A short cut numerical method for evaluation of the modes of free oscillations of the basins which have irregular geometry and bathymetry is presented in this paper. In the method, a single wave is inputted to the basin as an initial impulse. The respective agitation in the basin is computed by using the numerical method solving the nonlinear form of long wave equations. The time histories of water surface fluctuations at different locations due to propagation of the waves in relation to the initial impulse are stored and analyzed by the fast Fourier transform technique (FFT) and energy spectrum curves for each location are obtained. The frequencies of each mode of free oscillations are determined from the peaks of the spectrum curves. The method is tested by using regular shaped flat bottom basins with different depths. The computed periods of free oscillations are compared with the theoretical values. The accuracy and performance of the method are discussed. As a case study for the application to the basins of irregular shape and bathymetry, the periods of free oscillations of the sea of Marmara is determined and discussed. (C) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.