The prediction of ship stability during the early stages of design is very important from the point of vessel's safety. Out of the six motions of a ship, the critical motion leading to capsize of a vessel is the rolling motion. In the present study, particular attention is paid to the performance of a ship in beam sea. The linear ship response in waves is evaluated using strip theory. Critical condition in the rolling motion of a ship is when it is subjected to synchronous beam waves. In this paper, a nonlinear approach has been tried to predict the roll response of a vessel. Various representations of damping and restoring terms found in the literature are investigated. A parametric investigation is undertaken to identify the effect of a number of key parameters like wave amplitude, wave frequency, metacentric height, etc. © 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.