# 04 Tides can be important …

Tony Le ElliottArticles

I have just been down to Gibraltar where the Atlantic creeps around Spain and into the Mediterranean, so there is still a tidal difference of some note. My younger son runs ten “Mark Warner Resort” waterfronts further into the Med, as far up as Turkey where the tides are generally only about 2ft.

Here in the UK, we can get 30ft tides where the sea is funnelled into estuaries such as the river Severn into the Bristol Channel. RIBing is easy when the tides are in, but when they are out, so far out that you are unable to launch, then you’re given a golden opportunity to walk the foreshore to gain first-hand knowledge of what is likely to denude your boat of its vital propeller. Time spent in reconnaissance…

This is the time of year when you are likely to try a new launch site and boating area. Perhaps you are going to join a summer cruise. Join it by all means, but do not follow the leaders unless you have done your homework and know that you are on the correct course out to sea and past all the underwater hazards. Even then, it may not be safe.

On a flotilla cruise in 1982 off Turkey, we were warned about a ‘Rock-awash’. Our chums were in the lead in a brand new Cygma 33s with the Lee-Elliott family about half a cable’s length astern (100 metres). Both boats had their eyes peeled for this rock and every bit of disturbed water was scrutinised and avoided with radio chat confirming that ‘we must have passed it by now!’ No way Jose!

Our chums screamed and pointed to something under their boat and we were upon it in seconds to see the ugliest white pinnacle of rock rearing its jagged point as though shooting up at us from the black depths below. We all felt very frightened and then realised that we should have set a course that would take us well clear of what we had been warned of. In a flat calm sea, which I suppose was at high tide, the 2ft tide prevented what could have been a nasty accident. The way that rock not only lured us to its deadly tip but also looked so frightening in the refracted light still haunts both families to this day.

Not much to do about RIBs you may say, but a timely reminder that whilst the surface is clear of obstructions, think about what may be down below and read your chart!

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