Understanding the Tides

Tides and Tide Tables

The rivers on the Broads are tidal, which means that their water levels rise and fall twice approximately every 25 hours as a result of the gravitational forces of the moon. Generally the outgoing tide, known as the ebb current will last longer than the incoming tide, know as the flood current. The time between high and low tides is a little over 6 hours. The timing of high and low tide is changes every day so it is useful to have a Tide Table which tells you the tide times for each day. If you don’t have a Tide Table but you know that low tide was at 14:29 yesterday then you can work out that low tide today will be at 15.19 as each tidal cycle repeats itself approximately 50 minutes later each day.

The Broads flow out to the sea at Great Yarmouth, therefore the tidal effect is most noticeable here and the rise and fall can be up to 2 metres! The tides also effect the direction and flow of the rivers, tidal streams near Great Yarmouth can run at currents of around 4mph but as you go further up river the tides will be less noticeable.

It is important to be aware of the tides during your boating holiday, it saves time and fuel and makes less wash to cruise with the tide, not against it. Knowing the direction of the tide can also be useful when you are trying to moor as it is much easier to moor into the tide than against it. The tides can also impact where you can travel, as the water level will determine whether or not your boat will pass under certain bridges, if you know the times of low water you are able to plan your journey accordingly.

On arrival will be given a Tide Table which you can use to calculate low water throughout the Broads click here to view our  Norfolk Broads Tide Table

Great Yarmouth

Great Yarmouth is the point where the Broads Rivers reach the sea. Here the current is at its strongest and the rise and fall of the tide greatest. Being the largest seaside resort on the Broads, it is a very busy stopping place, as well as being crossroads and so extra care must be taken.

Study the tide table and journey times chart and plan your arrival in Great Yarmouth to coincide with low slack water. If the weather is windy, telephone the Yacht Station 01493 842794 and ask for the time of low slack water as it can be significantly affected by the wind.

If you are going to stop at Great Yarmouth you should plan your arrival for any time between low slack water and two hours later. Remember the rise and fall of the tide is particularly noticeable at Great Yarmouth. When mooring up, remember to make allowance for this with the ropes if leaving your boat for any length of time or if you are staying the night at the moorings.


Are you looking for a Norfolk Broads boating holiday? If so, have a look at our entire fleet of hire cruisers.