If managing tides in coastal Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina isn’t challenging enough during standard tides, king tides are even more daunting. Boaters must be aware of the challenges faced when leaving the dock, anchoring, swimming, and docking during extreme tides. Understand what a king tide is before heading out on the water. 

What Exactly Is A King Tide

A king tide is an extremely high tide that is common during full and new moons. The high and low tides far exceed the normal range. King tides are particularly dangerous when tropical systems make landfall. 

Why Are They Called King Tides

Tides fluctuate based on gravitation forces that is directly related to the moon phase and the sun. They hold the name because of the amount of water fluctuating between high and low tide. The highs are excessively high, and the lows fall below the normal range. 

What Height Is Considered A King Tide

The height of the tide is highly dependent on location. For example, the tidal fall and rise in Savannah, Georgia, is more extreme daily than in Charleston, South Carolina. King tides are up to two feet higher than the average daily high tide. It is essential to read a tide chart before heading on the water.

How Often Is There A King Tide

Along the coast of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, the king tide will occur either once or twice per year. 

The United States utilizes an agency called NOAA, short for the National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration. NOAA publishes tidal information for boaters and coastal residents through Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Understand that coastal residents and boaters face extreme tidal conditions. 

Is King Tide Good For Fishing

When the tides are extremely high such as king tides, it presents a challenge for anglers. There are a couple of considerations when fishing super tides. The first is the current flow, and the second is the ability for fish to seek new grounds.

The offshore fish of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina remain unaffected except for the operator navigating inlets. However, inland waters are an entirely different story. 

As a result of the extreme high tide, saltwater must rush in and out rapidly to fluctuate between high and low and vice versa. The most common challenges anglers face are increased drift rates of popping corks, holding bottom with lead, and lastly, the fish push deeper into the grass and, therefore, are challenging to reach. 

Anglers must fish fish edies and pockets during extreme tides. These areas allow the best shot at catching inshore fish, including flounder, sea trout, redfish, black drum, and sheepshead. 

When You Would Expect King Tides

The king tide most frequently occurs in October, November, and December. Anglers and boaters should pay special attention to tide charts during these months and know when the extreme high tide will occur. 

How Do King Tides Impact Boaters

Boaters are faced with a multitude of challenges during king tides. Vessel operators must take extra precautions to avoid risking injury or damage to the boat. 

Docking And Undocking

The strong tidal flow will impact departing and returning to the dock. Unfortunately, unsuspecting boaters quickly become set down and, as a result, risk colliding with other vessels in the vicinity. Throttle the boat higher to remain in control. 


When preparing to set anchor, expect rapid drift rates. Unbeknownst to boaters, the anchor skips along the bottom before the operator realizes the vessel is out of position. Deploy additional anchor scope for the best holding power during extreme tidal changes. 

Navigating Inlets

In small boats, Vessel operators face challenges entering and exiting inlets when the tide opposes the wind direction. The conditions are exacerbated during super tides as the waves stack higher and steeper. Avoid navigating inlets when the conditions become dangerously rough. 

Now You Understand What  A King Tide Is

Boaters should be aware of the implications of handling a vessel when the tides reach extraordinary highs and lows. The boat becomes more challenging to operate under these types of conditions, and precautions must be taken. Remember to read a tide chart before heading out on the water.