Floating wave energy converters (WECs) operating in the resonance region are strongly affected by non-linearities arising from the interaction between the waves, the WEC motion and the mooring restraints. To compute the restrained WEC motion thus requires a method which readily accounts for these effects. This paper presents a method for coupled mooring analysis using a two-phase Navier–Stokes (VOF–RANS) model and a high-order finite element model of mooring cables. The method is validated against experimental measurements of a cylindrical buoy in regular waves, slack-moored with three catenary mooring cables. There is overall a good agreement between experimental and computational results with respect to buoy motions and mooring forces. Most importantly, the coupled numerical model accurately recreates the strong wave height dependence of the response amplitude operators seen in the experiments.