We describe a new tide model for the seas surrounding Antarctica, including the ocean cavities under the floating ice shelves. The model uses data assimilation to improve its fit to available data. Typical peak-to-peak tide ranges on ice shelves are 1–2 m but can exceed 3 m for the Filchner–Ronne and Larsen Ice Shelves in the Weddell Sea. Spring tidal ranges are about twice these values. Model performance is judged relative to the ~5–10 cm accuracy that is needed to fully utilize ice-shelf height data that will be collected with the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System, scheduled to be launched on the Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite in late 2002. The model does not yet achieve this level of accuracy except very near the few high-quality tidal records that have been assimilated into the model. Some improvement in predictive skill is expected from increased sophistication of model physics, but we also require better definition of ice-shelf grounding lines and more accurate water-column thickness data in shelf seas and under the ice shelves. Long-duration tide measurements (bottom pressure gauge or global positioning system) in critical data-sparse areas, particularly near and on the Filchner–Ronne and Ross Ice Shelves and Pine Island Bay, are required to improve the performance of the data-assimilation model.