The marine renewable energy industry is in its infancy with many developers currently undertaking research, development and demonstration activities to prove that their fledging technologies will provide a viable form of energy generation. Given the very nature of the technology and resource, they will generally be deployed either at the highly dynamic sea surface, or submerged many metres under water, or both. In either case, imposed environmental loads can be significant whereas access for inspection and maintenance activities could be limited due to harsh weather and sea conditions. Therefore it is essential that these technologies are developed and designed to survive these aggressive conditions for the whole of their operational lives, with a very low level of planned and unplanned inspection and maintenance interventions – and this requires the consideration of the ‘survivability’ of the ‘marine energy converter’ during design development. There is a clear ‘blueprint’ in place for all developers to follow in order to approach and demonstrate the survivability of their technology, which is based on the use of modern analysis techniques, such as ‘failure, modes, effects and criticality analysis’, together with traditional engineering design principles and procedures. This paper elaborates this blueprint further.