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  • Writer's picturechimneyswift

Rowboat Guide

Updated: Feb 22, 2023

Rowboats could be considered the unsung hero in Sea of Thieves. With their versatility, they are able to make a pirate’s life much easier while sailing at sea. With that said, here’s our Rowboat Guide for Sea of Thieves.

First, a Word From the Author

ChimneySwift11 here! I'm a Sea of Thieves Partner and stream Sea of Thieves 4 days a week on my Twitch Channel! I love helping new players learn the game, so be sure to check out my streams HERE.

Acquiring a Rowboat

Rowboats are easier to find in Sea of Thieves than many people believe. With the exception of Outposts (unless a player left one there for you), any island has a chance to have a luxurious rowboat sitting there waiting for you to give it a proper home. However, it’s important to note that not all rowboats are created equally. There are two types of Rowboats in Sea of Thieves:

First, you have your basic lantern rowboat. These are more common and are great to take and use, even if you plan on ditching it soon after use.

Second, is the harpoon rowboat and this bad boy is the King of all Rowboats! This is the kind of rowboat that all pirates lust over. NEVER leave a harpoon rowboat behind, if you don’t already have one.

The simple addition of a harpoon to the front gives the harpoon rowboat many uses and advantages over a basic lantern rowboat, such as having a quick way to snag loot from shore, to even some HIGH end “Pro Gamer Moves” that we’ll discuss later in this guide.

Third, is the cannon rowboat. The cannon rowboat can be used as a weapon on the water, giving your "rowboat plays" a bit more firepower! Cannon rowboats can also be attached to the back of any ship, giving you an extra cannon on one side. Just keep in mind that if you're using the rowboat on the water (not attached to your ship) and you fire the cannon, the force of the cannon will push your rowboat back. Also it's important to note that Skeleton Ships, Ghost Ships, skeletons on island / fort cannons, and phantoms on cannons at Sea Forts & Athena Veil fortresses will view a cannon rowboat as hostile and they will fire cannonballs at you.

Pro Tip: If you see a cannon rowboat at an island, I highly recommend you stop and check the Rowboat Chest at the back. Cannon Rowboats almost always contain at least 1 Cursed Cannonball, as well as a handful of regular cannonballs, which could prove to be useful for you on your adventure!

Regardless of the type of rowboat you have, my favorite part is the Rowboat’s Chest. These can have so many different items inside from TOP quality foods to an assortment of deadly and cursed cannonballs. It’s like a Christmas present, so if you find a rowboat on shore ALWAYS check to see what goodies are inside the Rowboat’s Chest.

How to Maneuver the Rowboat

Rowboats are the most maneuverable boats in Sea of Thieves, but are also the slowest moving (still faster than swimming though). They require constant input in order to properly maneuver them around. This means pushing the correct inputs constantly, almost as if you are rowing an actual boat. Here’s the default controls to your rowboat:

PC / Keyboard

  • Press A+D at the same time to go forward

  • Press A by itself to go left

  • Press D by itself to go right

Console / Controller

  • Press LT+RT at the same time to go forward

  • Press LT by itself to go left

  • Press RT by itself to go right

Sharp Turning

PC / Keyboard

  • Sharp Right = hold Q and press D

  • Sharp Left = hold E and press A

Console / Controller

  • Sharp Right = hold LB and press RT

  • Sharp Left = hold RB and press LT


PC / Keyboard

  • Brakes = hold Q and E

Console / Controller

  • Brakes = hold LB and RB

When steering a rowboat, it will initially seat you facing the back of the boat. Looking “backwards” like this can make steering more difficult, as turning will feel reversed. You can move your camera right or left to face forward, but you’ll never be able to spin in a full 360 as your camera will stop halfway. Looking forward at this “halfway” spot will make steering your rowboat so much easier! Left becomes left, and right becomes right.

Taking Your Rowboat WITH You

The best thing about rowboats is you can take them on and off your ship rather quickly, making them ideal to use when looting islands. To attach a rowboat to your ship, simply row any rowboat to the back of your ship and press the “Dock Rowboat” button.

Once your boat is attached, you can unload your island’s worth of goodies onto your ship. When you’re ready to take your little boat back to shore, simply head to the back of your boat where it’s docked, look at the ropes holding it up, and use the “Detach Rowboat” button to set it back into the water.

How to Damage a Rowboat

Much like your ship, a rowboat can take damage and WILL sink. This means that any loot in the rowboat will fall out, and everything INSIDE the Rowboat’s Chest will be LOST FOREVER. So make sure you unload your treasure onto your ship, and don’t leave too many of your “good” supplies in the Rowboat’s Chest.”

The only things that will damage a rowboat are cannonballs (fired from cannons), explosions from a Gunpowder Keg, and Blunderbombs. If you’re wanting to intentionally destroy your rowboat, it is best to chuck a few blunderbombs at it where it’ll turn into woodchips in no time.

Advance Harpoon Rowboat Techniques

Harpoon Rowboats have quite a few unique uses which really make it one of the BEST things to have since the addition of Splinter Free Ships.

Land Boating

Land boating requires a harpoon rowboat, but is one of the BEST ways to turn in large amounts of loot to those Alliances at Outposts that like to hang out a bit too far inland. You may need to practice these techniques, but here are a couple ways to get your Harpoon Rowboat onto shore. These strategies are especially good for the Solo Sloopers out there, as they will save you massive amounts of time when turning in your loot.

How to Become a Successful Solo Slooper

Technique #1

For this technique, you want to line your harpoon rowboat up facing the shore. Hop on your harpoon and shoot it onto something near your final destination. Then jump onto the oars and start rowing forward. This may take some practice, but you will notice in no time that you are rowing your rowboat across the beach and towards your destination.

Technique #2

First, steer your harpoon rowboat as close as you can to land. Next, get off the oars and start using your harpoon. Fire your harpoon and attach it to anything you can reach. From there you can then hold Right-Click on your mouse (keyboard setup) or hold LT (Controller) to make the harpoon pull your boat. You may need to retract and shoot the harpoon a couple times to adjust your path, but this will effectively pull your rowboat across land towards your destination.

Meg Surfing

That’s right, you can actually use your harpoon rowboat to “ride or die” behind one of the most deadly creatures on the Sea of Thieves. Simply harpoon the Megalodon as it passes by and you will be dragged behind it at impressive speeds!

Final Tips About Rowboats

Even though your ship may sink, if your rowboat hasn’t taken a lot of damage during a fight then you may be able to still use it to gather up your loot and row your way to a nearby outpost. This is mainly useful when you are sunk by a non-player enemy such as a Megalodon, Skeleton Ship, or Kraken.

Rowboats can be used in PVP to help you quickly sneak over to an enemy ship without having to swim and risk becoming shark bait. Adding a gunpowder keg to this tactic is a quick and fun way to bring a barrel of death right to the enemy’s ship deck.

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