sun, regardless of how cold it may feel here in the northern hemisphere. In the earth-sun system, the earth is closest to the sun (perihelion) on about January 2 of each year and the tidal ranges will be enhanced. When this all comes together, those astral forces pull our seas around the planet more robustly than they usually do and we end up seeing slightly more extreme tides.
This can actually be very helpful here in the shallow Tampa Bay area, as it gives boaters a moment to see land in spots that usually lie below the surface. Add this new information to your memory bank and you’ll be able to avoid these areas even when once again covered by water!