This page contains tips, tricks, strategies, and secrets you should know before heading out on the open seas in Sea of Thieves.
These tips are meant for players starting Sea of Thieves for the first time. And hey, even if you’ve played for a bit, you may find a few new details here or there! Add your own by hitting the “Edit Page” button after you’ve signed in.
The objective of Sea of Thieves is to work with others to amass riches, chase down treasures, complete quests, and defend your lives and loot from the enemies both undead and human.
Check out The 9 Best Tips for Getting Started, and more tips below!
Whenever you begin, you’re going to want to stock up on items found on your current island. Find Bananas to help restore health, planks to help patch holes in your boat, and cannonballs for, well, your cannon.
Once you’re full, head back to the ship and drop them into the barrels found in the lower decks. Now you’ll always have some of these items handy and you’ll have room for the next time you leave the ship. It’s a good idea to have your pockets fairly empty (at least no cannonballs and planks — you want bananas to heal yourself) when exploring an island as you’ll want to stock up again.
Next up, get yourself some quests from your starting isle merchants. You can activate them in the Captain’s Cabin on your ship. Once enough players have voted on a quest (by standing in front of the table and selecting one), you will receive destination information. Head down to the map, find the matching island, hit a button to circle it, and remember the direction (or have someone advise you later. It’s time to set sail!
Communication is key, but it’s also important to know what everything is called, especially in quick and tense situations.
- Bow – Front of the ship.
- Stern – back of the ship.
- Hull – The main body of the ship (between bow and stern).
- Mast – The large wooden pole the holds up sails.
- Rigging – Rope that supports the sails and masts.
- Port – Left side of the ship (when facing bow).
- Starboard – Right side of the ship (when facing bow).
Everyone likes to pretend they know what they’re doing at first but we all start somewhere. Understanding how to operate the ship can come a long way. Keep in mind that the larger your crew, the bigger your ship.
- Anchor – Located near the bow. Quickly drop the anchor with X or take the time to turn and raise the anchor. You don’t need to hold X while raising it.
- Sails – Each sail has two options. The left rigging allows you to raise and lower the sail. Have it lowered when you want to sail to allow the wind to push your boat forward. Raise it when you’ve stopped and you don’t want your boat to move. The rigging on the right will let you turn the sail. Turn the sail into the direction of the wind to have it work properly. Look for the wind lines that show the direction and origin. You want the wind to hit your sails just right. The sails will make a noise and fill up when you’ve got the right angle. To go slower, raise the sails.
- Map – Having someone keeping an eye on the map is always a good idea. As everyone works outside, the player watching the map can communicate with the player behind the wheel. You can mark locations on the mark with a circle and don’t forget you can zoom out and in to see finer details of each island.
- Wheel – The wheel isn’t as daunting as it looks. Turn left to go left, right to go right. Just like driving a car, you’ll need to position the wheel back to the center once you’ve got the direction you want.
- Crow’s Nest – There’s a ladder that takes you up the main mast and into the Crow’s Nest. Use this handy spot to spot obstacles and islands of interest in the distance. This is a great way to keep an eye out for danger as well.
If you want to experience Sea of Thieves to the fullest, you’re going to want to pull out that headset. Communication is vital in completing voyages and simply navigating the ship. Ideally you’ll want everyone in your crew to have voice chat enabled, but even having one member speaking can make a big difference. Remember to use simple, but specific terminology — like 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock, or the above-mentioned nautical terms.
If you really can’t pull out a microphone, there are a few in-game options that will give your partners something to work with. Hold the D-pad to reveal a circle wheel of premade text messages. Simply move the left control stick to select a message and let go to send it. Don’t forget that hitting X can reveal an additional set of dialogue. Ahoy!
Hitting the D-Pad while holding certain items or interacting with objects can yield a different set of messages. Use it while holding a telescope to alert your crew of a ship, or select one of the cardinal directions when viewing the map. If you pull out your pocket watch, you’ll have the option to suggest voting on a new voyage.
Chat in Sea of Thieves is proximity-based, and you can use this to your advantage when encountering other players.
Simply chatting up others may help extend the hand of friendship, but you can also eavesdrop on other crews who may be planning something nefarious. You can also try and sneak onto their ship and listen in on where their treasure is located, or when the plan to drop anchor and hop off. Don’t give away too many of your tactics if you think someone else might be listening!
Sometimes your ship gets damaged and it starts filling up with water. It happens. When it happens, whip out your plank and seal the damaged area. From there, grab a bucket, scoop up some water, then toss it overboard. Each scoop picks up a surprising amount.
If there’s a window in area or any of the floors before the main deck, fill up your bucket and toss the water through the window. This will speed up the process!
Enemy cannons aren’t the only way your ship can be damaged. Sailing into wreckage or slamming into an island doesn’t help your ship at all. Even riding through a storm can cause leaks to appear.
Before you hop into the game, you’ll be asked what kind of crew size you want. The ship you start with depends on the size. A crew of four will get a galleon featuring three sails and additional decks, a duo will get you a vessel, and going solo will start you off with the smallest boat.
Larger ships will take longer to turn over their smaller counterparts, but they do offer a different advantage. The galleon is a faster boat overall, provided you are sailing with the wind. Be able to turn quickly can help you evade enemy attacks, so keep this in mind!
Check out some of these lesser known tips that’ll help you better navigate the open sea and help you get the upper edge on enemies.
YOUR CREW LEFT YOU AGAIN! Don’t sweat it! If you took too long checking out a new island or the nearby shipwreck, you’ll get the chance to warp back to your ship. Once the ship has made some distance, a mermaid will appear in the water. Look for the plume of smoke rising from the water to locate it. Interact with it to rejoin your crew.
This also works if you jump overboard while you’re out on the open seas. No big deal!
It’s good to have the element of surprise, right? Make sure to shut off those lanterns when the sun goes down. The moon offers plenty of light, so there is no need to light up like a Christmas tree for any treacherous foes to see. Lanterns give off a yellow glow and can easily be seen from a distance.
The spyglass is great for spotting enemy ships — but if the sun shines on it, it’ll produce a very visible flash. Be careful not to stare too long or you might alert your opponents.
Cannonballs aren’t the only thing you can place in the cannon. If you want to get from ship to land in a hurry, throw yourself into the cannon and get blasted off to the island. Seriously.
To do this, first aim the cannon to wherever you’d like to land. Do not equip a cannonball and make the sure the cannon is not already loaded. Go to the front of the cannon and load it with yourself. A friend can aim you and fire or you can aim before climbing in and fire yourself.
You may end up taking some fall damage once you land, so keep that in mind. To stay on the safe side, you can always aim for the water near the shore.
Ah yes, the cannon. Looks awesome and it’s super effective, but let’s make sure we’re using it to its full potential.
First off, before you even start a battle, prepare your cannons by loading up them up with cannonballs. When a fight does occur, the loaded cannons can be quickly used and they can be the slight edge you needed to walk out victorious. Leave one or two cannons open in case you want to use them to blast yourself to land.
When fighting another ship, make sure you’re holding spare cannonballs as you can instantly reload — and try not to shoot your cannon at the same spot. Blasting a hole is the first step, but there’s no point in continuing to fire in the same location. Find a new spot!
Take note of the part of the ship that floats below the water. You’ll want to aim your shots to land here so that water starts to fill the enemy ship once it’s been hit. Aim just above where the water hits the ship to better your chances.
If an enemy ship is hit, they’ll need one person to fix one hole. Now imagine if three holes were made at once. More work for one person to clean up and hopefully more chaos for your foes. Coordinate with your crew to try and attack at the same time to make it harder for any enemies.
Melee combat can be a bit finicky in Sea of Thieves, but there are some aspects you should know.
when swinging your sword – either at skeletons or players alike, a three-hit combo will send your opponent flying backwards, even if they block. Charging up your swing and doing a dash strike can also knock back enemies (except skeleton captains), as well as stunning them – if it connects. Use knockback to get some space, or get rid of other players who try to swarm your ship.
There are two things you can vote on. The first is sending someone on your crew to the brig. Dealing with someone who is causing chaos for no reason? A troll of some sort? If a majority votes to send them to the brig, the player will be locked up on the bottom deck of the ship where other members of the crew can taunt, mock, or even vomit on the troublemaker. That player can be voted out by the rest of the crew. Otherwise, you’re stuck there until you quit. Make better choices!
If you’re playing for the first time and wondering why you’re locked in a cage you can’t escape, well, that’s why.
The second voting option is for scuttling ships. Did you get yourself in a tight situation you can’t seem to get out of? Vote to scuttle your ship to have it appear at a nearby island.
This one may be a little obvious but it can easily overlooked. Having multiple players perform a single task can help speed up the process. Clearing out water from inside the ship? Yes. Help bring up the anchor? Definitely. Digging out a treasure chest? You bet.
Want to flip your boat with a sharp turn? Start turning the wheel in the direction you desire, then drop the anchor jolt the boat in the same direction. The wind can help you pull off a very fast turn. This is a nice tactic if you’re being pursued, but you’ll still want the rest of the crew pulling the anchor back up quickly.
The view from behind the wheel can be breathtaking, provided you can see past the sail. For the center mast, try raising it a bit to allow the player controlling the wheel to see some of the water directly in front of the ship.
It’s important to straighten out your ship after you’ve successfully turned it in the right direction. One of the handles on the wheel is plated in gold, indicting the center. For larger ships like the Galleon, the wheel can make two full rotations. Listen for a specific loud smack as the gold handle passes to confirm the center.
The compass is great, but there is an additional way to easily navigate. At nighttime, look up and search for the brightest star. It’s the North Star!
Treasure found in the world of Sea of Thieves will need to be dropped off at an outpost where you can claim your reward. Naturally, different crews will be entering and exiting outposts quite often.
Be careful! If you see a ship already docked at an outpost, that can mean trouble. You may get lucky and nobody will bother you, but let’s be real. You can try and take care of the enemies first before handling the treasure, or you can send out your crew to protect the person transporting the chest. The last thing you want is to reach the end of your voyage only to have your treasure stolen at the last second.
You can try and avoid prying eyes by sailing to the back of an island and quietly sneaking into town. Resist the urge to needlessly fire guns or cannons when you can use the element of surprise.
Surprise! Pirates are common in the world of Sea of Thieves, so you’ll want to safeguard your treasure as much as possible. If you’ve collected a chest and you’re on your way back to an outpost, look around your ship for unique places to hide your prized possession. Hide it on the balcony area of the Captain’s Quarters or try dragging it all the way up to the Crow’s Nest. You can even drop the chest on the sails.
Your boat is sinking and there’s no saving it. But what about the treasure?? Thankfully, treasure chests will float to the surface where you’ll get a chance to salvage them. This won’t last long, so be quick. Keep this in mind for downed enemy ships too.
While you may not be equipped with it at the start of your adventure, the Blunderbuss can be a worthwhile investment. This shotgun like weapon can take down an enemy in a single shot if you’re close enough. Remember that you can swap weapons to the Blunderbuss or Eye of Reach by going to your armory either at the Weapon Shop or on your boat.
EditRestock at Outposts and Large Islands
You never know when you’ll be needing a large supply of wooden planks or cannonballs – and the standard amount you have on your ship isn’t always enough. Store everything you carry, and then head to town or explore a large island and grab everything from all the barrels you can find – you’ll often be able to store a lot more goods, especially when working with a team.
Drinking up grog at the bar will eventually get you to vomit. If this vomit manages to get on anyone, it’ll affect their movement and their visuals. Have your bucket ready and vomit into it. Now you can run over to any of your pals and splash them at your own pace! Take it a step further and put the puke-filled bucket away to store it for any unsuspecting enemies.
Got an enemy on your tail as you speed through the open waters? Consider this. Keep your boat sailing forward and let it go on its own. Abandon ship and jump off the side of your boat, then wait underwater as the enemy boat draws near. Swim up, board their ship, and wreak havoc by surprise.
Are you trying to count your steps yourself? No need. Pull out your compass and hold down the right trigger to bring the compass closer to the center of the screen. Every step you take will leave a rumble, indicating each and every step. Use this voyages with riddles and step counts!
The larger galleon seems to be much faster than the smaller, more maneuverable sloop when sailing with the wind, but the opposite appears to be true when sailing into it. It would stand to reason that more sails mean more drag when the wind isn’t blowing in the galleon’s favor, and if all else fails, use the snoop’s maneuverability to make frequent and drastic heading changes.
There are two types of clouds that you should look out for. One is very obvious: thunderstorm clouds. If you see dark clouds and lightning, there’ll be rough seas ahead. You will take damage if you sail through them.
There’s also a skull cloud with glowing eyes that will appear. This will be point your way to a skeleton outpost.
See a lot of birds circling above the water? They’re likely seeing a sunken ship below. Some are easy to spot because the mast’s still sticking out. Others are fully submerged and may require a deep dive.
If you’re ever outmatched and being chased by other pirates – it doesn’t always have to end with them blasting you out of the water and taking your treasure.
Items are static in the world – meaning if you jump ship and stash your items on an island (and your pursuers don’t notice), you can use a mermaid to respawn your ship and sail back to the island you left your loot at.