Force prediction on fixed and moored bodies in steep, asymmetric and breaking waves remains a problem of great practical importance. For floating bodies snatch loads on mooring lines are of particular significance. In this paper we present an approximate approach where waves are modelled using incompressible smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH) which is well suited for breaking as well as non-breaking waves. For bodies of small size relative to wave length, the total force is assumed to be due to the Froude–Krylov force due to the undisturbed pressure field with additional added mass effects—in effect the Morison assumption. For a fixed vertical column in regular waves on a small slope, breaking wave force magnification is consistent with experiment and for focussed waves peak forces due to initial interaction are in good agreement with experiment; wave asymmetry is the dominant influence on overall force rather than local roller/jet breaker impact. For a taut moored hemispherical buoy in steep focussed waves the loads and motion without snatching are almost independent of added mass coefficient between zero and unity. Without breaking when snatching occurs the motion and loads measured experimentally are well predicted with zero added mass. This close agreement breaks down with wave breaking and the initial snatch load is overestimated by around 30 %. This approach is a fast alternative to fully 3-D simulations which are computationally demanding. Variation of, for example, mooring line properties and buoy position may be efficiently analysed using the same wave field and, as such, the approach has potential to be a useful design tool with further validation.