This discussion has been locked.
You can no longer post new replies to this discussion. If you have a question you can start a new discussion

Instinct Solar Surf Edition - Show Tide Data When Bluetooth Drops?

I have an Instinct Solar Surf Edition, which I bought specifically because it advertised the ability to show tides.

The problem is, shortly after the watch loses Bluetooth contact with the phone, the tide widget shows "no tide data". This isn't very useful when you're on the way to the beach and you've left your phone at home (so it doesn't get wet or stolen...), or if you're already out on the water and want to check conditions.

The irony is, if I'm in bluetooth range of my phone...I would use my phone to check the tides. The selling feature of the watch, or so I thought, was the ability to check the tides when you can't have your phone by your side. As it is, the tide feature isn't very useful in practice for my application.

Is there any way to get the watch to continue showing the day's tide data even when it goes out of range of the phone? It would also be nice if it were possible to load the tide tables a few days in advance. I only wear the watch when going to the water, so it's not near my phone most of the time, and I was hoping to be able to just "get up and go" and have the tide data on the watch.


  • Have you addressed this problem via official support request (e.g. email)? Seems for me Garmin don't want to reply on this important question here, based on their silence.

    I also wanted to buy Solar, but if you need to always drag your smartphone nearby (especially in trainings; I don't care about casual cases - because phone is almost always nearby), then the watch isn't so smart. The watch has 16MB internal storage,, is it so hard to store data a little bit longer (whether it weather data or surf related data as tides etc.)?

  • Good afternoon and thanks for your post,

    I was just about to buy the Instinct Solar Surf Edition when I saw your post (my Polar m400 died a week ago). This tide issue is critical: if the watch does not show the tides while in the water, it loses a significant part of its purpose. If Garmin does not answer to your post and doesn't solve the issue, it will become difficult to consider seriously this watch for what it is supposed to be used for. Advertising the tide functionality and not providing it when needed might not be the best idea Garmin had to reach the surfers market.

    I hope this will help to have an answer/solution.


  • I have not received any updates from Garmin on this issue since I posted it.

    A couple weeks more usage, and here are my observations. I'd say about 30% of the time, I can get to the beach and there is still a tide chart on the watch, the other 70% of the time it says "no tide data" (so sometimes the tide data hangs around, but less often than more often). After starting an activity, if I hit the "back" button to return to the main watch data screen sequence, it says "no tide data" (so the tide data is "lost" after starting an activity, thus as I paddle further away from land and become increasingly more reliant on the data, it's less available).

    I'm guessing the issue is either linked to:

    1) Bluetooth polling interval. It takes about 20 mins to get to the beach, so maybe it just checks every hour or so for a connection to the phone, and I get lucky sometimes, and I don't other times, in that sometimes it won't check connection state in the time it took for me to leave home and get to the beach, but other times it does.

    2) I've left the "GPS home" of the tide data. The watch infers what tide table to fetch for you based on your current GPS location (seems you can also "favorite" a location but doing that hasn't changed my luck). What may be happening is that I am just on the edge of the threshold of "must get new tide data based on new position", such that by the time I get to the beach the location has changed enough that the watch decides the tide chart it's showing is incorrect, and wants to go to the phone to get a new tide chart for the new exact GPS coordinates. This could be exacerbated by the fact that each beach here publishes a tide chart, so the watch has to pick between many tide charts and so moving even a couple hundred meters up or down the coast could trigger a tide data refresh (but the tide charts are substantially similar across all the beaches, tbh; any tide chart would do).

    For me it'd be ideal if it just kept on showing the last tide chart it had for the rest of the day, instead of opting to go to a "no tide data" screen based on any bumps it hits on the road. If Garmin is worried about the accuracy of the chart because it doesn't match the exact beach I'm standing on (potentially valid, because if you hopped on a plane and got off and it showed you a tide chart for your home town it could be a safety issue even), I'd be fine with it posting an asterisk on it saying the data is stale, but still displaying it -- this is still much more functional than a "no tide data" screen with no information at all.

    I feel like this should be a pretty easy fix to the widget, I think the trick is just somehow getting Garmin to pay attention to it...

  • For me it'd be ideal if it just kept on showing the last tide chart it had for the rest of the day, instead of opting to go to a "no tide data" screen based on any bumps it hits on the road.

    I'd have to disagree with the old (and possibly incorrect) data is better than no data at all. I understand for your case use this may not be an issue, but what value does this bring as a whole? 

  • Hello,

    I have got Instinct Solar Surf since 5 days. I have set my favorite beach. It seems to have 3 days tides data memory into the watch. The widget shows "no tide data" all 3 days, I connect Bluetooth and Data on my phone, and I have to go in "Activity" menu and then "Tide" to load new 3 days tides data. Have you got the same behaviour ?

    On the other hand, there is an other problem concerning the tide graph, the "actual time marker" on the sinusoid graph is one hour late than the real current tide time, while the next tide time is correct. I am in GMT+2 time zone (west Europe summer time). It's really disturbing....

    Have you got the same problem ?

    I sent mail to Garmin to explain that, but I don't know if it's the good process, I hope new firmware release can fix this problem...

    Thanks a lot.

  • I'd have to disagree with the old (and possibly incorrect) data is better than no data at all. I understand for your case use this may not be an issue, but what value does this bring as a whole? 

    So, you come to a beach with phone and internet connection (or you just know in advance what location you going to visit, so you simply choose this as favorite for time being), then update tide data and go training. Why not to store data for the location you choose manually or from last GPS update when surf training was started (with internet connection available on the spot)?

  • For my sport, we're doing 16-20km on the water over 2-3 hours. The tides can greatly impact the local currents, which have a large influence on safety and performance -- when the tides change, the easiest and safest path back home also changes.

    Right now we just take cues from the environment to try and guess which way the tide is going. The marketing image that showed a graph with a line indicating the time of day and the position of the tide totally sold me on the watch -- if I could have that while on the water, it's a game-changer, especially after you've been on the water for an hour and a half and you've forgotten the exact timing of when the tides change and you have to make a strategic decision on the route for the remainder of the course.

    So, showing the old data that I had retrieved from the shore for the entirety of the paddle would be enormously valuable for my use case. The tide chart downloaded on shore is applicable across the entire area that we paddle in (and much more). So having the screen just "go dark" on us a few minutes away from shore just because it can't be 100% sure the tide chart is exactly what we wanted is not helpful.

    On the other hand,I'd love to hear from you what you think the value is for a tide chart that just downloads tides from the phone and shows it on a tiny screen. If I'm near a phone, I've got a browser where I can retrieve interactive tide charts that give full height data, exact times, multiple day tracks and much more.The watch's display is inferior to what you get in a browser in many ways, but it's a good guideline for the timing of the tides when you're kilometers from home. That is, if it would just show me something other than "no tide data"...

    It's like the same reason you don't want a sports watch that requires phone tethering to record your GPS track or your heart rate -- you just don't want to carry it when you're doing your sport. I feel like the tide chart is the same thing -- the point of it is for the data to be available when you're on the water doing your sport, not for you to look at only while you're sitting in the office or driving around town.

  • Yes, if I go into the "activity" menu I can also see the exact tide high/low tides in text form for the next three days, along with one graph and what it thinks is my nearest tide marker (it's actually 1km west of my actual position, but still very applicable to the area).

    I have no problem with a time offset for the marker versus the tides, it seems to be accurate on that point, when I get to the beach I can compare the tide position to what the watch says there and it's about right.

    But still, when I start my sport tracking activity on the water and then glance at the "tide" widget on the main screen, it shows "no tide data".

  • I'll be able to answer both you and 9643696 at once Relaxed.  I guess I could have been clearer on my comment.  I agree about the importance of having the data at hand.  Having the last manual or GPS tide data displayed on your watch when going to your beach is great as I said for your case use you described.  But that's only going to be useful if your destination is the beach the last data was obtained.  My comment that no data is better than old data was meant if I had data for beach "A", but end up at beach "B" or "C", that data has no value to me.  The tides data isn't just for surfing type activities.  It's also used for fishing or all day boating trips I take which involve several hours on the water and going to several different locations.  The areas I go also don't have cell service even though I can take my phone along with me.  I use a 945.  I can go into maps that has the data for the 50 closest tidal stations that's stored on the watch and can be viewed without a phone/internet connection.  (For some reason this function only works on watches with North American maps).  I don't know why Garmin doesn't store this info on the Instinct to be used in the same manner and they should change it in my option.   We're definitely in agreement that the Instinct needs the ability to provide the data at all times and not just when you have a phone connection.  But as it currently functions, having the last data as you described works for some, but as a whole, it doesn't help everyone.

  • I see, thanks for clarifying. Yes, I agree that the fix I've proposed does not address your use case, and that your use case is also important.

    I was hoping that by suggesting a minimal fix (just display old data) maybe Garmin could push a fast patch to the problem, but being able to download the tide tables for the N closest tide stations, and then pick the closest one based on your current GPS coords without having to hit the phone would also be pretty awesome, and would help your situation too.

    Maybe to indicate the "quality" of the tide data, it could just display the distance to the nearest entry in the last downloaded set of tide tables. The watch already can compute distance based on GPS, right?

    So if you see the tide display is for a beach just a few km away, you're probably good to go, but if it's for a beach that's 500km away, you know not to trust it.