With the increasing interest in wave energy, and when moving towards commercial-scale wave-energy projects, a detailed understanding of the interactions between single and arrays of wave-energy converters (WECs) with the ambient wave and flow field becomes imperative for both design and operational purposes, as well as assessment of their environmental impacts. This work presents a new numerical approach to simulate the nonlinear evolution of the waves and their interactions with a submerged wave-energy converter at the scale of a realistic coastal region. The numerical approach is based on the non-hydrostatic framework, and implemented in the open-source SWASH model, which provides an efficient tool to simulate the nonlinear evolution of waves over realistic coastal bathymetries. Here, we present a numerical extension to the non-hydrostatic approach to account for interactions between waves and a submerged point absorber, and to capture the response of such a wave energy device. Model results are compared with an analytical solution based on potential flow theory, a CFD simulation, and experimental data to validate its capabilities in simulating the wave-WEC interactions for both linear and nonlinear wave conditions. Overall, the results of this validation demonstrate that the model captures the wave-structure interactions and the body response with satisfactory accuracy. Notably, the results also indicate that a coarse vertical resolution was sufficient to capture these dynamics, making the model sufficiently computationally efficient to simulate the interaction of waves and WECs over large scales. As a consequence, this new modelling approach should provide a promising new alternative to simulate the interactions between nonlinear wave fields and submerged point absorbers at the scale of a realistic coastal region.