This paper evaluates the technical feasibility and performance characteristics of an ocean-wave energy to electrical energy conversion device that is based on a moving linear generator. The UC-Berkeley design consists of a cylindrical floater, acting as a rotor, which drives a stator consisting of two banks of wound coils. The performance of such a device in waves depends on the hydrodynamics of the floater, the motion of which is strongly coupled to the electromagnetic properties of the generator. Mathematical models are developed to reveal the critical hurdles that can affect the efficiency of the design. A working physical unit is also constructed. The linear generator is first tested in a dry environment to quantify its performance. The complete physical floater and generator system is then tested in a wave tank with a computer-controlled wavemaker. Measurements are compared with theoretical predictions to allow an assessment of the viability of the design and the future directions for improvements.