A numerical state-space approach is proposed to examine the natural frequencies and critical buckling limits of marine risers. A large axial tension in the riser model causes numerical limitations. These limitations are overcome by using the modified Gram–Schmidt orthonormalization process as an intermediate step during the numerical integration process with the fourth-order Runge–Kutta scheme. The obtained results are validated against those obtained with other numerical methods, such as the finite-element, Galerkin, and power-series methods, and are found to be in good agreement. The state-space approach is shown to be computationally more efficient than the other methods. Also, we investigate the effect of a high applied tension, a high apparent weight, and higher-order modes on the accuracy of the numerical scheme. We demonstrate that, by applying the orthonormalization process, the stability and convergence of the approach are significantly improved.