Sea level variations over the past decades have been essentially estimated from tide gauge records [e.g., Holgate and Woodworth, 2004; Holgate, 2007; Jevrejeva et al., 2006, 2008] or from sea level reconstructions that combine tide gauge data with 2-dimensional information for representing the regional variability [e.g., Church et al., 2004]. While tide gauges are of great value to estimate historical sea level change, they only reflect coastal sea level. It has been suggested by Holgate and Woodworth  that coastal mean sea level is rising faster than the global mean, a result of major societal and economic implication in the context of current global warming. Using a dataset of 177 tide gauges, these authors computed a coastal mean sea level rate ∼+4 mm/yr over January 1993–December 2002, a value significantly larger than the global mean rate (of +3.1 mm/yr, Glacial Isostatic Adjustment –GIA- applied) based on satellite altimetry over the same time span [e.g., Cazenave and Nerem, 2004]. However satellite altimetry, available since early 1990s, has revealed important regional variability in sea level rates [e.g., Lombard et al., 2005; Bindoff et al., 2007], with rates up to 3 times the global mean in some areas. Thus a coastal mean sea level rate different from the global mean is to be expected. If so, this may have considerable implications for both past and future sea level. For example, if the ∼+1.7 mm/yr rate of coastal sea level rise reported by tide gauges for the 20th century were significantly larger than the global mean value [e.g., Church et al., 2004; Holgate, 2007; Jevrejeva et al., 2006, 2008], then the ∼3 mm/yr global mean rate measured by satellite altimetry since the early 1990s would represent a significant acceleration compared to the previous decades. For the future, global mean sea level projections from climate models may underestimate mean sea level rise in coastal regions, implying even larger negative impacts than previously thought. However, regional variability in sea level trends as reported by satellite altimetry is subject to large interannual/decadal fluctuations linked to ENSO (El Nino Southern Oscillation), NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation) and PDO (Pacific Decadal Oscillation) [e.g., Lombard et al., 2005; Bindoff et al., 2007]. Thus one may wonder whether Holgate and Woodworth's result, based on just 10 years of data, is not biased by the inherent coastal interannual variability. In this study we perform a new comparison between coastal mean sea level based on tide gauges and almost global mean derived from satellite altimetry over a 15-year time span (1993–2007).