|This article is about Ships manned by Skeletons. For Ghostly Ships, see Ghost Ships.|
A Skeleton Ship is a ship operated by a crew of skeletons. They can appear as either Galleons or Sloops, distinguished by their blue and green lanterns, Bone Crusher Figurehead, torn sails, and fortified hull.
Skeleton Ships can be found roaming between islands or through emergent encounters. A roaming skeleton ship will aggro on a player ship if:
- A ship got too close
- A ship fired on the skeletons
- A player got too close to the ladder or boarded the ship
- A ship rams the skeleton ship
Emergent Skeleton Ships will rise up out of the water near player ships. These ships will quickly become hostile. Their chance of spawning are random, but happen more often if a ship has Treasure on board. Due to the larger crew of Skeleton Ships, they can repair very quickly. Skeletons do not own buckets, so they cannot bail water from their ship if it takes damage. During combat, Skeleton Ships will pull up alongside player ships and match their speed. They will either fire cannons or go in for a ram, but skeletons will not board your ship. Skeleton Ships will also occasionally fire a preset type of Cursed Cannonball at player ships. Skeleton Ships always carry respectable sums of loot, making a good reward for sinking them.
There are two types of ships, Sloops and Galleons:
- Skeleton Sloop: A small scout ship with 2 cannons (1 on each side) and a crew of more than 5 skeletons. They mostly rise to attack Sloops and are generally easier to deal with but they are mostly used with their larger cannons as either decoys or distractions.
- Skeleton Galleon: A bigger ship with 8 cannons (4 on each side) and a crew consisting of more than 10 skeletons. Slower and less maneuverable, but has significantly more firepower.
Once defeated, a Skeleton Ship will leave behind 3-12 pieces of Treasure from the list below:
- Treasure Chests
- Bounty Skulls
- Trade Good Crates
- Mermaid Gems
- Bottle Quests
- Ashen Chest
- Ritual Skull
- Storage Crate
A Skeleton Fleet is a World Event signalled by a dark storm cloud shaped like a galleon. The cloud's size is tied to the player's proximity to the event. Skeleton Fleets spawn in the middle section of the map, close to The Glorious Sea Dog and remain for a lengthy amount of time. Fleets have 3 waves, each wave having two ships. The ship types is independent of the wave and will be random.
For each ship, the skeleton and cannonball types are randomized. The crews can either be normal, plant, gold, or shadow skeletons. The ships can also use one of green or purple Cursed Cannonballs or Firebombs in the game. When a Skeleton Ship becomes aggressive toward a player ship, they will immediately start shooting their cannonballs and try to ram the player's ship for extra damage. When in close enough proximity, the skeleton crew will also attempt to shoot at the player with their guns.
Each Skeleton Ship has a captain, a cannon crew on the top deck, a repair crew below deck and snipers on the towers. Any skeletons that are killed on a ship will respawn after a while. The cannon crew constantly uses one type of cursed cannonballs in addition to regular ones, making it harder for the player ship to move or repair their damage. For example, if a Skeleton Ship has Drowsy Cannonballs, the player characters may find themselves being constantly put to sleep and unable to fight back, escape or even repair, so it is of utmost importance to not stand still at a Skeleton Ship's cannon range. The repair crew will focus on patching up any holes, but they cannot bail out water so the most effective way of sinking a Skeleton Ship is to fill up their ship with water in one way or another.
Techniques for Sinking Skeleton Ships
Because of the vast amount of items in sea of thieves, there are many ways to sink Skeleton Ships, the most effective of which are listed below.
For this method, one generally wants to stockpile on cannonballs, planks and food. For this strategy, players simply want to get the Skeleton Ship in cannon range and keep up the firing pressure until the Skeleton Ship sinks. For this method it is best to have at least one player on cannon and steering duty and one player on repair duty. It is important to hit the cannonballs on the lower deck until they sink to the second deck. Aim for the upper decks when their cannoneers are causing trouble or when their water is already at second deck. Cursed Cannonballs also work on Skeleton Ships and crews so these are advised to use to keep the Skeleton Ship from maneuvering and repairing its hull. The Ballast and Peace Balls are extremely effective in sinking Skeleton Ships.
Hole guarding method
This method requires at least two people in the Crew. Have one person man the Cannons and shoot at least one bottom-deck hole, while the other person jumps on board the Skeleton Ship and goes down to guard the Hole from being Planked up by all the Skeletons. This requires a certain level of survival skills of the one guarding the holes, as they have to be able to take on waves of skeletons without dying. Additional Food can be found on the Food Barrel on-deck.
Gunpowder Barrel method
One of the more effective ways to take down these ships. This method involves a member of the players crew taking a Gunpowder Barrel onto the other ship and detonating it. Be mindful that Skeleton Ships tend to speed away from any player that is approaching their ladders, so make sure you hit them with an Anchorball or get them stuck on a rock, island or other ships, so that the keg bearer has a guaranteed chance to board. You could also Harpoon the Skeleton Ship to get closer. After this is done, it is usually best to stay and distract the repair crew from patching the holes as a powder keg is not guaranteed to sink a Skeleton Ship. This can be mixed with cannons, as well as ramming the enemy ship for devastating combos. The best place to detonate the keg would be in the bottom deck, but the keg bearer has to watch out for the repair crew as they will immediately try to kill anyone who enters below deck.
Chest of Sorrow method
If you have been lucky (or unlucky) enough to encounter a Chest of Sorrow on your travels and are bothered by a Skeleton Ship then you have a surefire way of sinking them. The Chest of Sorrow continuously fills up any ship with water when crying and as luck would have it, Skeleton Crews are incapable of bailing out water from a ship. Following the same advice as the Powder Keg Method, have one of your crewmates simply drop the chest anywhere on the Skeleton Ship and watch as they helplessly sink once the chest starts crying.
The Harpoon and bail method
As of the Anniversary Update, this has become one of the easiest and most painless ways to sink any Skeleton Ship. The idea here is to sail behind a Skeleton Ship and have one of your crewmates harpoon the back-end of their ship and keep pulling it in. Meanwhile all the other members of the crew should fill their buckets with water and start bailing overboard towards the Skeleton Ship. This will fill up the Skeleton Ship in no time, causing them to sink without many supplies lost. This is best achieved when you have one small hole in your ship, so you can get a continuous source of water for sinking the Skeleton Ship.
The Bail method can also be done solo without a ship. You could simply swim or rowboat close to a passive Skeleton Ship (note that your own ship has to be far away for them not to aggro) and keep on throwing water on their deck.
Skeleton Ships were introduced in 2018 during the Cursed Sails event. Each week of the event had set timeframes where players were tasked to defend a given region from a Skeleton Ship fleet who would have a specific Cursed Cannonballs arsenal.
- Players can fix the holes of Skeleton Ships with Wooden Planks.
- The map found on the Skeleton Ship map table uses an older, concept art version of the world map.
- It is possible to unload Cannonballs and Cursed Cannonballs out of the ship.
- Defeating an emergent threat such as a Skeleton Ship will now result in higher-value loot drops.