Ocean wave power is still in its infancy. New systems are conceptualized on nearly a daily basis. The systems vary wildly in complexity and scope, but share one common trait; they have never been built. This scenario is ripe with massive financial risk and of course the possibility of reward. Providing an early stage failure and safety analysis could greatly improve the design process by identifying potential weak points in the system prior to the costly build and testing stages of product development. More broadly, determining potentially successful conceptual designs which should be pursued becomes critical. However, there is currently no tool readily available for such a task. In this paper, we adapt and simplify function-based modeling and analysis to fill this void. Completing a function based failure analysis allows engineers to evaluate the dependencies and fault tolerance of their system early in the design stage. This process aids in catching design problems when they are still relatively cheap to address. This paper proposes the System Functionality Method for conceptual design stage analysis. This proposed method places systems and subsystems in a flow (mass, energy, and signal) based on their location, and assigns functionality numbers to help describe their contribution to the system. Component or sub-system faults are then used to determine the effect on other components and the system as a whole. The process is unique in its simplicity and adaptability to the conceptual stage of designing wave energy technologies.

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