The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers owns or operates 236 locks at 191 sites, more than half of which have surpassed their 50-year de-sign life. There are increasing concerns about their continued safe, reliable operation into the future, especially regarding the adequacy, cost, and effectiveness of routine maintenance, repair, and rehabilitation. Lock gate and guidewall fenders are components that protect locks and gates from barge impacts, and that are consequently subject to impact damage as well as environmental degradation. Fenders may be constructed of any of several materials, most commonly wood, steel, or plastic. The Corps has used fenders made of plastic and composite alternatives to wood and steel shapes with varying levels of success. It is useful to evaluate these newer plasticcomposite materials, and to compare them with their traditional counterparts to determine their relative merits. This preliminary study, based on survey results, was undertaken to initiate an investigation into and discussion of the materials and designs currently used for lock gate and guidewall fenders, with a focus on their relative advantages and disadvantages.