In the North Sea, an array of wind profiling wind lidars were deployed mainly on offshore platforms. The purpose was to observe free stream winds at hub height. Eight lidars were validated prior to offshore deployment with observations from cup anemometers at 60, 80, 100 and 116 m on an onshore met mast situated in flat terrain. The so-called “NORSEWInD standard” for comparing lidar and mast wind data includes the criteria that the slope of the linear regression should lie within 0.98 and 1.01 and the linear correlation coefficient higher than 0.98 for the wind speed range 4–16 m∙s−1. Five lidars performed excellently, two slightly failed the first criterion and one failed both. The lidars were operated offshore from six months to more than two years and observed in total 107 months of 10-min mean wind profile observations. Four lidars were re-evaluated post deployment with excellent results. The flow distortion around platforms was examined using wind tunnel experiments and computational fluid dynamics and it was found that at 100 m height wind observations by the lidars were not significantly influenced by flow distortion. Observations of the vertical wind profile shear exponent at hub height are presented.