Anno 1404 Wiki
Sea fight

Various ship types engaged in sea battle

Ships play an important role in the Island-filled regions of Anno1404. They are used to transport Goods and Items between Harbours, and can attack and defend against Enemy ships. The only exception to this are Transport boats, which appear when transporting Troops between Islands. While they do follow Ship controls, they will not be discussed in this Guide. For information about transporting Troops, see Combat.

Each Ship has a certain number of Cargo holds and Item sockets. The standard capacity of Cargo holds is 40 tons of Goods. Alternatively, a Cargo hold can be used to transport 1 Item. The Item's effect will not be active unless the Item is socketed, however. Warships can attack other ships. A ship will lose speed as its health decreases, until it eventually sinks. All Ships in the player's fleet can be renamed to a maximum of 15 characters by clicking on the name of the Ship.


Ship type Construction cost Ship limit Maintenance Prerequisite Cargo holds Sockets
Occident Flagship Gold coins 3500 * Ship limit 0 Maintenance cost 0 Citizen Citizens 4 2
Small trading ship Gold coins 1500 • Wood 15 • Ropes 20 Ship limit 1 Maintenance cost 15 Citizen 240 Citizens 3 1
Small warship Gold coins 2000 • Wood 30 • Ropes 30 • Weapons 20 Ship limit 1 Maintenance cost 30 Patricians Patricians 1 1
Large trading ship Gold coins 4000 • Wood 60 • Ropes 60 Ship limit 2 Maintenance cost 50 Patricians Patricians 6 1
Large warship Gold coins 4500 • Wood 70 • Ropes 70 • Cannons 20 Ship limit 2 Maintenance cost 60 Nobleman 950 Noblemen 2 1
Orient Caravel Gold coins 2500 • Wood 30 • Ropes 20 Ship limit 1 Maintenance cost 10 Nomads 440 Nomads
Diplomatic rank 3 The Sheik's Ally
3 2
Large Oriental trading ship Gold coins 4000 • Wood 50 • Ropes 50 • Cannons 15 Ship limit 2 Maintenance cost 50 Envoys 1040 Envoys
Diplomatic rank 5 The Grand Vizier's Advisor
5 2
Large Oriental warship Gold coins 4500 • Wood 80 • Ropes 80 • War machines 30 Ship limit 2 Maintenance cost 60 Envoys 1740 Envoys
Diplomatic rank 6 The Sultan's Confidant
2 2
Venice Small Tradesman's Cog Gold coins 2500 • Wood 25 • Ropes 20 Ship limit 1 Maintenance cost 40 Citizen 240 Citizens
Venetian Shipbuilding 1
4 2
Large Tradesman's Cog Gold coins 4000 • Wood 80 • Ropes 60 • Cannons 15 Ship limit 2 Maintenance cost 80 Nobleman 950 Noblemen
Venetian Shipbuilding 2
6 2
Corsairs Corsair ship Gold coins 11700 * Ship limit 1 Maintenance cost 25 Trade treaty Trade treaty with Corsairs 2 2

* The Flagship and Corsair ship can only be purchased for the displayed amount from Lord Northburgh and Hassan ben Sahid respectively.

Venetian ships[]

Two new Ships were added by the Venice add-on: the Small and Large Tradesman's Cog. By default they have extended Cargo hold capacity and higher damage resistance than other Ships. The Large Tradesman's Cog also has armaments on board, which allows it to continue operating during wartime without the need for an escort. The Venetian shipbuilding Attainment is required to unlock construction of the two Venetian ships. The first rank unlocks the Small Tradesman's Cog, and the second rank unlocks the Large Tradesman's Cog.


Ships move at the speeds listed in the table below. When a ship is damaged or loaded with goods, it moves at reduced speed. Speed and reduction can be changed through attainments, bonus items and crew members, and by building Historic Warehouses. Effects are cumulative[nb 1].

Slowdown due to damage is the same for all ships: ship speed is reduced by a maximum of 75% (i.e., the ship moves at 1/4 of its undamaged speed). The only exception to this rule is the Small Tradesman's Cog: it is slowed by only 15%.

Ship type Empty Load factor[1] Full load[nb 2]
Absolute[1][nb 3] Relative[nb 4] Absolute[1][nb 3] Relative[nb 4]
Occident Flagship 14500 1.00 0.20 11600 0.80
Small trading ship 12500 0.86 0.15 10625 0.73
Small warship 15500 1.07 0.30 10850 0.75
Large trading ship 14000 0.97 0.1 12600 0.87
Large warship 14000 0.97 0.25 10500 0.72
Orient Caravel 15000 1.03 0.10 13500 0.93
Large Oriental trading ship 17000 1.17 0.10 15300 1.06
Large Oriental warship 17000 1.17 0.20 13600 0.94
Venice Small Tradesman's Cog 16000 1.10 0.15 13600 0.94
Large Tradesman's Cog 16000 1.10 0.10 14400 0.99
Corsairs Corsair ship 12500 0.86 0.30 8750 0.60


The following is a list of all Ship controls. To start issuing commands to your Ships, you first have to select them. This can be done in the following ways:

  • Select Ship: Left-click on a Ship.
  • Select Ships: Left-click on Ships while holding Ctrl + Shift.
  • Select Area: Hold left-click while dragging the mouse over the Ships.
  • Cycle through Ships: Press Tab to cycle through Ships.

Ships can also be selected by using Fleet Hotkeys (Venice only). To create a Fleet Hotkey, press Ctrl + a number key to add the selected Ships to the Hotkey of that number. All the Ships bound to that Hotkey can then be selected at once by pressing the associated number key. After selecting one or more Ships, there is a number of available movement options:

  • Moving: Right-click a location.
  • Escorting: Right-click an Allied Ship.
  • Attacking: Right-click an Enemy Ship or Building.
  • Patrolling: Left-click the "Patrol" button and then left-click to place waypoints.

In addition to these movement options, there is some additional features to keep in mind.

  • Transporting: Assign the Ship to a Trading route in the Trading route menu.
  • Settling Islands: Press the "Create Warehouse" button near a shore to create a Warehouse.
  • Selling to Corsairs: Press the "Sell Ship" button near the Corsair lair to sell the Ship.
  • Combat mode: Press the "Combat mode" button to switch between Defensive and Offensive Combat.

The two Combat modes respectively mean not to pursue an enemy ship and to pursue an enemy ship. When a ship is idle (no movement or orders) and starts to pursue an enemy ship in Offensive Combat mode it will continue to pursue this ship until it destroys it, after which the ship will return to the point from which it started its pursue.

Obtaining Ships[]

The game offers many different ways of obtaining Ships. The first Ship a player obtains is usually a Flagship, either as part of the Starting conditions, or by purchasing one from Lord Northburgh after reaching the Citizen tier. Lord Northburgh will also offer to sell the player a replacement if their Flagship is sunk.

  • Construction in Shipyards: Ships can be constructed in the Small shipyard, Large shipyard, or Oriental shipyard.
  • Call Auxiliary fleet: Ships can be demanded from Mentors in exchange for Honour.
  • Purchase from Corsairs: Ships can be purchased from the Corsairs once a Trade treaty has been established.
  • Received as reward: Quests have a chance of rewarding the player with Ships. Particularly Sultan and Emperor quests.

Note: The number and type of Ships received when calling an Auxiliary fleet is based on the player's rank in the "Royal armada", "The Sultan's naval forces", and "Doge Naval fleet". Additionally, the cost of purchasing Ships from the Corsairs can be reduced with the "Binding handshake" Attainment.

Statistics and comparison[]

Cargo capacity[]

All ships have a base capacity of 40 tons per hold. Oriental and Occidental ships can increase their holds with attainments, historic warehouses and items (crew members), to a maximum of 135 tons per hold. There are no attainments to increase the hold capacity of Venetian ships, and without items are maxed to 55 tons per hold with the Historic Warehouse.

Ship type Cargo holds[1] Sockets[1] Base total capacity Max. total capacity without items[nb 5] Max. total capacity with items[nb 6] Max. total capacity per ship limti unit
Occident Flagship 4 2 160 220 460
Small trading ship 3 1 120 225 315 315
Small warship 1 1 40 55 85 85
Large trading ship 6 1 240 450 630 315
Large warship 2 1 80 110 170 85
Orient Caravel 3 2 120 225 405 405
Large Oriental trading ship 5 2 200 375 675 337.5
Large Oriental warship 2 2 80 110 230 115
Venice Small Tradesman's Cog 4 2 160 220 460 460
Large Tradesman's Cog 6 2 240 330 690 345
Corsair ship 2 2 80 110 230 230

Troop Transport Boat Speed[]

Ship type Speed
Absolute[1][nb 3] Relative[nb 4]
Small military camp 11000 0.76
Big military camp 10000 0.69
Trebuchet position 10000 0.69
Oriental encampment 12000 0.83
Cannon position 10000 0.69
Miner position 11000 0.76
Assassin's camp 15000 1.03
Robber baron camp 10000 0.69

Combat strength[]

These are the base values. They can be modified by bonuses such as Oriental Shipbuilding and Dishonest methods.

Ship type Hit points[1] Attack power[1] Attack range[1] Vision Radius[1]
Occident Flagship 600 6 15 40
Small trading ship 400 20
Small warship 500 6 10 20
Large trading ship 1000 30
Large warship 1200 14 15 30
Orient Caravel 400 30
Large Oriental trading ship 800 6 15 30
Large Oriental warship 1000 10 15 30
Venice Small Tradesman's Cog 400 20
Large Tradesman's Cog 1000 8 15 40
Corsair ship 500 4/5/7[nb 7] 15 20


Trading ships comparison[]

Ship Small Trading Ship Caravel Small Tradesman's Cog Large Trading Ship Large Oriental Trading Ship Large Tradesman's Cog
pros available earliest lowest maintenance cost 4 cargo holds available early fastest from all trading units 6 cargo holds
cheapest to bulid 2 item holds 2 item holds 6 cargo holds 2 item holds 2 item holds
moderate maintenace cost decent speed fastest from all small trading units tough armed armed
low speed penalty when damaged tough
best max capacity/ship limit ratio decent speed
cons slowest from all ships weak weak "only" 1 item hold available lately high maintenance cost
weak high maintenace cost "only" acceptable speed expensive to bulid expensive to bulid
"only" 1 item hold lack of speed/capacity attainments "only" 5 cargo holds lack of speed/capacity attainments
note The only reason of building this ship is need of any trading unit at the beginning of a game. Replacing these ships with caravels or small cogs is advised Excellent ships in the beginning and for delivering single goods, its low maintenace cost allows to be deployed en masse, making competition to „big ships” Excellent ship in the beginning and for dangerous trading routes, but +capacity items are a must Good choice for backbone of trading fleet, +speed items are recommended. Nice for carrying one more good. Its speed makes superior at long routes and for delivering crucial goods, good choice for backbone of trading fleet Tough and expensive ship with highest theoretical capacity and decent speed, in case of emergency it can be used as warship and can be called from Garibaldi as auxilary fleet

Small trading ship vs. Caravel vs. Small Tradesman's Cog[]

The small trading ship can be built sooner, but Caravels have a lower maintenance cost. Caravels, once built, are better in every way to the Small Trading Ships. Small Cogs are superior but have a steep maintenance cost relative to the cheaper small trade ships.

Being both the slowest and weakest ship in the game, small trading ships are very vulnerable to roaming enemy ships.

Large trading ship vs. Large Oriental trading ship vs. Large Tradesman's Cog[]

Oriental trading ships are the fastest ships in the game; even when fully loaded, they still outrun most other ships. Their lower number of cargo holds can be compensated by an additional item socket: equip two cargo hold enlargers and they carry as much as a large trading ships (albeit still restricted to 5 Cargo Holds). Large Cogs do not have attainments to increase their carrying capacity, limiting their usefulness in the late game a bit. Although they reach the maximum possible Capacity, due to their 2 item slots plus 6 cargo slots. With two 30t items and cost reduction (+ additional speed increase e.g. "Captain Claude Homebird") they are strictly superior to the Large trading ship in maintenance, speed, and cargo capacity. Finding these items can be expensive and time intensive, though. Large oriental trading ships using the same items are superior in speed, have more cargo capacity per cargo slot, but, since one cargo slot short, inferior in maximal capacity. The full load speed ratio "Oriental/Cog" is 1.07 (+ 15% speed of the Oriental Shipbuilding attainment for the oriental ship; not clear if this 15% is added on the other speed adjustments or multiplied), the maximal cargo ratio "Cog/Oriental" is 1.022. Since ships need some time loading in the harbour, which is for all ships the same, the speed ratio drops a bit, depending on the length of the route. For very short routes the Large Tradesman's Cog should be superior to the Large Oriental trading ship. For long routes it should be the other way.

Large Cogs are similar to your Flagship: jacks-of-all trades good for multipurpose use. They are a direct upgrade to your Flagship but come at a steep cost. They are best used like your Flagship; as a 'free' ship to accomplish random tasks: Miscellaneous quests, selling overstocked goods, transporting goods to other islands to build additional production, etc.

Very late game[]

When the maximum ship limit of 100 points is reached or close to be reached, the best thing to do is to get Flagships of your opponents using a boarding party (and the Letters of Marque). However, since cost should not matter any more, the Small Tradesmen's Cog is the best choice out of all constructable ships, since they have by far the best capacity per ship limit ratio, even though it is slower than the Large Oriental Trading ship. (A downside of the Small Tradesmen's Cog is that one will need more items, due to the increased number of needed total amount of ships, by a simultaneously reduced ship limit (2 for 2 ship limit points instead of 1 per 2 ship limit points using large ships)).


Corsair ships[]

Even though Hassan ben Sahid likes to boast about his ships' speed, they are actually tied for slowest ship with the small trading ship. Any ship that isn't slowed down can outrun or intercept his ships. Note that these ships are capable of repairing themselves in a slow process without the need of a special item, although such item can boost repair speed and adds up to it.

Two small warships vs. one large occidental/oriental warship[]

Two small warships are roughly as expensive as one large occidental/oriental warship.

Two small warships offer neither the strength/stamina of a large occidental warship, nor the speed and versatility of a large oriental warship. This limits their use to the start of the game and to situations where a military presence is desired but no real fighting is expected.

Large warship vs. Oriental warship[]

Both are roughly equally expensive. The oriental warship is much faster, but the occidental large warship is tougher. Occidental Warships are best for attacking other settlement or stationary targets, Oriental Warships are better for defending your realm and chasing ships (the AI frequently disengages from bad fights to repair).

Tradesman's Cogs[]

These ships excel neither at combat nor at trade. Their niche is in transporting goods over routes where they can expect to be harassed by enemy ships. Large Tradesman's Cog alone can handle 2 pirate ships, although not at once. So, if you have luck at gambling +capacity items (from Vizier's citizen level items for example) you can try call Large Cogs from Garibaldi, as auxiliary fleet for 500 honour, instead building Large Trading Ships.

The Small Tradesman's Cog is unique in its ability to continue sailing at nearly full speed even when heavily damaged.

The Large Tradesman's Cog is not as fast as the large oriental trading ship and when upgraded with +20 cargo hold item, it's basically armed and more expensive Occidental Large Trading Ship with all Occidental Shipbuilding attainments bought.

Large Oriental Trading Ship[]

Fastest ship in the game, when equipped with all possible speed boosts (two 30% speed items, historic warehouse, Oriental Shipbuilding attainment). Otherwise weak in combat the speed advantage can be a niche in some situations.

Items for ships[]

Ships can be improved by acquiring special items from the Strongbox section of the warehouses of Lord Richard Northburgh, the Grand Vizier al Zahir, or Hassan ben Sahid. They can also be obtained by completing quests.

Items requiring activation[]

These items need to be activated before they have any effect. Mounted them in an active ship slot, then left click them and hit the checkmark to activate.

Letters of Marque[]

Allows the player to attack NPCs' ships without breaking the treaty with the NPCs.

Letters of Marque can be bought from the corsairs once a trade agreement with the corsairs is established. The Letters of Marque are a really useful tool for slowing down the NPC players' economies as well as completing quests without messing up your diplomatic relations.

Combined with a boarding party or two (using oriental warships for the second item slot) a player can not only take out most of an NPC's fleet in under 10 minutes without declaring war, but can also add a few choice ships to their own fleet.


Smoke can be used to mask targets from enemy ships. This includes ships and buildings. The area of effect is a circle about the same radius as the range of the dock defense tower. The smoke is created with Pitch and Straw bales that can be bought from Lord Northburgh's strongroom. To use it, put your ship where you want the smoke screen. Put the item in a ship slot and activate it. The ship then becomes immobile and creates a smoke screen. The effect cannot be canceled. An enemy fleet may move ships into your smoke, where they can be targeted by your ships but they cannot target you.

Powder Keg[]

Activate this item and after a few seconds it will blow up and inflict damage to all ships within its radius. The amount of damage done depends on the size of the keg (small, medium, or large).

The kegs are very effective in taking out enemy fleets or tough enemy ships. This makes them useful as either a last resort in defending your island or a quick solution for a "destroy enemy fleet" quest.

Note that the ship that carries the keg is always sunk when the keg explodes. Therefore, it is recommended to use inexpensive ships such as small (but durable) ships to sail into an enemy formation. Also note that if the ship is sunk by attackers before the keg's timer runs out, the keg will not explode.

All three sizes of kegs can be bought from the Corsairs: small kegs from citizen-level items, medium kegs from patrician-level items, and large kegs from noblemen-level items. Kegs can also sometimes be obtained from neutral powers when delivering an item during various quests (notably from Izmir the Alchemist and Ibn al Hakim the Wiseman).


  1. It is not clear whether speed bonuses are additive (2 * +20% = +40%) or multiplicative (2 * +20% = +44%).
  2. "Full load" is to be interpreted as "loaded to full capacity", regardless of how large that capacity is. The amount of slowdown does not depend on the actual tonnage on board a ship, but rather on how full it is compared to its total capacity. For example, an oriental trading ship with no socketed items loaded with 5*75 tons is just as fast as an oriental trading ship with "Massive Cargo holds (+30)" loaded with 5*105 tons. Also, if both aforementioned ships are loaded with 5*75 tons, the one with the enlarged cargo holds will be faster.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Unit of measurement unknown. All values are excluding any speed bonuses such as historic warehouses or attainments.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Speed compared to an empty flagship without any speed bonuses or penalties. '1.00' means exactly as fast, '0.50' means half as fast and '2.00' means twice as fast.
  5. Calculated by multiplying the number of holds by the max capacity per hold. Used 55 tons per hold for warships (40 base + 15 historic warehouse) and 75 tons for trading ships (40 base + 15 historic warehouse + 20 attainment).
  6. Similar to the max. total capacity without items, but added 30 per socket per hold, as each socket can hold an item adding +30 tons per hold.
  7. Attack power of Corsair ships on easy/medium/hard setting, respectively.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 These values were obtained by inspecting the game's internal values through ToolOne.


The Corsair ship design may possibly be derived from that of the corsair ships used in the movie "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King", as the form of the hull and sails are nearly identical.