At the coast

The NOC has provided a national and international tidal prediction service for nearly 100 years.

Modern methods of tidal prediction used throughout the world are based on the work of Dr Arthur Doodson, a past director of the institute. The NOC has continued to develop and refine these analytical methods and today provide users with the analysis software used to produce tide tables and compute tidal currents.

The NOC can analyse data from in-situ measurements such as privately owned tide gauges or part of the UK network to refine predictions and produce very accurate data for specific locations.


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The National Oceanography Centre provides national and international tidal prediction services as well as advice and data to a wide range of industries, and has done so for many years. We are the sole provider of tidal predictions to the Environment Agency.

The NOC has an excellent reputation for being able to calculate accurate tidal forecasts and we can compute tidal predictions for over 700 standard and secondary ports around the UK, as well as for many international locations. Additionally, we have access to the UK National Tide Gauge Network data, which we can analyse to produce a diverse range of tidal prediction products.

Using our years of experience with tidal data, the NOC provides data services to a wide variety of clients including those involved in marine, coastal, offshore and environmental work. We have provided advice and data to companies working in a wide range of market sectors including:

  • Coastal flood defence
  • Environmental assessments
  • Maritime investigations and legal cases
  • Renewable energy studies
  • Offshore oil and gas industry
  • Marine project planning and implementation
  • Hydrographic surveying
  • Design and operation of offshore structures
  • Ports and harbours
  • Operation of tidally controlled equipment
  • Insurance industry (risk assessment of coastal flooding)
  • Development of navigation, search and rescue and oil spill applications
  • Production of environmental impact studies
  • Tide tables publishers
  • Sailing and fishing clubs

The NOC is also able to produce offshore data and data products relating to a wide range of sea level and current parameters, both tidal and non-tidal (surges and waves).

POLTIPS-3 is an easy-to-use software package for Microsoft Windows that is used to compute the tides at coastal locations around the UK.

The software, developed by the NOC, uses the most powerful tidal computation engine available, which is used by the UK Environment Agency to compute tidal levels. With a user-friendly interface, it is easy to find the tidal information for your location of interest by searching, or clicking on the map and selecting the time period and data that interests you. You are then able to compute the high and low waters shown on tide tables or a tidal graph.

Key information relating to the POLTIPS-3 software

  • POLTIPS-3 uses the harmonic method of tidal prediction with up to 240 harmonic constituents
  • Alternative methods for complex shallow-water ports are used when the harmonic method fails to produce the required level of accuracy
  • The NOC developed and maintains the UK National Tide Gauge Network, the data from which is analysed every year to produce the most up-to-date harmonics which are used to compute the tides into the future
  • The NOC has a long-standing agreement with the UK Hydrographic Office for free exchange of data ensuring both parties have the best data, which is essential for the safety of shipping around the UK
  • The harmonic method used throughout the world was developed at NOC over 75 years ago and is constantly reviewed and updated when necessary.

Note: This software does not work on Apple Mac computers


Version Price
Standard version – 3 year licence £189 +VAT
Standard version – 5 year licence £265 +VAT
Customised / publishers’ version – 2 year licence £265 +VAT for one port
Customised / publishers’ version – 3 year licence £369 +VAT for one port
User-data version – 10 year licence £950 +VAT
User-data version – 5 year licence £560 +VAT

(POLTIPS prices, Feb 2021) 

There are three different versions of POLTIPS-3. The basic software and prediction engine are the same in all versions but there are differences in the features that are enabled and the data sets that are included.

Standard version

Aimed at the recreational market, the standard version has around 700 ports around the UK. Basic tide table and graphical output is supported although the more sophisticated tide table formatting is not available. Users are not allowed to publish the results.

Customised or publishers' version

This version uses the maximum accuracy data sets available and is purchased for specific ports. All features of the software are enabled, including custom tide table formatting and the ability to use your own harmonic constants sourced from elsewhere. Users can publish the data in books for any duration into the future and can publish data on a freely accessible website for up to 3 months in advance (or up to 1 year if just a single location).

User-data version

No data are included with this version, you are required to source sets of harmonic constants for elsewhere. This is usually purchased as a 10-year licence.