This paper deals with the development of a magnetic lead screw (MLS) for wave energy conversion. Initially, a brief state of the art regarding linear permanent-magnet generators and MLSs is given, leading to an introduction of the MLS and a presentation of the results from a finite-element analysis used to find the magnetic forces. Furthermore, the force per magnet surface area measure is presented as a better alternative to the force density measure, which is often used for linear magnetic devices. Based on this, the overall design of a 500-kN MLS is presented focusing on the bearing supports used to compensate for the magnetic attraction forces and the resulting deflection of the rotor. In addition, in order to avoid some of the assembling-related disadvantages of using surface-mounted magnets, an embedded-magnet topology is proposed. To demonstrate the technology, a scaled 17-kN MLS is presented together with experimental results.