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 EU IV. Each construction represents an individual ship and they have a health strength measured as a percentage. A ship at 100% is in perfect condition, falling to 0% will lose the vessel. Ships can take damage from battle and also as naval attrition.

Ships do not automatically upgraded as armies do, but will instead be replaced with newer models but at 0% hull strength, meaning they will need to be repaired once upgraded. Ships automatically repair when docked in port (and also in friendly coastal seazones, 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 EU III, 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 maneuverability. There are also idea groups that improve the power of a fleet's ships.


Naval units possess three combat properties, their values dependent 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 the number of guns that can be brought to bear on the enemy fleet. This is distinct from the strategic movement speed of the unit between different sea zones.

Additionally, light ships (such as Barques) have a fourth 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.

Strategic vs tactical movement speed

The speed values listed for naval units in game refer to their tactical movement speeds in battle. The strategic movement speed, or the value of a unit used to travel between sea zones on the map is instead:

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:

travel time = distance / ( strategic speed * ( 100% + 5% * leader maneuver rating ) )

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 be inaccurate by a day between certain sea zones.

Base cost

Base cost, maintenance, and build time depend only on the type.

Type Cost (Gold Icon.png) Cost (Sailors.png) Maintenance (Gold Icon.png/month) Build time (days)
Heavy Ship 50 200 0.417 730
Light Ship 20 50 0.083 365
Galley 10 100 0.033 365
Transport 12 50 0.04 365

Note that these are base values; maintenance in particular rises sharply with Diplomatic technology. Ships do not cost any Manpower.

Ship costs.pngCosts

These modifiers reduce costs for building any type of vessel:

Ship costs.png Traditions Ideas Bonuses Policies
  • Malayan sultanate traditions
  • Manx traditions
  • Ouchi traditions
  • Maritime idea 5: Ship's Penny
  • Ajuuraan idea 1: Maritime Enterprise
  • Australian idea 5: Royal Australian Navy
  • Bremish idea 7: Foundation of Bremerhaven
  • Breton idea 5: Protect the Coastline
  • Canadian idea 7: The Forests of Canada
  • Chosokabe idea 5: Expand the Navy
  • Gutnish idea 3: Expand Visby Dockyard
  • Hamburger idea 7: Shipyards of the Elbe
  • Javan idea 6: Modernized Ship-Building techniques
  • Maratha idea 7: Expand Maratha Navy
  • Neapolitan idea 5: Expand the Arsenale
  • Norwegian idea 4: Military Shipbuilding
  • Ottoman idea 7: Found the Imperial School of Naval Engineering
  • Scottish idea 2: Modernize the Royal Scots Navy
  • Maritime-Defensive: The Fleet is our Wooden Wall
  • Ragusan idea 5: Port Gruz

Other modifiers that reduce ship costs:

  • Shipyard building: -10% for ships built in that province.
  • Grand Shipyard building: -20% for ships built in that province.
  • Trading in Wool: -5%


These modifiers increase the amount of health 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

Heavy ship.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.

Heavy ship combat ability.pngCombat ability

These modifiers increase the power & effectiveness of heavy ships.

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 cannon.

Light ship.pngLight ships

These ships can increase a country's trade power 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, especially for their cost.

Light ship cost.pngCost

These modifiers reduce the cost of building & maintaining light ships.

Light ship cost.png Traditions Ideas Bonuses Policies
  • Arakanese traditions
  • Butuan traditions
  • Malagasy traditions
  • Mogadishan traditions
  • Navarran traditions
  • Pomeranian traditions
  • Siddi traditions
  • Swahili traditions
  • Cham idea 2: A Seafaring People
  • Flemish idea 5: North Sea Shipyards
  • Gujarat Sultanate idea 4: Gujarati Merchant Diaspora
  • Hanseatic idea 3: Improved Shipbuilding
  • Novgorod idea 7: Baltic Shipyard
  • Somali idea 1: Maritime Heritage
  • Sulawesi idea 3: The Prau
  • Veronese idea 7: For Never Was There a Tale of More Woe
  • Catalan traditions
  • Galician traditions
  • Danziger idea 5: Danziger Shipyards
  • Omani idea 5: End of the Shipbuilding Guilds
  • Maritime-Plutocratic: The Protected Shipping Lanes Act
  • Pisan idea 6: Maritime's legacy
  • Sonoran idea 5: Taking What's Ours
  • Naval-Trade: Fortified Trading Posts

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 and enclosed bodies of water. Galleys get a +100% bonus to their strength in inland seas (e.g. Mediterranean, Baltic, Japan) versus non-galleys. While still not quite as powerful as Heavy Ships in these areas, a large group of them can easily beat their much larger foes ducat-for-ducat. However, despite their low cost, they will usually take up most of a country's naval force limit if it fights primarily in inland waters.

Galley cost.pngCost

These modifiers reduce the cost of building & maintaining galleys.

Galley cost.png Traditions Ideas Bonuses Policies
  • Genoese idea 4: Build the Genoese Arsenal
  • Cypriot traditions
  • Greek traditions
  • Ionian traditions
  • Barbary Corsair idea 2: Galley Slaves
  • Kono idea 2: Integration of Cadet Branches
  • Venetian idea 1: Venetian Arsenal
  • Italian (cU) idea 3: Mare Nostrum
  • Maritime-Quantity: Streamlined Galley Production

Galley combat ability.pngCombat ability

These modifiers increase the power & effectiveness of galleys.

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 one regiment (of any type). Though reasonably durable, they lack the firepower of combat ships, and should generally not be used in combat without the support of a proper battle fleet. 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.


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.