This paper explains research examining processes accompanying underwater explosions near the free surface. Particular attention is paid to the effect of heterogeneous nucleation on cavitating flow induced by underwater explosions near the free surface. Variation of the size spectrum of produced bubbles and influence of this process on flow structure are studied. The cavitating liquid is considered as a two-phase bubbly medium described in the framework of the Euler–Lagrange approach treating the carrier phase (liquid) as a continuum and the dispersed phase (bubbles) as a set of test particles. More detailed descriptions of a mathematical model, numerical method, and algorithm validation are observed in the authors’ previous paper [see, Petrov and Schmidt (Exp Thermal Fluid Sci 60:367–373,... 2015 )].