An investigation has been carried out into the lift, drag and cavitation characteristics of two-dimensional foil sections, which may typically be used as a starting point in the design of blade sections for marine current turbines. Cavitation tunnel experiments and numerical predictions using a panel code were carried out on four representative sections derived from the NACA series 4415, 6615, 63—215 and 63—815. The experimental lift and drag results show reasonable correlation with published wind tunnel data. The sections were modelled numerically using the two-dimensional panel code XFoil. The numerical cavitation predictions in most cases showed satisfactory agreement with the experiments and it is considered that such predictions could be used with reasonable confidence for predicting cavitation at the preliminary design stage. Overall, the results of the investigation provide detailed information that should assist in the design and operation of marine current turbines.