Idealized laboratory experiments reveal the existence of forced–dissipative hybrid Rossby-shelf modes. The laboratory ocean consists of a deeper ocean (accommodating basin-scale Rossby modes) and a coastal step shelf (accommodating trapped shelf modes). Planetary Rossby modes are mimicked in the laboratory via a uniform topographic slope in the north–south direction. Hybrid modes are found as linear modes in numerical calculations, and similar streamfunction patterns exist in streak photography of the rotating tank experiments. These numerical calculations are based on depth-averaged potential vorticity dynamics with Ekman forcing and damping. Preliminary nonlinear calculations explore the deficiencies observed between reality and the linear solutions. The aim of the work is twofold: to show that idealized hybrid Rossby-shelf modes exist in laboratory experiments and to contribute in a general sense to the discussion on the coupling and energy exchange associated with hybrid modes between shallow coastal seas and deep-ocean basins.