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Naval combat in Sea of Thieves consists of one main goal; to sink your opponent's ship. Naval combat is fundamental to Player VS Player (PVP) combat in Sea of thieves, and relies heavily on ship maneuvering and correct use of cannons. According to the pirate code, "Disputes Are Settled upon the Waves", implying this is how pirates settle disagreements.

The naval combat system[]

  • The main goal to win naval combat is to sink an enemy's ship. This is achieved by breaching the hull of an enemy ship, causing it to take on water and eventually sink. The easiest way to do so is to use your Cannons by loading them with cannonballs and shooting at enemy ships. To maximize ship damage, one should aim at the hull, at or below the waterline to cause damage that will let water in.
  • Having one's sails raised during cannon warfare it'll be much easier to aim, but it will also make you an easy target. These are dilemmas one will have to consider.
  • Another way to sink another ship is to carry explosive barrels and sneak into another ship, drop it, and shoot it until it explodes. Alternatively light the fuse, drop it, and run away before it explodes. This deals a large amount of damage to the enemy ship and may cause it to sink if you manage to slay the occupants as well.
  • The final way to sink an enemy ship is to cause a collision. This can either be done by ramming your own ship into theirs, but this will cause damage to your own ship. You can also try to pinch it if you can get the enemy ship between your ship and rocks out in the sea. This way they will eventually have to collide with either if you position yourself correctly, thus damaging their hull.
  • Killing the occupants of a ship makes sinking their ship much easier, as it gives you free time to do whatever you want. You can also take control of their ship and crash it, or cast their anchor to make it an easy target.
  • If you successfully manage to sink a ship, all the treasures onboard will float to the water's surface and let you carry them onboard your own ship. These treasures can be sold to the respective faction just like any other treasure you gain from voyages.
  • You can gain an advantage by using cursed cannon balls. This will enable you to have special benefits like dropping your enemies anchor and disabling their cannons. With the new update came fire bombs which can be shot out of your cannon. As the name suggests this bomb explodes into flames giving a great advantage to the user.
  • Firebombs are useful in these situations as the fire that they cause will deal damage to enemy players and ship including the masts, capstan, and wheel. They can also be fired out of cannons.
  • Blunderbombs can also be used in naval combat, but not very effective as the enemy pirates can hide below deck and most often won’t take too much damage. However, they can knock ships off course if they hit the hull.
  • Chainshot are extremely useful in naval combat as they can take out a mast, capstan, or wheel in one shot. They will not deal too much damage to ships and players, however.
  • When defending against pirate attacks, one must pay good attention to controlling one's ship. If you sail alone you'll have to have quick reflexes as you have to pay attention both to the enemy ship and the cannonballs, and watching your ship to avoid enemy pirates sneaking up on your ship with an explosive barrel or throwing your anchor.
  • The most important element is to make sure you don't take on water. If your ship is hit, you'll get a hole in your hull which has to be shut close with wooden planks which can be found in your ship's storage. You can also use your bucket to pick up the water inside your ship and throw it overboard to avoid it filling your ship. When doing so, be careful you make sure enemy pirates won't get aboard your ship
  • If you choose to flee from an aggressor, you can try to throw them off by taking an explosive barrel; igniting the fuse and dropping it over the side of the ship near the ladders in either the port or starboard side. If the enemy ship is close enough, and you timed it properly, the barrel may just explode near their ship causing a decent amount of damage. It may be just enough to make your escape or enough risk to your aggressor that you are not worth the trouble. It may help to have a few explosive barrels on your ship, but it is also extremely risky, as they can be easily exploited by other pirates, store them on your ship at your own risk. Remember sloops are faster against the wind so if you decided to flee from a brig or a galleon head towards the wind not with it.
  • Boarding is a typical endeavor for the seasoned pirate, but can be difficult for a novice sailor. Although not essential to winning a naval battle, boarding can help you seize the advantage and shorten the duration of a fight. Conversely, it can also put you in bad shape in some cases.
  • Boarding can have several objectives: to prevent the enemy from using their cannons, to control their ship or to prevent them from repairing.
  • There are three common ways to board a ship:
    • The most common is to position oneself on the bow of one's ship in order to hit the enemy ship and jump into it. In addition to allowing you to approach it, this technique also allows to pierce the hull of the enemy. However you must be careful boarding this way as your boat will also take damage and it would be stupid to sink too... Your teammate can therefore take care of the repairs.
    • The second technique is to drop into the water and catch the ladder of the enemy ship. However, this maneuver is visible to the enemy who will prevent you from boarding. Most often, it is used in case one is pursued to drop the anchor of the enemy in order to escape.
    • The final technique is the cannon launch. Considered by some to be the most effective method of boarding because it provides the effect of surprise, it comes at the cost of being the most difficult to implement. Launching yourself from the cannon is difficult for two reasons: your boat and the enemy boat are both constantly moving, and once in the barrel of the cannon it is impossible to aim. Moreover, it can be done '' easily '' only from certain angles: from the back, aiming at the masts or the cabin of the captain (to land on the balcony) or from the front, aiming at the captain's cabin.
  • But what to do on board? Whatever you prefer: dropping anchor will immobilize the ship, the pirates manning the cannons are easy targets to knock overboard, preventing your opponents from repairing can lead to their ship sinking more easily, etc.
  • For a successful boarding, we must focus on short-range weapons and knockback (cutlass and blunderbuss, which are also the easiest to use). These weapons will allow you to do big damage but also to propel your opponents away from you or out of the ship. Use the various elements of the boat (masts, prison, stairs etc) as cover to regenerate or recharge.

Cursed Cannon Balls and Fire Bombs[]

In naval combat Cursed Cannon Balls will give you advantages like dropping your enemies anchor and sabotaging their cannons. With the new update came Fire Bombs. Fire Bombs can be fired out of cannons leaving your enemies in flames.


  • In article 3 of the pirate code, it is stated that "Disputes Are Settled upon the Waves"