The wave force on a seawater intake structure consisting of a perforated square caisson of 400 mmx400 mm size encircling a vertical suction pipe of 160-mm diameter is investigated using physical model studies. The porosity of caisson was varied from 1.6 to 16.9%. Regular and random waves of wide range of heights and periods were used. It is found that the force ratio (ratio of the force on perforated caisson to the force on caisson with zero percent porosity) reduces to an extent of up to 60% with increase in porosity of the caisson from 1.6 to 16.9%. The force ratio was found to increase with increase in relative wave height and reduces with increase in relative width. Multiple regression analysis of the measured data points was carried out and predictive equations for wave force ratios are obtained both for regular and random waves. The results of this investigation can be used in the hydrodynamic design of perforated caissons, which are widely used as seawater intake structures. © 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.