We consider a comprehensive mathematical and numerical strategy to couple water-wave motion with rigid ship dynamics using variational principles. We present a methodology that applies to three-dimensional potential flow water waves and ship dynamics. For simplicity, in this paper we demonstrate the method for shallow-water waves coupled to buoy motion in two dimensions, the latter being the symmetric motion of a crosssection of a ship. The novelty in the presented model is that it employs a Lagrange multiplier to impose a physical restriction on the water height under the buoy in the form of an inequality constraint. A system of evolution equations can be obtained from the model and consists of the classical shallow-water equations for shallow, incompressible and irrotational waves, and relevant equations for the dynamics of the wave-energy buoy. One of the advantages of the variational approach followed is that, when combined with symplectic integrators, it eliminates any numerical damping and preserves the discrete energy; this is confirmed in our numerical results.

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