Natural hazards such as tsunamis, impulse waves and dam-break waves are rare, but extremely destructive. In recent times, more importance was given to structures that could withstand such events, however, uncertainties still exist in the estimation of wave velocities. This project focuses on the estimation of wave front celerity in a laboratory environment for both smooth and rough beds and the results are successfully compared to previous studies and design codes. Based on the experimental data an expression for the wave celerity is presented and discussed. The influence of bed roughness on the propagation velocity is also investigated and a dependence on the bed friction is observed, pointing out the need for further studies.