The offshore wave energy resource in the East China Sea (ECS) off the coast of the southern East China is assessed using wave buoy data covering the period of 2011−2013. It is found that the averaged offshore wave power was approximately 13 kW m−1 in the region of interest. Most of the offshore wave energy in the ECS is contributed by the sea states with significant wave heights between 1.5 m and 3.5 m and with wave energy periods between 6 s and 8 s. Seasonal variations are detected in the wave characteristics of significant wave height and wave power. The predominant wave directions are mainly from the II quadrant and the IV quadrant, respectively, in winter and summer, in accordance with the monsoon characteristics in the ECS. Wave heights, periods and power are generally higher in winter and autumn, and weaker in spring and summer; however, extreme values occur in some summer and autumn months due to the extreme conditions caused by typhoons passing over this region. These extreme sea states do not contribute much to the total annual energy, mainly because of their low occurrence, but may bring risks to the wave energy converters.