Renewable energy is a topic of significant interest and importance in the world today. Ocean wave energy, particularly on the western coasts of land masses, has considerable potential as a renewable resource. However, to rightly evaluate the overall cost of energy for wave energy converters, survivability and maintenance issues must be addressed. This study endeavors to develop tools for real-time damage quantification for use with life extending control algorithms, and shows that energetic sea conditions may cause much greater damage than the associated benefits in power production. Therefore, control strategies that consider a tradeoff between damage and power production will be necessary in implementing cost effective wave energy converter operation.