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A new strategy for active control in heavy-lift offshore crane operations is suggested by introducing a new concept referred to as wave synchronization. Wave synchronization reduces the hydrodynamic forces by minimizing variations in the relative vertical velocity between payload and water using a wave-amplitude measurement. Wave synchronization is combined with conventional active heave compensation to obtain accurate control. Experimental results using a scale model of a semi-submerged vessel with a moonpool shows that wave synchronization leads to significant improvements in performance. Depending on the sea state and payload, the results indicate that the reduction in the standard deviation of the wire tension may be up to 50%.