Waves critically affect man in coastal regions, including the open coasts and adjacent continental shelves. Preventing beach erosion, designing and building structures, designing and operating ships, providing marine forecasts, and coastal planning are but a few examples of projects for which extensive information about wave conditions is critical. Scientific studies, especially those in- volving coastal processes and the development of better wave prediction models, also require wave condition information. How- ever, wave conditions along and off the coasts of the United States have not been adequately determined. The main categories of available wave data are visual estimates of wave conditions made from ships at sea, scientific measurements of waves made for short time periods at specific locations, and a small number of long-term measurements made from piers or offshore platforms. With these considerations in mind, the National Ocean Survey of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration sponsored the Ocean Wave Climate Symposium at Herndon, Virginia, July 12-14, 1977. This volume contains papers presented at this symposium. A goal of the symposium was to establish the foundations for a com- prehensive and far-sighted wave measurement and analysis program to fully describe the coastal wave climate of the United States. Emphasis was placed on ocean engineering and scientific uses of wave data, existing wave monitoring programs, and modern measure- ment techniques which may provide currently needed data.