Since the turn of the 21st century, the onshore wind industry has seen significant growth due to the falling cost of wind generated electricity. This growth has coincided with an interest in the development of offshore wind farms. In Europe, governments and developers have begun establishing small to medium sized wind farms offshore to take advantage of stronger and more constant winds and the relative lack of landowner conflicts. In the U.S., several developers are in the planning and resource evaluation phases of offshore wind farm development, but no wind farms are currently operational or under construction. In this paper, we analyze the patterns of development in Europe and compare them to the U.S. We find significant differences in the patterns of development in Europe and the U.S. which may impact the viability of the industry in the U.S. We also discuss the policies used by European nations to stimulate offshore wind development and we discuss the potential impacts of similar policies in the U.S.