Valheim Boat Guide

Last Update: May 14, 2024 11:30 AM /


Valheim Boat Guide - cover

Our Valheim Boats Guide will tell you how to use a Boat, why you'll need one to explore the world, and how to unlock the Raft, Karve, and Longboat! Read on for our guide on Valheim Ships!

If you're just getting started in Valheim, check out our Starter Guide where we have a number of guides to help you as you journey across the world. For experienced players, we've also got details on how to recover a corrupt character, Valheim in-game cheats, and how to setup your own Valheim server.

Available Ship Choices

There are 4 ships available in Valheim for players to utilize:

  • The Raft
  • The Karve
  • The Longboat
  • The Drakkar

How to Use a Valheim Boat

Using a Valheim Boat doesn't seem intuitive at first, but it will all make sense once you understand the underlying concepts. To start, you can move a Boat forwards or backward using W and S. You can also turn the rudder left or right using A or D. This is all represented on the HUD as shown below.

Valheim Boat Guide - Steering

A major problem, however, is that your Boat is largely powered by the wind. If the wind isn't blowing in the direction you want to move, you're going to be going nowhere fast.

For example, take a look at the below image:

Valheim Boat Guide - Sailing Against the Wind

You can see the wind direction is going to the left. The Raft obviously isn't facing that way, so the best-case scenario is that it will move very, very slowly. In many cases, however, it won't move at all!

When you're at 33% forward (1 arrow up) and in reverse (1 arrow down) speed, you'll be using the rudder to propel your Boat. You may not be able to move forward very fast (or at all) if you're pushing into the wind. At 66% forward power and 100% forward power, you'll deploy the sails and the wind will push you forward.

You can still get stuck in some spots, though. What do you do? The same thing you'd do if your car stopped moving on the road: get out and push.

Valheim Boat Guide - Pushing a Raft by Hand

If your Boat isn't moving, dive into the water and swim towards it so that the wind will properly push it. If you beach a Boat on land, you might also need to push it out into the water and turn it around before you can get sailing again. Sometimes, you may need to dig out the ground underneath your Boat so you can get it moving again.

Unfortunately, it will take several hours of gameplay (including beating the game's first boss) before you can unlock a better Valheim Boat. Read on to see how to unlock each of the Boats!

How to Unlock the Raft

Your first Valheim Boat will probably be the Raft. Fortunately, it's pretty easy to put one together — you can get all of the necessary items in the Meadow. Wood and Resin are easy enough to get; you'll simply have to chop down some trees with an Axe.

The more challenging item is Leather Scraps. You can only get those by killing Boars, so you won't really be able to get a Raft until you get at least 6 Leather Scraps. Some people (myself included) might opt to bypass a Raft altogether and go straight to the Karve, if only because hunting Deer can be a little easier for experienced players.

Raft Crafting Recipe

  • Workbench in range
  • 20 Wood
  • 6 Leather Scraps
  • 6 Resin

Valheim Boat Guide - How to Unlock the Karve

How to Unlock the Karve

You'll probably unlock the Karve in Valheim by Crafting Bronze Nails; odds are, you'll have all of the other components discovered by the time you get to making Bronze Nails.

That means that this Valheim Boat is a little beyond you in the early game — you're going to have to beat the game's first boss Eikthyr before you can get started with Mining and smelting the metals you'll need to make Bronze Nails.

The Karve is a little unintuitive to unlock because it requires Bronze Nails and you might not think to Craft them right away. (Remember, new items are only unlocked in the game when you've picked up each and every component that's required!)

You'll also need Fine Wood, an item that you can't easily get without a Bronze Axe; you can get Fine Wood by chopping down Birch Trees (the white trees with the black spots on them) with a Bronze Axe or better.

Aside from being faster and sturdier, the Karve also has a cargo hold with four inventory spaces. This makes it ideal for transporting Ore and other items in the early game that you can't move through a Portal.

Karve Crafting Recipe

  • Workbench in range
  • 30 Fine Wood (acquired from Birch Trees)
  • 10 Deer Hide
  • 20 Resin
  • 80 Bronze Nails

Valheim Boat Guide - How to Unlock the Longboat

How to Unlock the Longboat

You probably unlock the Longboat in Valheim by crafting Iron Nails. This big Valheim Boat requires 100 Iron Nails, and that means you're going to have to go into the Swamp and mine Iron from a Crypt.

Crypts are locked by default, which means that you'll also have to beat the game's second boss to get the Swamp Key. While you're there, you'll also want to hit some Ancient Trees with a Bronze Axe or better so you can get Ancient Bark.

The Longboat has a massive cargo hold with a total of 18 spaces. This makes it the best option for moving large amounts of Ore (and any other item that can't go through a Portal).

Crafting the second and third Valheim Boat is a little more difficult than a simple Raft. That said, they can carry many more players compared to a single Raft and generally give you a smoother ride on the waters. The controls are the same, too, so the only adjustment you'll need to make is for the higher speed and larger size.

Longboat Crafting Recipe

  • Workbench in range
  • 100 Iron Nails
  • 10 Deer Hide
  • 40 Fine Wood
  • 40 Ancient Bark
Valheim Drakkar Boat

How to Unlock the Drakkar

The Drakkar is the biggest and best boat to date that was introduced as part of the same update that launched the Ashlands Biome.

You're going to need a fair amount of Iron Nails and Finewood, both of which should be easy enough to get by now. You'll also need Yggdrasil Wood from the Mistlands Biome, and you'll need to convert Black Marble into Ceramic Plates at an Artisan Table for the final pieces of the puzzle.

This is a much larger ship than anything you've had to date, but it has some advantages. The first and most obvious benefit is the massive cargo hold — a Drakkar has 32 inventory spaces which is the same amount as your inventory.

More importantly, the Drakkar has a hull that has been reinforced to withstand the heat of the boiling oceans surrounding the Ashlands. You won't be able to get to the Ashlands without building a Drakkar, so make sure you invest in one before setting out to explore that new biome!

Drakkar Crafting Recipe

  • Workbench in range
  • 100 Iron Nails
  • 30 Ceramic Plate
  • 50 Finewood
  • 25 Yggdrasil Wood

That's the end of our Valheim Boat Guide. If you enjoyed it, why not check out our other guides below?

Have a tip, or want to point out something we missed? Leave a Comment or e-mail us at

A photograph of TechRaptor Senior Writer Robert N. Adams.
| Senior Writer

One of my earliest memories is playing Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo Entertainment System. I've had a controller in my hand since I was 4 and I… More about Robert N

More Info About This Game
Learn More About Valheim
Game Page Valheim
Iron Gate
Release Date
February 2, 2021 (Calendar)
Survival, RPG, Indie
Purchase (Some links may be affiliated)