King Tides

Seal Rock is seen during a regular high tide wave and then during a King Tide. Local photographers have helped to document the most recent King Tides, also known as perigean spring tides, along the South Coast to better predict what a rise in the sea level would do along the coast.

Fawn Custer, Oregon Shores/Coast

COOS BAY — The last round of King Tides, the highest high tides of the year, is coming up Jan. 2-4, 2018. Residents and visitors to Oregon’s coast are invited to capture these high water events in photos. The Oregon King Tides Photo Project is part of a worldwide initiative; anyone with a camera can help document the extent of the extreme high tides, and help us catch a glimpse of what sea level rise will look like in our region. Everyone is welcome to participate, just pick a place, snap a photo and share it online.

The King Tide Project is sponsored by the Oregon Coastal Management Program, the CoastWatch Program of the Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition, the Oregon Chapters of Surfrider Foundation, and the Haystack Rock Awareness Program. These groups have been spearheading the King Tides photo project in Oregon since the winter of 2010/2011.

The term "King Tide" describes a high-tide event when the sun, moon, and earth are in alignment, causing greater than usual gravitational pull on the tides. When King Tides occur during intense rain or storm events, the water level rise can cause flooding, erosion, and other impacts to infrastructure and property.

King Tide events give us the opportunity to peek into the future and see what the impacts of sea level rise could look like in our coastal communities. Even a small increase in sea level could escalate the impacts of winter storms along the Oregon coast, intensify chronic hazards like erosion and flooding, and reduce the width of the public beach. Photographing King Tides is an effective way to help coastal communities identify areas prone to flooding, expose potential impacts of sea level rise, and start planning for the future.

Helpful King Tide photos show water levels adjacent to a fixed feature like a piling, seawall or bridge abutment. Including fixed features allows actual water levels to be documented and tracked over time. Good photos also must include the location, the date and time of the photo, and the viewer’s direction for each picture. Two photos taken from the same spot, one during the King Tide and the other at a typical high tide also are very effective in highlighting these high water events. Find tide tables for your area and instructions for how to take and upload photos on the King Tides website:

Note: Whenever you are on the Oregon Coast it is imperative that you keep an eye on the ocean at all times. Never put yourself in danger. Be very cautious of rising water, eroding shorelines, flooded roadways, and high winds during any extreme high tide events.

For more information about the project, contact Bri Goodwin, Surfrider Foundation’s Oregon Field Manager, 541-655-0236,; or Fawn Custer, CoastWatch Volunteer Coordinator, at 541-270-0027,

Upcoming Events include:

11 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018 

King Tides Photo Meet-Up; River Roasters Coffee, Florence 

Noon Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018 

King Tides Photo Meet-Up; Seaworthy Coffee and Gifts, Netarts  

Get tips on free stuff and fun ideas delivered weekly to your inbox

5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018 

End-of-Season Wrap-Up Party, North Coast; Public Coast Brewing, Cannon Beach 

5:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 19, 2018  

End-of-Season Wrap-Up Party, Central Coast; Rogue Brewery, Newport 

6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 5, 2018 

End-of-Season Wrap-Up Party, South Coast; 7 Devils Brewing, Coos Bay

These events are free and open to all. There will be guest speakers at each of the wrap-up events to discuss current research related to climate change on the Oregon coast.