Tides in the Bay of Fundy
Twice each day, 160 billion tonnes of seawater flow in and out of the Bay of Fundy — more than the combined flow of the world’s freshwater rivers! The Bay of Fundy’s tides transform the shorelines, tidal flats and exposed sea bottom as they flood into the bay and its harbours and estuaries.
The best place to experience the tides of the Bay of Fundy is within the World’s Highest Tides Ecozone. Located around the two upper basins of the Bay, this area has a distinct coastal geography. Tides in this coastal zone reach a peak of around 16 m (50′) — the height of a 5-storey building. This is many times higher than typical tides on the rest of the Atlantic coast! The huge tides expose the sea bottom and shape the coastline.
The ecology of the World’s Highest Tides Ecozone is unique. Each August, vast tidal flats are feeding areas for thousands of migratory shorebirds and have been designated western hemisphere shorebird reserves.
When can you experience the tides?
- Visitors can see 2 extraordinary high and low tides every 24 hours.
- The time between a high tide and a low tide is, on average, 6 hours and 13 minutes. As such, you can reasonably expect to see at least one high and one low tide during daylight hours.
- Tide times change, approximately one hour later each day. Tide times also vary slightly for different locations around the Bay.
- Check with the community you are planning to visit for accurate high and low tide times.
Are the Bay of Fundy tides a 50′ wall of water?
The Bay’s tides officially measure over 15 m (50′ in height), but the incoming tide is not a 50′ wall of water. It takes 6 hours for the tides to change from low tide to high tide. That means it takes more than an hour for the tide to rise 10′ vertically. But the tide is a powerful force. In some places, it can change the direction of a river (the reversing rapids in Saint John, N.B.) or create tidal bore that flows against the current. There are many places where you can see and experience the awesomeness of the tides.