In the present study a non-motion-stabilized scanning Doppler lidar was operated on board of RV Polarstern in the Arctic (June 2014) and Antarctic (December 2015–January 2016). This is the first time that such a system measured on an icebreaker in the Antarctic. A method for a motion correction of the data in the post-processing is presented. The wind calculation is based on vertical azimuth display (VAD) scans with eight directions that pass a quality control. Additionally a method for an empirical signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) threshold is presented, which can be calculated for individual measurement set-ups. Lidar wind profiles are compared to total of about 120 radiosonde profiles and also to wind measurements of the ship.The performance of the lidar measurements in comparison with radio soundings generally shows small root mean square deviation (bias) for wind speed of around 1 m s−1 (0.1 m s−1) and for wind direction of around 10° (1°). The post-processing of the non-motion-stabilized data shows a comparably high quality to studies with motion-stabilized systems.Two case studies show that a flexible change in SNR threshold can be beneficial for special situations. Further the studies reveal that short-lived low-level jets in the atmospheric boundary layer can be captured by lidar measurements with a high temporal resolution in contrast to routine radio soundings. The present study shows that a non-motion-stabilized Doppler lidar can be operated successfully on an icebreaker. It presents a processing chain including quality control tests and error quantification, which is useful for further measurement campaigns.