A numerical study of the nonlinear and random behavior of flow-induced forces on offshore structures and experimental verification of the results are presented. The numerical study is based on a finite-element method for the unsteady incompressible Navier-Stokes equations in two dimensions. The momentum equations combined with a pressure correction equation are solved employing fourth-order artificial dissipation with a nonstaggered grid, instead of the more commonly used staggered meshes. The solution is advanced in time with a combined explicit and implicit marching scheme. Emphasis is placed on study of reversing flows around a cylinder. Comparisons with experimental data evaluate accuracy and robustness of the method.