Ocean related activities are often supported by offshore equipment with particular power demands. These are usually deployed at remote locations and have limited space, thus small energy harvesting technologies, such as photovoltaic panels or wind turbines, are used to power their instruments. However, the inherent energy sources are intermittent and have lower density and predictability than an alternative source: wave energy. Here, we propose and critically assess triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs) as a promising technology for integration into wave buoys. Three TENGs based on rolling-spheres were developed and their performance compared in both a “dry” bench testing system under rotating motions, and in a large-scale wave basin under realistic sea-states installed within a scaled navigation buoy. Both experiments show that the electrical outputs of these TENGs increase with decreasing wave periods and increasing wave amplitudes. However, the wave basin tests clearly demonstrated a significant dependency of the electrical outputs on the pitch degree of freedom and the need to take into account the full dynamics of the buoy, and not only that of TENGs, when subjected to the excitations of waves. This work opens new horizons and strategies to apply TENGs in marine applications, considering realistic hydrodynamic behaviors of floating bodies.