The advantages and limitations of the ZephlR (R), a continuous-wave, focused light detection and ranging (LiDAR) wind profiler, to observe offshore winds and turbulence characteristics were tested during a 6 month campaign at the tronsformer/platform of Hams Rev, the world's largest wind form. The LiDAR system is a ground-based sensing technique which avoids the use of high and costly meteorological masts. Three different inflow conditions were selected to perform LiDAR wind profiling. Comparisons of LiDAR mean wind speeds against cup anemometers from different masts showed high correlations for the open sea sectors and good agreement with their longitudinal turbulence characteristics. Cup anemometer mean wind speed profiles were extended with LiDAR profiles up to 161 m on each inflow sector. The extension resulted in a good profile match for the three surrounding masts. These extended profiles, averaged over all observed stabilities and surface roughness lengths, were compared to the logarithmic profile. The observed deviations were relatively small. Offshore wind form wakes were also observed from LiDAR measurements where the wind speed deficits were detected at all LiDAR heights. Profile-derived friction velocities and roughness lengths were compared to Charnock's sea roughness model. These overage values were found to be close to the model, although the scatter of the individual estimations of sea roughness length was large. Copyright (C) 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.