Ultimate Ships Guide (Valheim)

The Viking longship is one of the most iconic parts of Viking lore. While we won’t quite be marauding the coasts in Valhiem, ships are still the only effective way to quickly traverse the huge world map without creating portals. In this guide, we’ll show you step by step how to build your own ship, and then we’ll quickly go over how to effectively sail it.

There are currently three tiers of ship in Valheim: the lowly Raft, the much more ship-like Karve, and finally the true Viking Longship.

Valheim Guide Ships Raft How to Build and Sail

The raft is simple to craft, but so slow that it isn’t really worth it to build unless you’re desperate for a way across the ocean. If for some reason you can’t reach the Black Forest without running an immense distance or crossing the ocean, then you might end up needing one.

  • x20 Wood
  • x6 Leather Scraps
  • x10 Resin
  1. Build a workbench near the body of water you want to drop the raft into.
  2. Pull out your hammer, use right click to open the build menu, and then go to the “Misc” tab.
  3. Select raft, then simply use left-click to drop it into the water.
Valheim Guide Ships Karve How to Build and Sail

The Karve requires that you have access to bronze nails, so you’ll need to have defeated the first boss and made it to the Black Forest. It’s a whole lot faster than the raft, and comes with 4 storage slots in the deck.

  • x30 Fine Wood
  • x10 Deer Hide
  • x20 Resin
  • x80 Bronze Nails

Resin and Deer Hide you should already have in abundance from killing deer and Graydwarves, but Bronze Nails and Fine Wood can be quite the challenge to get in the early game. Here’s all the steps you’ll have to take to get them:

  1. First, you’ll need to find dungeons in the Black Forest and get at least 5 surtling cores to craft a smelter.
  2. Next, you’ll need to mine tin and copper ore (also in the Black Forest) and use the smelter to get useable metals. Smelt 2 Copper for every 1 Tin, as that’s the ratio Bronze requires.
  3. If you don’t have 30 Fine Wood, you’ll need to first craft a Bronze Axe. It requires 8 Bronze, so you’ll need to mine at least 16 Copper and 8 tin.
  4. Go find your Fine Wood. Fine Wood can be cut from Birch and Oak trees in the Meadows biome, but only with a Bronze Axe. You can also find shipwrecks or abandoned furniture, or trick a troll into knocking some Birch down for you.
  5. Next, you’ll need 4 Bronze to make 80 Bronze Nails, so get at least 8 more Copper and 4 more Tin, then craft 4 sets of x20 Bronze Nails.
  1. Build a workbench near the body of water you want to drop the Karve into.
  2. Pull out your hammer, use right click to open the build menu, and then go to the “Misc” tab.
  3. Select the Karve, then use left-click to drop it into the water.
Valheim Ships Longship How to Build and Sail
Image credit: Iron Gate Studios

The Longship is the ultimate Valheim mode of transport. It’s the biggest, the fastest, and it’s got the most cargo room (18 slots) as well. You’ll need to have found a Swamp biome before you can craft the Longship, as it requires Iron and Ancient Bark to construct.

  • x40 Ancient Bark
  • x10 Deer Hide
  • x40 Fine Wood
  • x100 Iron Nails

As with the Karve, some of these materials can be fairly difficult to obtain at first. You’ll need to have created a smelter, as well as gotten access to fine wood (see the “Materials Required to Build a Karve” section of this guide). Ancient Bark can be harvested from Ancient Trees in the Swamp, while Scrap Iron (which is smelted to make Iron) can be found by mining Muddy Scrap Piles, or by looting chests, also in the Swamp biome.

  1. Build a workbench near the body of water you want to drop the Longship into.
  2. Pull out your hammer, use right click to open the build menu, and then go to the “Misc” tab.
  3. Select the Longship, then use left-click to drop it into the water.

To start sailing an ship in Valheim, you simply need to walk up to the rudder, aim directly at it, and press the E key.

The rudder allows you to raise and lower the sails with W and S, as well as steer the boat right and left with D and A. The wheel indicator above the rudder that appears when you begin to use it will show you the current position of your sails, as well as if you’re steering left or right (port and starboard if you want to get nautical).

Steering is simple: using A and D will allow you to steer the ship left and right. If you need to make sharp turns, raise your sails (rowing); turning with your sails lowered is much slower.

Actually getting some speed going requires that you pay attention to the wind. If you’ve got the wind at your back, lowering the sails will dramatically increase your speed. However, if you are sailing into the wind, your sails will actually slow you down — you’re usually better off setting the rudder to 1 (rowing) in those situations. You can try to tack, where you zig zag into the wind, raising your sails as you face the wind fully and lowering them as you turn away from it, but it doesn’t seem to be faster than simply going straight ahead with your sails up.

Valheim Wind Indicator How To Build And Sail Ships
The wind in this image is blowing right to left. The pointy bit of the ship is the front, which is also indicated by the darker section of the colored ring around the ship.

Although it’s difficult to do, you can certainly manage to damage your boat by running into rocks or other coastline. Even if you’re just exploring and not planning to build a permenant settlement on your journey, you should bring at least 10 wood so you can build a Crafting station. This well let you repair your boat on a coast by using your hammer.

You should now be ready to set sail on Valheim’s seas! We hope this guide on ships was helpful. Please let us know if you have any questions or suggestions in the comments below!

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Unabashed FromSoftware fanboy still learning to take his time with games (and everything else, really). The time he doesn't spend on games is spent on music, books, or occasionally going outside.

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Adam Williams
Adam Williams
3 years ago

Thanks for the amazing guide