Long gravity waves or swell dominating the sea surface is known to be very useful to estimate seabed morphology in coastal areas. The paper reviews the main phenomena related to swell waves propagation that allow seabed morphology to be sensed. The linear dispersion is analysed and an error budget model is developed to assess the achievable depth accuracy when Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data are used. The relevant issues and potentials of swell-based bathymetry by SAR are identified and discussed. This technique is of particular interest for characteristic regions of the Mediterranean Sea, such as in gulfs and relatively close areas, where traditional SAR-based bathymetric techniques, relying on strong tidal currents, are of limited practical utility.