The time histories and spectral characteristics of acoustic pulses reflected from fiberreinforced composite laminates immersed in water are recorded in the laboratory and analyzed through a generalized ray theory and an exact theory. Calculated results for an unidirectional laminate and two angle-ply laminates are compared with measured data. It is shown that for a unidirectional laminate a finite number of mode-converted waves contribute to the overall signal reflected from a thick specimen resulting in certain irregular behavior of the reflected pulses. A phenomenological model of wave attenuation is introduced in the theoretical simulation and the damping parameters are shown to have a strong influence on the amplitude of the reflected pulses. The phase velocity of the guided waves in the laminates are shown to be nearly independent of water loading and material dissipation in a broad frequency range. Agreement between measured and calculated results is found to be excellent to very good in all cases.