In cases where complex systems routinely experience extreme operating conditions, preventative maintenance is often employed to guard against system failure. Yet, with accessible real-time data and the standard practice becoming prohibitively expensive, the test stand can serve as a vital contributor to the development of system health and reliability estimations. Utilizing a research methodology stemming from the prognostics and health management community, this thesis presents two separate, but related projects where test stands were tasked with populating component failure model databases. First, an actuator test stand design is assessed and optimized for in-flight experiments, where design recommendations are offered and the model is shown to rapidly develop electromechanical actuator test stand couplings. Second, a bearing test stand is used to derive empirical models for estimating the wear of polymer bearings installed on wave energy converters. Forming the foundation of the approach is an applicable wave model, sample data set, and method to impose loading conditions similar to that expected in real seas. The resulting wear rates were found to be linear and stable, enabling coarse health estimations of the bearing surface. Further, limitations to the approach and plans for future experiments are also discussed. The work described in this thread provides a benchmark for a larger, more comprehensive reliability assessment of wave energy devices.