Naval units

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This page deals with the the individual naval unit types. For information on the recruitment and maintenance of navies see navy. For naval combat mechanics see naval warfare.

There are four basic classes of naval units available (Heavy ship.pngheavy ships, Light ship.pnglight ships, Galley.pnggalleys and Transport.pngtransports) with each class specialising in a particular role. Additionally, the Golden Century.png Golden Century DLC provides a fifth class: the flagship.


Each ship class has several distinct properties which affect combat performance:

Represents the durability of the ship.
The number of sailors required to crew the ship.
Icon ship cannons.pngCannons
Determines the damage done in combat.
Icon ship speed.pngSpeed
Refers to the tactical movement speed of the unit in battle, which is supposed to affect the naval positioning rating of the fleet during battles, and thus determine if a ship will or will not attack during a round of naval combat. This is distinct from the strategic movement speed of the unit between different sea zones.
Engagement width.pngEngagement width
Determines how many spaces a ship occupies in the engagement width of a naval battle.

Additionally, light ships have a unique property:

Trade power.pngTrade power
Represents the potential trade power value of this ship if ordered to protect trade in a particular trade node.

Movement speed[edit]

The speed values listed for naval units in-game refer to their tactical movement speed in battle. The strategic movement speed determines how fast a ship can travel between sea zones on the map. Fleets will always travel at the strategic speed of their slowest ship.

Ship type Tactical speed Strategic speed
Heavy ship.png Heavy ships 5 6
Light ship.png Light ships 10 10
Galley.png Galleys 8 4
Transport.png Transports 5 6

A flagship with the Flagship Modification standardized signal book.png ‘Standardized Signal Book’ modification increases the strategic speed of all ships within the fleet by 1.

Leader-based modifiers[edit]

An Admiral.png admiral or Explorer explorer increases the movement speed of the fleet they are attached to by +5% for each point Naval leader maneuver.png maneuver skill.

Leader traits[edit]

The Accomplished Sailor trait for naval leaders gives Movement speed.png +10% movement speed to the fleet which the leader commands.

Travel time[edit]

The travel time between two sea zones is determined by:

with the final value rounded up to the nearest integer. The distance between two sea zones can be found by selecting a naval unit and reading the tooltip that appears when the mouse is hovered over another sea zone or port. Note that the formula above may slightly vary between certain sea zones.


Ship durability icon
Ship Durability measures how much of a beating your Navy can take in battle before sinking below the sea. The higher it is, the better.

The durability of a ship determines how much damage a ship takes from incoming fire. For example, a 10% durability modifier would mean that a ship would lose 9 sailors instead of 10 sailors during battle (does not affect damage from attrition). A ship's base durability depends on its hullsize.

These modifiers increase the durability of any type of ship:

Ship durability.png Conditions
  • as Emperor of china icon.png Emperor of China and active ‘Promote Naval Officers’ degree
  • with a ruler with Navigator ‘navigator’ personality
  • with a naval leader with ‘Ironside’ personality
  • with ‘Mughal Diwan’ government reform and assimilated Britsh culture group

Ideas and policies:

Ship durability Traditions Ideas Bonuses Policies
  • Norwegian traditions
  • Japanese idea 4: Maritime Legacy
  • Korean idea 4: Geobukseon
  • Fully Naval
  • Danish traditions
  • Estonian traditions
  • Mahri traditions
  • Quality idea 4: Corvettes
  • Al-Haasa idea 6: A Modern Navy
  • Galician idea 4: Galician Shipyards
  • Khmer idea 7: A Modern Khmer Navy
  • Madyas idea 7: Expand the Shipbuilding Sector
  • Mori idea 6: Itsukushima
  • Chosokabe ambition
  • Humanist-Naval: The Naval Inspection Act
  • Maritime-Offensive: Hold the Weather Gauge
  • Offensive-Exploration: Letters of Marque

There are also many modifiers from decisions, events and missions that affect ship durability.

Heavy ships[edit]

Heavy ship icon
With the exception of closed waters like the Mediterranean the man 'o war or the ship of the line is the prime combat vessel.

Ship-for-ship, heavy ships are by far the most powerful in combat. However, they are also the most expensive, especially in terms of maintenance. This makes them the combat ship of choice for rich nations that dream of naval supremacy. They also take up 3 spaces in the engagement width instead of the regular 1.

Combat ability[edit]

These modifiers increase the power and effectiveness of heavy ships.

Heavy ship combat ability.png Conditions
  • with ‘Dutch Republic’ government reform
  • with a naval leader with ‘Naval Gunner’ personality

Ideas and policies:

Heavy ship combat ability.png Traditions Ideas Bonuses Policies
  • Naval idea 6: Oak Forests for Ships
  • British traditions
  • Butuan idea 6: Protect the Coastlines
  • Date idea 5: Red Seal Ships
  • English idea 1: A Royal Navy
  • Spanish idea 4: A Spanish Armada
  • Alaskan ambition
  • Genevan ambition
  • Innovative-Maritime: New Naval Tactics

There are also many modifiers from decisions, events and missions that affect heavy ship combat ability.


Diplomatic technology.png Name Hull.png Icon ship cannons.png Icon ship speed.png Description
3 Early Carrack 20 40 5 The early carrack was the first European vessel which could sail on the high seas of the Atlantic Ocean. The design of this late medieval ship combined the features of Germanic longships and Arabic merchantmen. It was less maneuverable than the caravel, but because of its larger size, it could carry provisions for long voyages, cargo for trade, and guns for self-defense.
9 Carrack 25 50 5 The design of the carrack, a late medieval ship, combined the features of Germanic longships and Arabic merchantmen. It was less maneuverable than the caravel, but because of its larger size, it could carry provisions for long voyages, cargo for trade, and guns for self-defense. Some carracks such as the English vessel Henri Grâce à Dieu weighed more than 1,000 tons, had large fore and aft castles, and could be considered as the greatest warships of their time.
15 Galleon 30 60 5 A large, usually three-masted sailing ship originally designed as a warship but later on used primarily for trade and commerce.
19 Wargalleon 40 80 5 The war galleon was a large galleon outfitted for war. It was larger and more heavily armed than the regular galleons, and served as protecting escorts to galleon fleets. The Spanish treasure fleets were made out of galleons and war galleons.
22 Twodecker 50 100 5 A two-decked battleship normally equipped with 60 to 90 guns.
25 Threedecker 60 120 5 A large battleship equipped with three gun decks, usually holding more than 100 cannons.

Light ships[edit]

Light ship icon
Small, fast and maneuverable, the light ship excels in the role of commerce defense. Wherever your light ships go, merchants who fly your flag will feel safe.

Light ships can increase a country's trade power in a certain trade node and thereby the trade profits by protecting trade, and are also ideal for exploration due to their speed (as long as they are not slowed down by other ship types in the same fleet). This makes them a prime choice in times of peace. However, they perform poorly at war: they cannot stand up to heavy ships or galleys in combat.

Combat ability[edit]

These modifiers increase the power and effectiveness of light ships.

Ideas and policies:

Light ship combat ability.png Traditions Ideas Bonuses Policies
  • Veronese ambition
  • Alaskan traditions
  • Cham traditions
  • Ferraran traditions
  • Icelandic idea 4: Armed Merchants
  • Moluccan idea 6: Alliance with the Papuans
  • Arakanese ambition
  • Holstein ambition
  • Maritime-Plutocratic: The Protected Shipping Lanes Act
  • Hamburger traditions
  • Pattani traditions
  • Somali idea 6: Corsairs of the Red Sea
  • Sumatran idea 3: Spice Pirates

There are also some modifiers from decisions, events and missions that affect light ship combat ability.


Diplomatic technology.png Name Trade power.png Hull.png Icon ship cannons.png Icon ship speed.png Description
2 Barque 2.0 8 10 10 The Barque was a small sailing ship, originally used for trade. Adapting these for warfare provided a smaller and faster alternative to the larger carracks.
9 Caravel 2.5 10 13 10 The caravel was a small, very maneuverable ship which could sail with a high precision on long discovery journeys. Although designs varied, a caravel had a foresail, a square mainsail and lateen mizzen. Its smaller size limited the number of guns on board, but it also meant that this light ship could explore shallow coastal waters and estuaries. Vasco Da Gama, Cabot, Columbus and Magellan used caravels during their late 15th century and early 16th century voyages.
15 Early Frigate 3.0 12 15 10 With the increasing overseas trade, there was a need for a fast escort vessel to provide safe journey. The early frigates were developed for this. They were smaller, leaner ships of war with one gun deck, and provided protection from piracy in dangerous waters.
19 Frigate 3.5 16 20 10 As time passed, the frigate evolved. It became larger and heavily armed, sometimes with two gun decks. The frigate's combination of speed and firepower meant that it could outrun any ship with more guns and outgun any faster ships. The fleet built by the Commonwealth of England in the 1650s consisted almost exclusively of frigates.
23 Heavy Frigate 4.0 20 25 10 Two decked vessels normally carrying about 40 guns.
26 Great Frigate 5.0 24 30 10 A larger type of frigate, carrying additional guns.


Galley icon
The shallow draft of the Galley gives it poor sea keeping on the high seas, but in enclosed waters the oar powered Galley is the prime warship.

These cheap ships are ideal for fighting in inland seas (e.g. Mediterranean, Baltic, Sea of Japan, Chinese coast), where they have a +100% combat ability bonus, even allowing them (in large groups) to go toe-to-toe with Heavy Ships at a significantly lower price. However, they are far quicker to sink due to the smaller hull size and lack of defensive bonuses, will take up much more naval force limit, and move across the map only slowly. In deep waters, they will only slightly outperform light ships.

Combat ability[edit]

These modifiers increase the power and effectiveness of galleys.

Galley combat ability.png Conditions
+20% as Tengri Tengri with Norse.png Norse as secondary religion
+15% with Free Oarsmen.png ‘Free Oarsmen’ naval doctrine
+15% with a naval leader that has the Galley combat ability.png ‘Ram Raider’ trait
Galley combat ability.png Traditions Ideas Bonuses Policies
  • Naval idea 2: Improved Rams
  • Venetian ambition
  • Aragonese traditions
  • Barbary Corsair traditions
  • Cebu traditions
  • Hosokawa traditions
  • Ionian traditions
  • Tunisian traditions
  • Berber idea 7: The Brothers Barbarossa
  • Cypriot idea 6: Repel the Corsairs
  • Italian (cU) idea 3: Mare Nostrum
  • Kitabatake idea 4: Kuki Suigin
  • Knights Hospitaller idea 4: Reconquista of the Sea
  • Moroccan idea 4: Defend the Coastline
  • Kono idea 5: Rule Over the Inland Sea
  • Maritime-Quantity: Streamlined Galley Production
  • Naxian idea 1: Maritime State
  • So idea 2: Wakou Tradition


Diplomatic technology.png Name Hull.png Icon ship cannons.png Icon ship speed.png Description
2 Galley 8 12 8 With roots back to the ancient ships of the antiquity, the galley remained the prime choice for Mediterranean naval warfare until the 16th century. The galley was primarily propelled by oars, usually about 25 pairs manned by up to three men each. This meant that they were less dependent on wind gauge compared to sailing ships, and their maneuverability made them a feared adversary. Eventually, the galley went out of regular use with the introduction of more advanced oceangoing men-of-war, but remained useful in shallow waters until the 18th century.
10 War galley 10 15 8 The war galley carries the same number of guns as a normal galley but has a larger hull.
14 Galleass 12 18 8 The galleass was an adaptation of the large merchant galley to counter the increasing use of man-of-war. Larger than the galley, the galleass had about 32 oar pairs, each oar manned by up to five men. As an answer to the men-of-war's armament and higher sides, the galleass had forecastles and aftcastles and gundecks above the rowers. This extra weight meant that they also had to rely more on sails, and were slower and less maneuverable compared to galleys. Like the galley, the galleass went out of regular use with the introduction of more advanced oceangoing men-of-war, but remained useful in shallow waters until the 18th century.
18 Galiot 16 24 8 The galiot used both sails and oars to navigate, and carried up to fifteen guns.
21 Chebeck 20 30 8 A small, two or three masted vessel widely used in the Mediterranean from the 16th century onwards.
24 Archipelago Frigate 24 36 8 A two masted, cannon bearing vessel for shallow waters, which was brought into use during the mid 18th century.


Transport icon
Everyone knows that soldiers simply cannot magically turn into boats, the transport ship is a vessel specially built to move armies from A to B on the High Seas.

Each transport can carry only one regiment (of any type), regardless of the regiment being at full strength or not. Though reasonably durable compared to light ships and galleys, they lack the firepower of combat ships, and should generally seek to avoid combat situations. An exception to this is a late-game western transport fleet fighting against much less advanced foes, where technology differences give transport ships a more evenly-matched fight against even the enemy's heavy ships.

Combat ability[edit]

The combat ability of transports is not modified by the base game.


Diplomatic technology.png Name Hull.png Icon ship cannons.png Icon ship speed.png Description
2 Cog 12 4 5 A one masted trading vessel originating from northern Europe.
10 Flute 15 5 5 A cargo ship developed in the Netherlands in the 16th century, it was built to maximize cargo-space and crew-efficiency. And it became one of the most commonly used ships in the 16th and 17th century. The standard design wasn't armed but when needed it could be armed with cannons and serve as auxiliary vessels.
13 Brig 18 6 5 A fast and highly maneuverable ship, favored by both merchants and for military use.
17 Merchantman 24 8 5 A large cargo vessel used for transportation of merchandise.
22 Trabakul 30 10 5 A slow, but reliable cargo ship, built wide, compact and with good storage.
26 East Indiaman 36 12 5 Merchant ship belonging to the East India Company.


Flagships are unique ships that give special bonuses to all ships in fleet with them. A nation may only have one flagship of their own (not counting captured flagship which lose their bonuses but keep their name and icon). A flagship can be any combat ship type (non-transport). When building the flagship, the nation chooses up to three special abilities for the flagship. Each special ability increases the maintenance cost of the ship. Nations must have 1500 sailors worth of active ships before their navy is large enough to be allowed to build a flagship.

+5Yearly prestige.png for sinking another nation's flagship in combat

+10Yearly prestige.png for capturing another nation's flagship in combat

All flagships have the following modifiers:

Icon ship cannons.png +50% Flagship cannons
Morale of navies.png +50% Flagship morale
Ship durability +100% Flagship durability

The cost of flagships is affected by the following:

Flagship cost Traditions Ideas Bonuses Policies
  • Ferraran idea 7: The Ferraran Arsenal

Flagship modifications[edit]

Some special modifications are only available to the indicated countries.

Name Effect Gold Icon.png Maintenance Available for
Mass Load Cannons icon
Mass Load Cannons
However many cannons the enemy believes we have, we must have twice as many. No ship has ever sunk from having too many cannons.
Icon ship cannons.png +50% Cannons on flagship 0.5
Spanish Mass Load Cannons icon
Spanish Mass Load Cannons
However many cannons the enemy puts on their flagship, we must have twice as many. No ship has ever sunk from having too many cannons.
Icon ship cannons.png +100% Cannons on flagship 0.5
Trade Route Map icon
Trade Route Map
Keeping detailed collection of maps of our trade routes up to date is challenging, but worthy of a flagship sailing with our trade fleet.
Ship trade power.png +1 Trade power per ship in fleet[note 1] 0.25
Portuguese Trade Route Map icon
Portuguese Trade Route Map
The shortest distance between to points on a map is a straight line, but a Portuguese trade route is a close second.
Ship trade power.png +2 Trade power per ship in fleet[note 1] 0.25
Command Aftercastle icon
Command Aftercastle
Outfitting the ship with an aftercastle will provide better accommodations for our captain and the valued members of the crew.
Morale of navies.png +5% Fleet morale 0.5
Dutch Courage icon
Dutch Courage
Our people are famous for their courage, so much that we export it in liquid form.
Morale of navies.png +10% Fleet morale 0.5
Improved Crow's Nest icon
Improved Crow's Nest
With a flagship like ours, the enemy will see us coming. We just have to make sure we see them first.
Engagement width.png +3 Engagement width 0.5
Mortars icon
Long-distance siege weapons won't be very efficient against other ships, but they will greatly boost the threat we pose to land structures.
Blockade impact on siege +1 Fleet blockade impact on siege 1
Standardized Signal Book icon
Standardized Signal Book
Coordinating a fleet is no easy task, but established standards for communication is a first step to doing it flawlessly.
Icon ship speed.png +1 Fleet movement speed 0.5
Hull Sheathing icon
Hull Sheathing
Even the greatest ship is eventually done in not only by war, but by the ocean itself. A metal sheath will ensure our flagship lasts.
Ship durability +50% Flagship durability 0.5
Portuguese Navigators icon
Portuguese Navigators
A Portuguese navigator will not only get you to the most distant undiscovered shore, but also, if the winds will it, get you back.
Colonial range.png +100 Fleet exploration range 0.5
Portuguese Bombardier icon
Portuguese Bombardier
Naval barrages are a special art form, and no one masters is better than our bombardiers.
Movement speed.png −40% Fleet naval barrage cost 0.5
Spanish Grand Armada icon
Spanish Grand Armada
Spanish ships are made to survive sailing the oceans of the world, and those which sail with our flagships even more so.
Naval attrition.png −30% Fleet attrition 0.5
Spanish Treasury Convoy icon
Spanish Treasury Convoy
When your wealth is floating on ships, one of your main problems is pirates. Pirates primary problem should, accordingly, be us.
Hunt pirates.png +100% Fleet hunt pirates efficiency[note 2] 0.5
Integrated Marines icon
Integrated Marines
Every soldier who gets on a ship can't be a marine, but there can be enough on our flagship to make a difference.
Movement speed.png −33% Movement speed on and off ships 0.5
Portuguese Fusiliers icon
Portuguese Fusiliers
Our fusiliers must be ready to attack from a ship as if it was land, because Portugal's fleet is an extension of the country itself.
  • Movement speed.png −66% Movement speed on and off ships
  • Movement speed.png +2 Combat penalty when landing[note 3]
Flag Officers icon
Flag Officers
Flying a flag marking your rank on a flagship is a great source of pride for many officers, encouraging bravery and ambition.
Movement speed.png +1% Monthly chance of admiral skill gain on mission 0.5
Scandinavian Flag Officers icon
Scandinavian Flag Officers
With our dependency and access to the trade that flows through The Sound we have a great source of seasoned seamen to recruit as professional officers to make up the core of our navy.
Movement speed.png +3% Monthly chance of admiral skill gain on mission 0.5
Spare Jolly Roger icon
Spare Jolly Roger
Our ship usually flies the flag of its homeland, but there is nothing wrong with having a more menacing flag for special occasions.
Privateer efficiency.png +25% Fleet privateer efficiency 0.5
Captain's Log icon
Captain's Log
To keep a record both for their country and for history, our captains will maintain a logbook as they boldly go where no ship has gone before.
  • Prestige from naval battles.png +100% Fleet prestige from battles
  • Naval tradition from battles +100% Fleet naval tradition from battles


  1. 1.0 1.1 For all ship types, not only light ships.
  2. Cannons count twice for hunting pirates.
  3. This effectively removes the landing penalty.

Ideas and Policies Idea groupsNational ideasPolicies
Ages and Institutions AgesInstitutions
Innovativeness and Technology InnovativenessTechnology