There is current interest in renewable energy sources and the United Kingdom is favourably located with respect to wave energy. This review describes briefly the device concepts being pursued in the Department of Energy Programme and considers the materials aspects of full-scale Wave Energy Converter (WEC) development. Emphasis is placed on generic problems rather than areas specific to individual devices. Present estimates put the cost of WEC development relatively high. Thus, effort in the future will be directed at reducing these costs, particularly those of the main structure and mooring system, and the optimum use of materials will be essential. In certain areas gaps in existing materials technology have been identified and experimental programmes initiated.