King Tides: A glimpse into tomorrow, a photo challenge today

It’s that time of year again; time to grab your camera and snap some photos of the extremely high King Tides occurring along Washington’s shorelines. We need your help documenting them!

Water coming up high on cement steps at Alki Beach with waterfront buildings and Spaceneedle showing in the background.

What are King Tides?

King Tides are the highest tides of the year. In Washington, these usually occur between late October and late January. 

When the gravity from the sun, moon, and earth align, the combination creates our annual extremely high tides: King Tides. These tides can last for several days and range anywhere between a few inches to several feet above the normal tide.

Climate change and our rising seas

King Tides provide a window into what our daily tides could look like in the future as a result of sea level rise. They give scientists and citizens a peak into one way climate change will impact our lives. As global temperatures rise, the oceans warm slightly and expand, ice caps and glaciers melt, and more precipitation falls as rain instead of snow. King Tides show us today the shorelines our children or grandchildren may see on a daily basis. 

By capturing photographs of King Tides and sharing them, you can help raise awareness about the potential impacts of sea level rise on low-lying coastal buildings and infrastructure. Pictures of King Tides also offer a record of the changes to our coasts over time. You can share your pictures by uploading them to the Washington King Tides Initiative or by tagging your social media posts with #KingTidesWA.


Learn more about rising sea levels in Washington State, and the science of King Tides.  

You can help! Go "on location" for your photo shoot

Your photos give a glimpse of what the future may look like for our shorelines. They help our scientists track changes through the years. King Tides is happening now! Break from your holiday festivities, grab your camera and head out to the Puget Sound, Strait of Juan de Fuca, or Pacific Coast to photograph the highest seasonal tides. 

#KingTidesWA Capture them text over photo of small Liberty statue on Alki Beach
There are several ways to participate:

  • Washington’s Witness King Tides site - Upload your picture to the Washington Sea Grant's Witness King Tides website. Scroll over "Get Involved" and then click on "Share your Photos".
  • Instagram, Facebook or Twitter - Submit photos by simply using the hashtags #KingTidesWA in your description. If you can tag the location of the photo, even better.

Your photos will be used in educational and outreach materials; please do not include people in your photos.


To best illustrate the impacts of the high tides, take your photos in areas where the high water levels can easily be measured. This can include recognizable landmarks or landscapes near a sea wall, jetty, bridge, building, or road.  

Have fun and be safe

Make your photo assignment fun by getting interesting and creative shots. Take the family and make it a learning opportunity for kids. King Tides are a great chance to teach children about future sea level rise. 


Remember, safety first when capturing photos. Be careful when walking on slippery areas or near big waves. Unusually high tides can make familiar territory very unfamiliar, be aware of your surroundings.

We can’t wait to see the different photos you send in. Now, ready, set, go capture some King Tides!

#KingTides #WA text next to steps that are covered by water.