AbstractThe basic features of the wave climate in the Southwestern Baltic Sea (such as the average and typical wave conditions, frequency of occurrence of different wave parameters, variations in wave heights from weekly to decadal scales) are established based on waverider measurements at the Darss Sill in 1991–2010. The measured climate is compared with two numerical simulations with the WAM wave model driven by downscaled reanalysis of wind fields for 1958–2002 and by adjusted geostrophic winds for 1970–2007. The wave climate in this region is typical for semi-enclosed basins of the Baltic Sea. The maximum wave heights are about half of those in the Baltic Proper. The maximum recorded significant wave height HS =4.46 m occurred on 3 November 1995. The wave height exhibits no long-term trend but reveals modest interannual (about 12 % of the long-term mean of 0.76 m) and substantial seasonal variation. The wave periods are mostly concentrated in a narrow range of 2.6–4 s. Their distribution is almost constant over decades. The role of remote swell is very small.