Paddling In Tides And Currents

Paddling In Tides And Currents

Whether you are paddling at the coast or inland, the water likes to move. At times this movement can be gentle and help you along as you paddle, or create some fun playful waves for you to enjoy. However, the tides and currents of the water can also be quite powerful at times, with the potential to make paddling a bit more tricky. So it is worth knowing what to look out for when it comes to tides and currents, and how to deal with them.

paddleboards next to the sea with the tide coming in


We associate tides with the sea, watching the tide come in on a beach. However, the sea’s tides can affect rivers and estuaries quite far inland as the water is pushed in and out from the sea. This means that rivers and estuaries can flow in both directions. 

If the tide affects the location you are paddling in, check out the tidal forecast beforehand. Look at when the tide is rising, so pushing inland, and dropping, pushing out to sea. Checking this can help you plan your adventure and make the most of your time on the water. 

You need to make sure you have the knowledge and skills for paddling in tidal waters. The flow of them, especially out to sea, can pose a risk. By taking some time to build your knowledge, and seeking out some courses to improve your paddling skills you can help you avoid problems. 

a beach with low tide and boat stranded on land


Currents can appear in any body of water, from rivers to the sea. It is a simple movement of the water in a singular direction. A river is an obvious place to find a current, but lakes may have a gentle current toward an outlet, canals towards locks, and the sea as the water forces its way back out to sea. 

Being able to spot a current isn’t always easy, as at times water can appear perfectly still on the surface. Using things in the water, such as reeds and buoys, and looking for ripples trailing off them or subtle movements can give you an idea of what is going on below the surface. 

You should only paddle in currents if you have the ability to do so. And if you are unsure about the current or how to paddle in it, get yourself booked onto a course and upskill. 

visible current on a river

There are thousands of kilometres of water to paddle around the UK, so plenty of places to adventure. Wherever you go for a paddle it’s important to make sure you stay safe and have the correct licence for that waterway