Nonlinear components of wakes from large high-speed ships at times carry a substantial part of the wake energy and behave completely differently compared to the classical Kelvin wave system. This overview makes an attempt to summarize the descriptions of nonlinear parts of a ship’s wake. For completeness, also the basic properties of the Kelvin wake are sketched. The central topic is the generation of solitons by ship motion both in channels and in unbounded sea areas. The discussion is mostly limited to disturbances on the surface of nonstratified water. The optional nonlinear components of the ship wake such as the very narrow V-like wake components, packets of monochromatic waves, ship-generated depression areas, and supercritical bores are also discussed. Specific features of solitonic ship waves and their interactions have numerous applications in naval and coastal engineering, and in adjacent areas of applied mechanics. An overview of the practical use of certain properties of phase shifts, and particularly high wave humps occurring during Mach reflection and nonlinear interaction of solitons in decreasing the wave resistance at supercritical speeds and in the freak wave theory, is also presented. The final part of the paper describes the results of studies of far-field properties of nonlinear wakes and possible consequences of the increase of local hydrodynamic activity. There are 263 references cited in this review article.