Wind reports by data buoys are used to demonstrate that these reports have in the past provided useful values for the synoptic scale winds and that at present these reports provide very reliable values for the synoptic scale winds. Past studies of wind reports by ships have revealed that the data are of poor quality, but the causes for this poor quality are not identified. Examples of the poor quality of wind data from ships are obtained by comparing ship reports with buoy reports and comparing reports of different kinds of ships with each other. These comparisons identify many different reasons for the poor quality of wind data from ships. Suggestions are made for improving the quality of ship data. The consequences of the poor quality of ship winds are described in terms of the effects on weather and wave forecasts. The implications for remotely sensed winds are discussed.