Ships are an essential element in Anno 1404. They are used to carry goods, special items, and people between islands. They are also used to attack other players.

Each ship has a certain number of cargo holds that can hold items and cargo. The base cargo size is 40 tons per hold. Ships are loaded at warehouses, harbormaster offices, and piers.

In addition, there are special sockets that can hold special items which can improve the particular ship or put it into certain modes.

Warships can attack other ships. A ship will slow down as it takes damage and loses hit points and will sink if the hit points reach 0.

Sea fight

Various ship types engaged in sea battle

All ships owned by the player can be renamed (max. 15 characters) by clicking on the name of the ship.

Occidental shipsEdit

There are five types of occidental ships. Two specialize in trade, two specialize in fighting, and the last is the unique hybrid flagship.

Oriental shipsEdit

There are three types of Oriental ships. Two specialize in trade, one specializes in fighting. The Large Oriental Trading ship is also lightly armed.

Venetian shipsEdit

The Venice addon adds two new ships: the Small and Large Tradesmen Cogs. They have extended cargo holds for trading and both possess an inbuilt stronger hull upgrade compared to other ships. The Large Tradesmen Cog also is armed which makes it a great trading ship during wartime. In order to be able to build the two Venetian Cogs ships, you must first unlock Giacomo Garibaldi's "Venetian shipbuilding" level 2 attainment. A rank of 1 unlocks the Small Tradesman Cog, and a rank of 2 unlocks the Large Tradesman Cog.

Troop transport boatsEdit

Troops are moved between islands in ships that appear from warehouses and exist only for the duration of the troop movement. The player has limited control over these ships. Transport boats cannot attack. They cost the same to maintain and have the same hit points as the type of troop they transport.

Note that while land-based camps require expensive provisions to repair, the player can repair transport boats for free by using repair cranes.


Settling islandsEdit

Ships can create warehouses on islands that don't currently have a warehouse belonging to the player. Occidental ships build Occidental warehouses, Oriental ships build Oriental ones. See Buildings - Oriental for a comparison. Warehouses can be renamed and have a limit of 15 characters. Settling an island occupied by an AI player will cause a decrease in reputation and - in the Venice add-on - over time also some Council Seats in your settlement.

Trade Routes

Ships can be assigned to a trade route to automatically transport goods.

Escorting Edit

Escorting is the protection of a friendly ship. While escorting, ships will engage any enemy ships that fire upon the escorted ship. An escort is initiated by selecting a military vessel and then right-clicking the ship you want to escort.

Patrolling Edit

A patrol is a route followed by a ship along which any encountered enemy ships will be engaged. The ship will continuously follow this patrol. The ship may be paused and used for other purposes. Patrols can be resumed after being paused.

Selling to the CorsairsEdit

If you see no further use for one of your ships, you can sell it to Hassan ben Sahid at his lair for half of its value. This requires a treaty with the Corsairs.


Some ships are also able to carry armaments to use in combat situations. Although there are 2 sorts of armaments in the game - explosive arrowheads and cannons - there is no actual difference in the damage both projectiles inflict.

Also, there are 2 combat modes for ships: Defensive Combat and Offensive Combat. These 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 untill it destroys it, after which the ship will return to the point from which it started its pursue.



Tabbing through shipsEdit

The tab key is used to cycle through ships, selecting the next ship and centering the screen on its location.

Keyboard numbersEdit

Selecting one or more ships and then holding ctrl while pressing one of the number keys on the top row of the keyboard will assign those ships to that number. If the number is pressed, the ships are selected, but the camera is not moved to the ship location. Hit the number key again to center the view. A ship can not be assigned to more than one hotkey group.


After selecting a ship, movement is accomplished in one of several ways:

  • Right clicking a location;
  • Right-clicking a friendly ship to escort;
  • Right-clicking an enemy ship or building to attack;
  • Assigning the ship to a trade route;
  • Setting up a patrol route. To do this, select a ship, press the Patrol button, and set way points by left-clicking around the map. The patrol route is automatically closed so that there is a link from the last way point to the first way point.

Obtaining shipsEdit

Ship limitEdit

Each ship you have past your flagship adds points towards your Ship Limit maximum. You can't make new ships if they would cause the maximum to be exceeded (although you can get new ones at this point through, e.g., an emperor or sultan quest). There is a inherent maximum ship limit of 115, but Lord Northburgh can grant the Imperial Arsenal attainment to increase this up to an additional 15. It is a very expensive level 3 attainment.

Each class of population in your settlements contributes a number of points to your Ship Limit. This is rounded down to the nearest whole number, then summed to give your current Ship Limit:

Type People per Point Houses per Point
Peasant 90 11.25
Citizen 100 6.67
Patrician 250 10.00
Noble 400 10.00
Nomad 200 13.33
Envoy 300 12.00

Clearly, citizens contribute the most toward your Ship Limit, so if you are struggling for ships, maximize your citizen head count when you lay in more houses (make citizens happy, but not euphoric). Make all the ships you can, then let your citizens advance.

Oriental settlements provide the least points per house - even peasants are better - but at least letting them advance increases your ship limit, unlike with citizens.

The high point yield for citizens is probably for balance, so you have enough ships in the early game. Still, while they're the best for Ship Limits, vast numbers of citizens aren't required because your normal housing usually supplies enough ships to meet your growing empire's needs.

Depending on the difficulty of a scenario and your skill, you can't build much of an offensive navy until patrician level or later. You won't come close to the game limit except in a very extended game.

Building in shipyardsEdit

Small Shipyards and Large Shipyards build the 'small' and 'large' occidental ships, respectively.

The Oriental Shipyard can build all three types of oriental ships.

All other ship types cannot be built, only bought or captured.

Buying from Lord NorthburghEdit

If you did not start the game with a flagship, Lord Northburgh will offer to sell you one at his warehouse as soon as you attract your first citizens. If you lose your flagship for any reason, he will offer to sell you a new one.

Buying from the CorsairsEdit

Once you have made peace with the Corsairs, they will offer to sell you ships. All ship types have a chance to appear. Prices are hefty, although they can be lowered with Binding handshake.

Call auxiliary fleetEdit

Both Al Zahir and Lord Northburgh can provide warships for 300 honor. Your ranks of Royal armada and The Sultan's naval forces determine what ships you get.

The Venice addon allows you to get ships from Giacomo Garibaldi. Your rank in Doge Naval fleet determines what ships you get.

Be careful though: you do have to pay for the maintenance of these ships, and this ranges from 60 to 240 gold. This can be a big burden on a peasant/citizen level economy.

Statistics and comparisonEdit



Ship type Construction cost[1] Maintenance cost[1] Prerequisite Ship limit[1]
Gold coins Wood Ropes Armaments
Occident Flagship 3500[nb 1] 0 1 Citizen 0
Small trading ship 1500 15 20 15 240 Citizens 1
Small warship 2000 30 30 20 weapons 30 1 Patrician 1
Large trading ship 4000 60 60 50 1 Patrician 2
Large warship 4500 70 70 20 cannons 60 950 Noblemen 2
Orient Caravel 2500 30 20 10 440 Nomads

The Sheik's Ally

Large Oriental trading ship 4000 50 50 15 cannons 50 1040 Envoys

The Grand Vizier's Advisor

Large Oriental warship 4500 80 80 30 war machines 60 1740 Envoys

The Sultan's Confidant

Venice Small Tradesman's Cog 2500[nb 2] 25 20 40 240 Citizens

Venetian Shipbuilding 1

Large Tradesman's Cog 4000[nb 2] 80 60 15 cannons 80 950 Noblemen

Venetian Shipbuilding 2

Corsair ship 11700[nb 3] 25 1

Cargo capacityEdit

All ships have a base capacity of 40 tons per hold. This can be increased through attainments, historic warehouses and items (crew members), to a maximum of 135 tons per hold.

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


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 6].

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 Speed
Empty Load factor[1] Full load[nb 7]
Absolute[1][nb 8] Relative[nb 9] Absolute[1][nb 8] Relative[nb 9]
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
Corsair ship 12500 0.86 0.30 8750 0.60
Troop transport boats 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 strengthEdit

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]
Occident Flagship 600 6 15
Small trading ship 400
Small warship 500 6 10
Large trading ship 1000
Large warship 1200 14 15
Orient Caravel 400
Large Oriental trading ship 800 6 15
Large Oriental warship 1000 10 15
Venice Small Tradesman's Cog 400
Large Tradesman's Cog 1000 8 15
Corsair ship 500 4/5/7[nb 10] 15


These are values that may be useful to know but do not really alter ship choice.

Ship type Vision Radius[1]
Occident Flagship 40
Small trading ship 20
Small warship 20
Large trading ship 30
Large warship 30
Orient Caravel 30
Large Oriental trading ship 30
Large Oriental warship 30
Venice Small Tradesman's Cog 20
Large Tradesman's Cog 40
Corsair ship 20


Transporting goodsEdit

Trading ships comparisionEdit

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
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 CogEdit

The small trading ship can be built sooner, but Caravels and Small Cogs are superior in the long run.

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 CogEdit

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. Although, large cogs have the highest theoretical capacity from all trading units, while maintaining acceptable speed. Overall, large oriental trading ships with their speed are superior.


Corsair shipsEdit

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 warshipEdit

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 warshipEdit

Both are roughly equally expensive.

The oriental warship is much faster, but the occidental large warship is tougher.

Use occidental warships against stationary targets such as island defenses and quest fleets, and oriental warships for all other purposes.

Tradesman's CogsEdit

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 auxilary fleet for 500 honor, instead buliding 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 Shipbuliding attainments bought.

Items for shipsEdit

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 activationEdit

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 Edit

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 Edit

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 Edit

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).

Passive ItemsEdit

These items don't need activation, and provide passive bonuses. Their effects stack with other bonuses. They can be unequipped and placed on other ships or stored in the Strongbox section of the player's warehouses.

Sails Edit

Sails add a percentage of speed to the a ship or reduce slowdown from damage and loading.


Sextants increase the range a ship can see. This is only useful when exploring.

Guns Edit

Guns increase the attack power of a ship.

Hold Storage Edit

There are some items that increase the size of the holds.

Crew Members Edit

Several crew members are available who give a combination of bonuses.

(pls add some pics for it)


  1. Cost of purchasing a replacement flagship at Lord Northburgh.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Gold coins cost can be reduced by 25% through the attainment Venetian Shipbuilding 3/3.
  3. Cost of purchasing a Corsair ship from the Corsairs.
  4. 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).
  5. 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.
  6. It is not clear whether speed bonuses are additive (2 * +20% = +40%) or multiplicative (2 * +20% = +44%).
  7. "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.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Unit of measurement unknown. All values are excluding any speed bonuses such as historic warehouses or attainments.
  9. 9.0 9.1 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.
  10. Attack power of Corsair ships on easy/medium/hard setting, respectively.


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 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.