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 types of naval units available in EUIV. Each constructed ship represents an individual ship, and each ship has an individual health rating. A ship at 100% is in perfect condition, and ship falling below 0% will have it be destroyed. Ships can take damage from battles and naval attrition.

Ships are not automatically upgraded as armies do, but will instead have be replaced with newer models at a cost. Upgrading them will put them at 0% health, meaning they will have to be repaired once upgraded. Ships automatically repair when docked in ports (and also in friendly coastal sea zones, after unlocking all maritime ideas), and can only dock in ports of their home country (including occupied enemy ports and those controlled by one's vassals or personal unions), or the ports of nations which have granted fleet basing rights (which includes vassals, personal union members, and colonial nations).

Like army units, each type of naval unit has different characteristics. The separate fire/shock values, as in EUIII, per ship type have now been removed, but every type of ship has a different number of cannons, hullsize, and speed, all of which affects the fleet's abilities. There are also idea groups that can improve the power of a fleet's ship types or the fleet as a whole.


Naval units possess several combat properties, their values depending on the type of ship and diplomatic technology level:

  • Hull.pngHull: Represents the durability of the ship.
  • Sailors.pngSailors: Represents the number of sailors within 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.png Engagement width: Determines how many spaces a ship occupies in the engagement width of a naval battle. All types have 1 engagement width except for the heavy ship, whose engagement width is 3.

Additionally, light ships (such as Barques) have a fifth property, making groups of these units useful as merchant fleets:

  • Trade power.pngTrade power : Represents the potential trade power value of this ship if it goes for the protecting trade naval mission.

Movement speed

The speed values listed for naval units in game refer to their tactical movement speed in battle. The strategic movement speed is the value determining how fast a ship can travel between sea zones on the map.

Ship type Tactical Speed Strategic Speed
Heavy ships 5 6
Light ships 10 10
Galleys 8 4
Transports 5 6

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. Fleets will always travel at the strategic speed of their slowest ship. Note that the formula above may slightly vary between certain sea zones.


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 hull size. These modifiers increase the durability of any type of ship:

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

Bigship.png Heavy ships

Ship-for-ship, these 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.

Heavy ship combat ability.pngCombat ability

These modifiers increase the power and effectiveness of heavy ships.

Heavy ship combat ability.png Conditions
+10% as Dutch republic
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


Diplomatic tech.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.

Lightship.pngLight ships

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.

Light ship combat ability.pngCombat ability

These modifiers increase the power & effectiveness of light ships.

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


Diplomatic tech.png Name Trade power.png Hull.png Icon ship cannons.png Icon ship speed.png Description
2 Barque 2 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 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 20 25 10 Two decked vessels normally carrying about 40 guns.
26 Great frigate 5 24 30 10 A larger type of frigate, carrying additional guns.


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, and in fact have an (invisible) dice roll malus.

Galley combat ability.pngCombat ability

These modifiers increase the power and effectiveness of galleys.

Galley combat ability.png Conditions
+20% with Norse.pngNorse as secondary religion
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 tech.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 man. 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.


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

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


Diplomatic tech.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 added by the Golden Century DLC 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.

Special Abilities

Some special abilities are only available to the indicated country.

  • mass_load_cannons - 15% more cannons on flagship
  • trade_route_map - +1 Trade Power for all ships in fleet (not only lightships)
  • command_aftercastle - +5% Morale to Ships in Fleet
  • improved_crows_nest - +3 Engagement Width
  • mortars - +1 Blockade Impact on Siege
  • standardized_signal_book - +1 Movement Speed for every ship in Fleet
  • hull_sheating - +1 Movement Speed for every ship in Fleet
  • portuguese_navigators - +100 Exploration Mission Range
  • portuguese_bombardier - -50% Naval Barrage Cost
  • portuguese_trade_route_map - +2 Trade power for every ship in the fleet
  • spanish_grand_armada - -30% Attrition for fleet
  • spanish_treasure_fleet - Cannons count twice for hunting pirates
  • spanish_mass_load_cannons - 30% More cannons on Flagship
  • dutch_courage - 10% Morale bonus in fleet
  • portuguese_corps_of_fusiliers - 66% faster Army movement speed onto and off fleet
  • integrated_marines - 33% faster Army movement speed onto and off fleet
  • scandinavian_flag_officers - +30% admiral skill gain on missions
  • flag_officers - +10% admiral skill gain on missions
  • spare_jolly_roger - +25% privateering efficiency in fleet
  • captains_log - gives +1 naval tradition in fleet and +1 prestige from battles in fleet