This paper presents a computational model for free surface flows interacting with moving rigid bodies. The model is based on the SPH method, which is a popular meshfree, Lagrangian particle method and can naturally treat large flow deformation and moving features without any interface/surface capture or tracking algorithm. Fluid particles are used to model the free surface flows which are governed by Navier–Stokes equations, and solid particles are used to model the dynamic movement (translation and rotation) of moving rigid objects. The interaction of the neighboring fluid and solid particles renders the fluid–solid interaction and the non-slip solid boundary conditions. The SPH method is improved with corrections on the SPH kernel and kernel gradients, enhancement of solid boundary condition, and implementation of Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes turbulence model. Three numerical examples including the water exit of a cylinder, the sinking of a submerged cylinder and the complicated motion of an elliptical cylinder near free surface are provided. The obtained numerical results show good agreement with results from other sources and clearly demonstrate the effectiveness of the presented meshfree particle model in modeling free surface flows with moving objects. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.