“You need to learn about tides as it is neither best to leave at a high or low tide.”

What in the world does that mean and where does it apply?

I just checked to make sure I could get tide data for future dates. Works fine. The model I have has no more ‘gadgetry to sort out’ than a chip that goes in the battery compartment that adds tremendous detail.

Are you talking about when you loaded data on a PC then transferred it to the GPS? There’s no need to do that any more.

just trying

– Last Updated: Dec-20-09 7:57 AM EST –

to point them in the right direction.. I would suggest reading a book on coastal navigation for kayaking then using tide and current charts to plan their trip.. the advantage at this stage of planning would be accessing the charts and maps with a larger screen on your computer than the minute screen on the GPS.. better yet look at real charts if they are available..

My GPS has a nautical maps chip for $75 that gives real time currents and tides for the entire US, and the tides for that particular day. Also the depths and the same information as the nautical maps. The Garmin has unlock codes or a chip for each 100 miles or so. Just pointing that out. There are other options.

I'm not going plan anyones trip for them.

Kudzu, I'm confident that you and several others of us only need some idea of what the tide is doing and from that can predict what going on fo r that entire area.. but for someone who claims to have no knowlege of tides they should read a book..

In a new area I would want to look at more detailed maps to have a clear understanding of the entire area so that if the maps get wet or the GPS goes blank, I'll know where I'm at and where I'm going. I would also want to understand how tides and currents work.

My Garmin Chip

– Last Updated: Dec-20-09 9:21 AM EST –

covers something like Norfolk VA to Charleston SC. Way more than 100 miles. No unlock codes.

I have a great book of charts; waterproof; loads of detail... and I have never had to use it. The GPS has performed like it was designed to. You use GPS as a backup. I use charts as a backup.

The main thing I want to get across in this thread is this: getting out and walking in muck is a nuisance, even dangerous without good foot protection. Trying to navigate an inlet at the wrong time can get you badly hurt or worse.

this area

– Last Updated: Dec-20-09 10:43 AM EST –

fell right in the middle so two chips would have been necessary for the same 100 mile area.. then hey, I want to go down to Florida.. anther chip or two in needed.. $$$$.. just pointing that out.. also I find the information on the NOAA charts and tables more comprehensive and easier to access.. so yes I would use that at this stage..

I agree that getting out in the mud and oysters is what you would want to avoid by planning the trip, which is why I suggested a book on kayak coastal navigation..

It would be useful if someone did the trip and uploaded their GPS info with a log of the trip.

I think most people here could plan trip with just a GPS, I was just pointing out that there are other choices and the undisclosed expense of an expensive unit that imposes limitations on the mapping area which really adds up.

Not me
I am still learning GPS.

I can plan with a map and a compass but the GPS is another challenge. I am hoping for a mapping GPS cause sometimes those waterproof charts are at a small scale. Add eyeglasses, wind and holding the compass and you get the idea.

There is no book that exists that
that gives you the tidal flows around the Florida Keys and The big bend area.

I have a good friend who published a paddling guide for the big bend coastal area a few years ago, and he couldn’t even get good info from the Government.

A Garmin Map-76, (or equal if they are made) is the plan and simplist way to go.

As I said above it is simple to read and it gives you the tidal variations as well as the high and low for any tide station that you want or you can call up the closest one.

Then you need to plug in your experience or talk to locals for the flows.

A book on tides will do nothing but screw you up in this area!



GPS is useful… I like my Lowarnce with the $75 nautical maps that cover the entire US including Great Lakes. Garmin is easier to use but too expensive for the nautical maps… IMO…

For planning the large scale nautical maps are free to view and print at NOAA… I would want to zoom in on those with a computer screen to identify possible landing areas, river depths, and make some observations.

GPS is a very useful tool, but I also find that I don’t use it much.

Ideally I would have maps in a water proof case and a GPS, but what ever someone wants to use is their choice.

oh you mean

– Last Updated: Dec-20-09 11:55 AM EST –

live data observations in Key West like this:


Or tidal predictions for Key Largo?


How about Key West?


Don't bother looking at this nautical map of the Keys.


Is a GPS handy? yes

Are there better choices for planning this far in advance? yes

later gator ;)

None of those will help you worth a dam
between inlets.

Believe me you need to know the waters and then interpolate with your hourly tide readings.

Enough said from me on this.

Just be ready for some mass confusion if you don’t heed some advice.



Here in Panama City
the tides are very strange. We have one high tide a day. In the summer the high tide is in the morning and in the winter (now) the low tide is in the morning. When the moon is half full, there basically isn’t any tide although they call the biggest ripple high tide.

I have not found a smart person that can explain this.

that’s not
what you said in your first post…

now you are saying is that the OP needs to learn coastal kayak navigation from a reliable source.

I wasn’t asking advice, just trying to point someone in the right direction.

I’m no expert,
but I think I can link you to folks who are involved in the trail.

Please send me an e-mail, and I’ll talk to them, and with their permission, introduce you.

My experience with the big bend and nature coast areas is limited, but it’s mighty skinny water out there with lots of oyster bars. The wind direction is very important as well.

With low tide and an easterly wind, you may have to stay quite a ways out from shore.

It’s a beautiful time to paddle it. Lots of migratory birds.



– Last Updated: Dec-22-09 9:03 PM EST –

has semidiurnal tides on the east, and mixed tides on the west.. and Panama City looks like diurnal tides, that would be part of my trip planning..


A GPS would be handy for traveling but it's not like you have to go drop a bunch of cash to start learning and planning.. that's all I was saying.. my dad lived in Key West for a while and did a lot of fishing.. so I would see what he had to say..

I wouldn't go off half cocked with a GPS..

the best teachers are your eyes

– Last Updated: Dec-22-09 9:38 PM EST –

watching the tides change in the area you will be travelling in. These days people are too time strapped to watch..

Long ago we did a trip to Cobscook Bay. There was an extra day for us to just sit in one spot and watch the tidal effect for a whole day.

It was quite an experience to watch a 15 foot high tall haystack grow from a confluence of currents as well as a whirlpool bigger than a kayak.

The next day we paddled this strecth..carefully and fast.

A book is a start with a basic foundation. But then expect to ask lots of questions about Florida tides..they seem not to be going by the book.

At least I dont know of any whirlpools there that can turn a tanker around or 20 knot races. But there could be..I just havent found them.

The mud is just aagh.. a PITA..because the tides are mixed you may have to choose to drag or wait the whole thing out and paddle perhaps at night. I dont carry a whole lot of gear except for water and dragging has not been that awful.

Sometimes the high is the next low..etc. Dats a Fla!

Its best to have a full toolbox: a basic understanding of why tides and their effects(a book), your eyes, perhaps a GPS(though I regard that as a convenience prone to rusty batteries in Florida), and local knowledge. And think of the wind...and the effect on tides.

Tides/GPS/New Florida Trail Book
I regularly use the tidal info from my Garmin for figuring out very local tidal conditions during trips and it is a wonderful source of info. However, there are always tidal anomalies that will trip you up regarding currents/inlets/tides, and those situations either require good local knowledge or a Reed’s almanac- the GPS will not make an educated guess about current in an inlet for you. Just heard of a new trail guide published for the Florida Circumnavigational trail that will be available from Amazon this month- they’re publishing this book so paddlers don’t have to download and print the 26 different segment guides. Also heard that Garmin was reducing the cost of the bluechart software after the first of next year so that paddlers can get, for example, the entire east coast of the US for a single fee. We’ll see.

Meant to say
you get out and paddle a lot, so you are bound to find yourself in a tough spot or two… I just wanted to point out that oysters are the leading cause of injuries from marine animals in our state. (yes a mollusc is an animal) You probably manage to avoid the sharp live beds but just wanted to let other people know some of the beds should be approached with caution.

Imagine if someone said they were going to Maine and knew nothing of tides or currents, and someone said, just get a GPS?

I haven’t checked the currents down there but there isn’t much of a range.

Wish I had more time to help plan the big Florida trip, but gotta get going.

have a nice holidays!