Global ocean precipitation is an important part of the water cycle in the climate system. A number of efforts have been undertaken to acquire reliable estimates of precipitation over the oceans based on remote sensing and reanalysis modelling. However, validation of these data is still a challenging task, mainly due to a lack of suitable in situ measurements of precipitation over the oceans. In this study, validation of the satellite-based Hamburg Ocean Atmosphere Parameters and fluxes from Satellite data (HOAPS) climatology was conducted with in situ measurements by ship rain gauges over the Baltic Sea from 1995 to 1997. The ship rain gauge data are point-to-area collocated against the HOAPS data. By choosing suitable collocation parameters, a detection rate of up to about 70% is achieved. Investigation of the influence of the synoptic situation on the detectability shows that HOAPS performs better for stratiform than for convective precipitation. The number of collocated data is not sufficient to validate precipitation rates. Thus, precipitation rates were analysed by applying an interpolation scheme based on the Kriging method to both data sets. It was found that HOAPS underestimates precipitation by about 10%, taking into account that precipitation rates below 0.3 mm h−1 cannot be detected from satellite information.