Many problems in mechanics can be solved by the use of the transfer matrix method. The use of this method in hydraulics engineering is not widespread and only limited studies are available. In this study, linearized St. Venant equations were used and the use of transfer matrix in ocean engineering was investigated for long waves in open channels, and numerical application was carried out. The results obtained through the transfer matrix method, which is quite easy to use, program and comprehend, showed similar results obtained from the characteristics method and finite differences method. (c) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.