A novel tidal turbine with winglet is given, and the influences of winglets on the hydrodynamic performance of horizontal axis current turbines (HACT) are investigated. The incompressible Reynolds-Averaged Navier–Stokes (RANS) Equations with the k − ω shear stress transport (SST) turbulence model are solved. Two HACTs with the winglet that bent towards the pressure side or suction side are designed as the conceptual designs. The pressure distribution and tip vortices are analyzed and compared to investigate the effect of the winglets. Based on the simulation results, the parameter study of the winglet is performed to investigate the effect of length, tip chord and cant angle on the hydrodynamic performance. Results demonstrate that the numerical simulation shows good agreement with the experimental data. The performance of HACT could be improved only when the winglet bends towards the suction side. At the optimum tip speed ratio (TSR), the best design can achieve 4.66% power increase rate compared with that of the baseline turbine. The proper length, tip chord and cant angle of the winglet could improve power at the whole conditions.