What Is Low Tide?

Gerhard Zwerger-Schoner/imageBROKER/Getty Images

Low tide is when the ocean waters reach their maximum ebb in a location. Low tides are caused by the gravitational pull of the moon and occur every 12 hours, 26 minutes.

The average difference between high and low tide is about 12 inches. The gravitational pull of the sun also affects tides, but the closer proximity of the moon gives it greater influence. When the moon and sun align, high tides are higher and low tides are lower. Low tide is a great time to explore sea life along the ocean coast, as tide pools are exposed and allow one to view sea stars and anemones in their native habitat.