For water waves the transcendental dispersion relationship is solved by iterative methods when wave period and water depth are given and wavelength or wave number is required. A highly accurate explicit approximation to linear dispersion relationship is proposed based on Eckart's explicit relationship. While Eckart's expression is accurate to within 5%, the improved relationship has a maximum relative error of less than 0.05%. A simpler form of the relationship with 0.2% accuracy is also given. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.