This study investigates the possibility of applying genetic programming to the stability assessment of rubble-mound breakwaters. The genetic programming algorithm is employed to develop various explicit models to predict the stability number of armor blocks. The genetic programming models are trained and tested using the experimental data of Van Der Meer (1988). The results show that the genetic programming based models have better predictive performances than Van der Meer's stability equations, and that genetic programming has good potential for solving complex problems in the field of coastal engineering. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.