Photographs of the King Tide (High Tide Line) in Buzzards Bay

The high tide line is intersection of the land with the water's surface at the maximum height reached by the highest tide during non-storm surge conditions. The high tide line changes annually due to slight differences in the relative positions of the sun, earth, and moon. For regulatory purposes, the high tide line is established by the highest annual predicted tide ("king tide") for that year (implied). In the absence of precise data on tidal elevations, the tide line may be determined, "by a line of oil or scum along shore objects, a more or less continuous deposit of fine shell or debris on the foreshore or berm, other physical markings or characteristics, vegetation lines, tidal gages, or other suitable means that delineate the general height reached by a rising tide." (Definition from the US Army Corps Nationwide Permit General Definitions.) In practical terms, it is difficult to discern storm surge wrack lines from the high tide line.

Below we show some photos of the 2013 King Tide, which established the high tide line. Note in at least one of the photos, you can see a storm surge wrack line. See also our King Tide vs Storm Surge page.

Falmouth: Sippewissett Highlands Beach Trust Beach

Falmouth: Sippewissett Highlands Beach Trust Beach (beach adjacent to Woodneck Beach to the south). First jetty to the south of Woodneck Beach. Photo credit: Peter Waasdorp

Mattapoisett Harbor

Mattapoisett Harbor. Photo credit: Lisa Sawyer

Falmouth Chappaquoit Beach

Falmouth Chappaquoit Beach. Photo credit: Ray Bourque

Back River Pocasset, Bourne

Back River at King Tide and Low Tide. Photo credit: Tracy Warncke

Racing Beach, Falmouth

Racing Beach, Falmouth. Note that the King Tide has left a distinct wrack line of seaweed. Note also the more dispersed higher dry wrack line which was likely left be a winter storm earlier in 2013. Photo credit: Louise Luckenbill

Steps at Gunning Point, Falmouth, MA

Steps to the beach at Gunning Point, Falmouth. Photo Credit: Michael Eder

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