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Tidal Currents - 14221_196
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Tidal Currents, Continued Nontidal  Currents.  There  are  known  and  charted  currents  in  all  three of  the  major  oceans  that  are  classified  as  major  currents.  In  the  Pacific, the  more  important  ones  to  note  are  the  North  Equatorial,  South Equatorial,  Equatorial  Counter,  Japan  Stream,  Oyashiwo,  Californian, Australian,  and  Peruvian.  In  the  Atlantic  Ocean,  the  Gulf  Stream  is  the most  notable  because  of  its  clear  definition  as  an  ocean  current  and  its effect  on  shipping  and  weather.  Another  type  of  tidal  current  you  might encounter  is  called  a  ROTARY  current.  A  rotary  current  is  basically one  that  flows  continually  with  the  direction  of  flow  changing  through all  points  of  the  compass  during  the  tidal  period.  Rotary  currents  are usually  found  offshore  where  the  direction  of  flow  is  not  restricted  by any  barriers. The  Basics Tidal  currents  are  most  pronounced  in  the  entrances  to  large  tidal basins  that  have  restricted  openings  to  the  sea.  Helmsmen  should  keep this  fact  in  mind  because  they  often  experience  difficulty  in  steering ships  in  tidal  basins.  Tide  rips  caused  by  swift  tidal  currents  flowing over  an  irregular  bottom  often  set  up  rips  and  eddies  that  are  nearly always  deceptive  in  appearance  and  will  sometimes  change  a  ship’s course  as  much  as  30°.  One  characteristic  of  a  tide  rip  is  in  the  coloring of  the  water.  The  line  it  caused  may  not  always  be  straight,  but  it  can usually  be  seen.  You  may  also  observe  small  wavelets  caused  by  the wind.  The  water  outside  the  current  will  often  have  many  small wavelets,  whereas  the  swift  running  current  may  be  barren  of  wavelets; again,  a  quite  visible  line  may  be  detected,  giving  the  helmsman  a  clue to  what  may  lie  ahead  as  the  ship  passes  from  one  side  of  the  line  to  the other.  Another  clue  for  the  helmsman  is  to  observe  the  current  trail streaming  from  a  buoy. In  rivers  or  straits,  or  where  the  direction  of  flow  is  more  or  less restricted  to  certain  channels,  the  tidal  current  is  reversing;  that  is,  it flows  alternately  in  approximately  opposite  directions  with  an  instant  or short  period  of  slack  water  at  each  reversal  of  the  current.  During  the flow  in  each  direction,  the  speed  varies  from  zero,  or  near  zero  at  the time  of  slack  water  to  a  maximum,  either  flood  or  ebb,  about  midway between  the  slacks. 7-17

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