The Importance Of Monitoring Coastal Change

In order to understand and characterize the vulnerabilities and local coastal conditions, monitoring your local shoreline during King Tides and storms is incredibly important. Making observations of changes helps influence key decisions, and ensures policymakers have an awareness of our potential climate change impacts. 

You might be wondering what a King Tide is and why they’re important. Read on to learn more about this phenomenon, how you can help track changes in the coastline, and the importance of community involvement.

The King Tide

King Tide is a non-scientific term used to describe the highest tides during each season of the year. These occur during a spring tide, when the moon is closest to Earth. Here is a helpful video that describes in more detail what a King Tide is. 

Once you have a clear understanding of what to look for, you can begin documenting King Tides in your area to help us and our partners at URI Coastal Resources Center, URI Sea Grant, Save the Bay, and Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council keep track of the changing tides through the MyCoast Rhode IslandI app.  

MyCoast: Rhode Island is a portal used to collect and analyze pictures and data relating to coastal events. Information collected through this site is used to visualize the impact of coastal hazards and to enhance awareness among decision-makers and stakeholders. Easily upload your photos of King Tides in your local community to document impacts. The ability to rapidly deliver and share reports throughout the state is highly effective and helpful in determining how we can improve our coastal resilience.

Here are some tips you can use to capture the perfect photos:


  1. Look for landmarks as a reference point to take pictures. This will help document the changes over time. 
  2. Try to take your pictures near a high tide at its peak. 
  3. Take a few photos of low tides as well to document the variability of the tide.
  4. Stay safe. Make sure you are not taking any risks with your photos, especially during a storm. 

Ocean resilience

Why Should We Monitor Storms?

It’s also helpful to monitor what your beaches look like during storms and monitor storm damage to improve policies and response to storms. These steps are vital in keeping our communities safe. The data community members collect is paired with weather reports and tidal information to paint a full picture of what happened. You can easily report storm damage and upload your pictures through the MyCoast RI app. Remember to stay safe and never put yourself in harm’s way during storms. 

Want more information on ways you can track the tides and storms? We would love to answer any questions you have and share more on the importance of coastal monitoring. You can give us a call or email anytime!