With the recent Troubled Waters update and the many new perks/obstacles out at sea, I thought I’d re-fresh my ocean survival guide so that everyone can have a mari-time out at sea. For those who’ve seen my previous ocean guide, I’ll have a table of contents for you to navigate, but I encourage you to anchor down and read the entire thing because almost every section will have new material. For those who have never stepped on a boat in their lives, don’t worry; I’ll try to water down some of the basics to bring everyone up to the same sea-level. Without further ado, let’s dive into the guide. Table of Contents
1. The Basics of Fishing
2. Fishing Tricks and Tips
3. Building the Base Boat
4. Rushing the Base Boat
5. Food Sources
6. Seafood Cuisine
7. Daily Life at Sea
8. Dangers at Sea and the Buffed Abigail Meta
9. Special Boats for the Anti-Pig Characters
1. The Basics of Fishing This section will cover the bare minimum you need to know about fishing basics for the purposes of this guide. Miscellaneous info will be left out, like unused floats and lures for example. The DST wiki has extremely thorough pages covering these miscellaneous details already.
To start off, let’s talk about the basic equipment you need:
Unlike the normal fishing rod, this sea fishing rod specifically allows you to fish at sea with infinite durability. When you equip it, you will see 2 extra slots above your fishing rod: is where you can equip “floats” that increase the accuracy and max distance of your rod when you throw your line out to the water with your mouse, and is where you can equip “lures”/bait that generally increase the chances of the fish biting your hook. Requires 1 and 6 in the tab
This is your ocean crafting station, which can be found in your tab. This structure is required for creating the lures and floats covered below. It requires: 1 which you can find by exploring the coast and then building a disposable boat to pick up, 1 which you can obtain from hammering skeleton spawns or bones commonly found in any desert biome, and 1
This is the float we will be using. Floats are items that allow you to throw your fishing line farther and with more accuracy; this float is cheap and good enough for your entire voyage. Costs 1
These are the lures we will be using. Lures are basically infinite-durability bait with the special property of increasing the chance of a fish bite if you reel once before the fish touches it; costs 2 and 1 of the respective colored mushroom
This is bait used very occasionally for specific fish that the lures mentioned above can’t catch.
Contrary to how pond fishing works, ocean fishing involves targeting shadows of fish in the water and tossing your line as close to them as possible hoping they’ll bite your hook.
Once you’ve hooked your fish, the fish will struggle to escape, and you will need to right-click to reel the fish in. Your character will have 3 animations during this struggle (I included a second rotated picture for each animation):
If your character is the top or bottom picture, you need to keep reeling your fishing rod, but if it’s the bottom, then you’re not reeling fast enough. Not reeling fast enough will loosen your line, and the fish will escape.
If your character is the middle, you need to STOP reeling, or your line will snap; unlike the loose line from the bottom picture where you lose nothing but the fish, making your line too tight will snap the line and make you lose the FLOAT and LURE that was attached.
I recommend right-click reeling at a rhythm of about once every half-second so you don’t over-reel when the fish starts pulling and likewise aren’t reeling slow enough for the fish to get away. Remember that lures (unlike bait) give you an attractiveness bonus when you reel before the bite (basically convincing the fish that the lure is alive), so it’s standard to reel at least once after your line hits the water. Here is what a standard successful catch looks like.
When you successfully catch your fish, you should pick it up and place it in the tin fishing bin on your boat. Fish stored here will never die, making it absolutely vital for long-term food storage.
2. Fishing Tips and Tricks The standard, simple fishing technique like what you see above is great and all, but out at sea where food is more come-and-go than mass-produced and schools of fish continue to swim away while you’re struggling with a fish of your own, any tricks you can use to even slightly speed up your catch will net you significantly more fish from a school and save you a ton of time for sailing, especially if you have extra mouths to feed. This section will go over those tricks.
Shortening Reeling Distance
The farther the fish is away from your boat when you hook it, the longer the struggling phase will last. You can shorten this MASSIVELY and save tens of seconds per catch by getting the fish’s attention with your lure and then reeling the lure closer to your boat without letting the fish bite it.
Additionally, if you bring the fish all the way to the edge of your boat, there’s a chance depending on the lure’s position on that edge for you to skip the entire struggle phase and pull the fish immediately out of the water.
Having a crew of friends on your voyage is great, but more often than not, your friends will end up getting in your way if all of you are throwing your lines in the same general area; this is because the moment one fish gets hooked, nearby fish in a decently small radius will briefly swim away in fear. Needless to say, these scared fish won’t bike on your hook during the fearful-swimming animation. In order to get around this problem, all you have to do is disperse; go for fish that are as far away from your friend’s fish as possible, or if the whole school is frightened, target the farthest scared fish after it’s calmed down so you get the hook before the fish gets scared again from swimming toward the hooked fish.
As mentioned earlier, lures have the special property of increasing bite chances if you reel before the fish touches the hook, but the bonus rapidly fades over time. What’s also convenient is that every time the fish fails to bite, it will swim away for a split second and swim back for another bite, and the chance of the next bite attempt happening INCREASES based on the attractiveness of the lure at the time. What this means is that keeping your lure attractiveness up as long as possible is an incentive, and because the reeling bonus of lures decreases quickly after a reel, you can time your reels right before every fish bite attempt in order to maximize the chance of a fish bite.
I ONLY recommend using this method if you’re going for fish during snow or rain when attractiveness gets cut in half; in pretty much every other situation, spoon lures have enough attractiveness for you to use the shorten-distance trick.
Refreshing the Line
I’ve seen many of my fishing partners either leave their line in the water even after all the fish in the water have moved on or give up altogether. It’s true that your fish will go for your hook a certain number of times before giving up and swimming away; this doesn’t mean that YOU have to give up, though. All you need to do is briefly move your character to cancel fishing mode and then re-cast your fishing line back out; the fish that just gave up will come swimming back like it’s an entirely new lure.
3. Building the Base Boat This section will cover how to build the base boat that will be used throughout this guide and detail the mechanics of boat building you can use to build ANY base boat you want.
To start off, the biggest obstacle you will face when building a base boat is fitting all the needed structures on that boat; to do this, you will need to place structures down in the proper ORDER. The reason this is the case is because even though structures generally take up a similar amount of space, certain structures are more easily BLOCKED than others when you try to place them on the boat. Like with the previous guide, I’ve divided these structures into “tiers” to help you with the order in which to place the structures, with Tier I being the first structures you should place. Here is a list of structures and what tiers they belong to; pictures next to the respective tier are there to show the difference in placement mechanics based on how close you’re able to place that structure to the crock pot (with the exception of Tier I).
Tier I: sails (only structures in the game that take up no space; you can put ANYTHING on top of sails)
Tier II: crock pot, both fire pits, drying racks, scaled furnace, tackle receptacle, alch engine, science machine, pig house, bunnyman hutch, lightning rod, flingomatic, farm plot, think tank, cartographer desk, bird cage, signs, potter’s wheel, scale-o-matic, wardrobe, thermal measurer, rainometer, lazy deserter, moon dial, shadow manipulator, prestihatitator, tent/siesta, salt lick, and sisturn (can fit a maximum of 7 of these on boat if placed properly)
Tier III: steering wheel and anchor
Tier IV: ice/salt box, pinchin winch, ocuvigil, fire pump, tin fishing bin
Tier V: wooden chests, spider dens, and lureplant bulbs
You can build the boat with or without the geometric placement mod. Using the geo placement mod lets you be consistent with building the exact same boat every time, but not using the mod gives you a more room for error when placing down type II structures. Here are two GIFs of me constructing the base boat with and without the geo placement mod respectively.
4. Rushing the Base Boat Needless to say, this base boat is EXPENSIVE. That said, it is very possible to solo rush this boat (let alone with a friend) and be out at sea before Winter hits if you jump into the world with a general plan. It would take forever for me to explain through text in detail, so instead, I have a recording of one of my boat base rushes on a public server in the link down below with textual commentary scattered throughout the video. For the sake of showing that this is something ANYONE, even console players, can do, I turned off all mods. Time stamps for noteworthy parts of the run are in the video description if you want to skip around. PLEASE TURN ON SUBTITLES for commentary.
5. Food Sources There’s a variety of food out at sea, even more so with the Troubled Waters update. This section will detail the food sources you will run into at sea and group them in order of what you should prioritize.
These 3 fish are your absolute best food source at sea, and if you spot them, you should drop whatever you’re doing to catch these. All 3 of these yield big fish meat, which is extremely valuable as I will explain in the next section, and while the first two fish are quick and easy to catch, the ice bream – while difficult – gives 2 extra ice for much-needed, non-spoilable filler food.
By itself, a single barnacle is an underwhelming ingredient. However, this is one of the best food sources to run into out at sea because there’s a ton of them in one area, and harvesting them is extremely quick. Barnacles spawn on Sea Weeds, and Sea Weeds spawn as a set piece. You need a to safely harvest them at NIGHT while they’re asleep, unless you are or have a Wormwood teammate.
Harvesting them improperly, whether it’s because you’re doing it in daytime or forgot your razor, isn’t fun.
Also, using the fire pit as a light source in this area is not a good idea because of the spittlefish that will extinguish it; I highly recommend using either the lantern or the deck illuminator here.
Sea weeds are generally spaced apart so that you can often navigate through the setpiece. Expect to get about 12-ish barnacles in one Autumn night; much more if it’s Winter or early Spring, or if you don't mess up sailing at night. Having a crew to help you navigate with short bursts of speed like shown below definitely helps due to the higher speed. It also helps to map out the area so you can see what sea weeds to row towards.
Related to the fish at the top, these shoals have a ton of easy-to-catch deep bass that won’t swim beyond the shoal itself. This food source would easily be #1 if not for the Malbatross that has a chance of spawning when you visit the shoal and a smaller chance of spawning when you hook a deep bass from the shoal. This boss should be avoided as much as possible unless you want the faster sail because even though it’s neutral when spawned, it occasionally does a gliding attack that can destroy your sails. Not only that, but continuing to fish for deep bass after it spawns will anger the Malbatross, putting your boat in even more danger than it already is.
The way to play things safely without putting your main boat at risk is to make a simple “fishing station” boat with an anchor, a fire pit, and 1 or 2 fishing bins. You can park your main boat nearby and use this boat to row into the middle of the shoal so that if the Malbatross does spawn, no sails can ever be destroyed, and you can leave immediately with whatever fish you caught as the Malbatross is spawning in.
These are the easiest and quickest of the small fish to catch. They are significantly valuable for their fish morsels.
These are the slightly longer-to-catch small fish that are still very much worth fishing for their fish morsels.
- These are very handy on-the-go filler ingredients/sources of manure (discussed later) you can harvest while the boat is moving. I don’t recommend actively going off path just to pick them though unless you happen to find a bunch clumped together or are just that desperate for food.
Skittersquids and cookie cutters drop monster meat, which is a valuable “supplemental” ingredient, which will be explained in the next section. Gnarwails drop 4 fish meat. Skittersquids additionally drop light bulbs roughly every 3 kills for extra light fuel, and cookie cutters drop their shells which are required for the Crabby Hermit house. While skittersquids and gnarwails spawn occasionally near schools of fish, cookie cutters can only be found at the salt formations. Just a warning: gnarwails will spring a leak on your boat if the person or thing it’s targeting is on the boat. It is highly recommended to NOT even bother with any of these unless you are or have a Wendy in your crew. If you do have a Wendy in your crew, however, I suggest setting her on aggressive autopilot for the gnarwails and skittersquids.
Even though these are a source of fish meat, catfish take a really long time to catch even with the reel-distance shortening trick covered in Section 2; roughly 48 seconds. Don’t catch these unless you’re low on or completely out of big fish in your fishing bins.
Basically, this fish has the same value of a catfish but is just way harder to catch. Like the black catfish, dandy lionfish are a source of fish meat and take roughly the same amount of lengthy time to catch (roughly 52 seconds). Unlike the black catfish, however, dandy lionfish have a much harder struggle phase. Whereas the catfish will simply pull on your line about 3 times with each pull lasting an eternity, lionfish will FREQUENTLY pull on your line in a multitude of short bursts, making for a struggle phase where you have to pay close attention or risk having your line snapped. Don’t catch these fish, especially if your internet is bad, unless you’re completely out of big fish for fish meat.
Corn cods give corn, which gives 25 hunger eaten raw. Unfortunately, there aren’t any noteworthy hunger recipes you should use corn for, and spoon lures are half as effective on these fish compared to most other fishes. I don’t recommend catching these unless you’re desperate for food or need some manure for light fuel.
These seasonal fish drop leafy meat, which you can use in the crockpot in a manner similar to monster meat as we’ll discuss in the next section. Unfortunately, these fish require seeds, so unless you happen to have an excessive amount of seeds in your ice box, are desperate for food, or need the Crabby Hermit friendship levels, don’t bother fishing these.
You only need 1 of these for the fire pump, the latter of which gives you the ability to manually pump water onto your boat in case a fire starts, which is a great substitute for the flingomatic. After you manage to catch 1, I don’t recommend catching any more of these ever again because of their lackluster fish morsel reward relative to the cost of a seed needed to catch one of these.
Don’t bother catching these.
6. Seafood Cuisine Fishing and harvesting barnacles are great and all, but carrying capacity out at sea is pretty brutal when you’re relying mostly on randomly-spawning schools of fish. Unless you’re totally fine with stopping your boat literally every time you run into a school of fish, you want to be able to squeeze out every ounce of hunger you possibly can from your fresh ingredients. This section will detail the dishes AND recipes that will help you do just that; additionally, it will cover some common seafood dishes you DON’T want to make. Ingredients
Just to bring everyone up to speed and summarize the point of Section 5, these are your available ingredients out at sea (things that I don’t recommend be used in the crockpot like corn not included)
(rare seasonal) (discourage from pursuing)
(from pig) (discourage from pursuing)
Dishes on the Menu in Order of Priority
This is will be your bread and butter, being the most hunger-efficient dish you have access to at sea. Meaty stews require 3 meat value and less than 1.5 fish value in the crock pot to be made, and it gives a whopping 150 hunger. This is what the drying racks are for: extracting the fish value from your fish by turning into . As a bonus, unlike , fish meat takes 1 day to dry.
Here are the viable meaty stew recipes:
- x 2 + x 2
This is the “default” recipe you’ll be using often as it’s the most hunger-efficient recipe that relies entirely on fish. If you do the math, this recipe basically DOUBLES the hunger of every ingredient.
- x 2 + + OR OR
Use this recipe if you’re low or completely out of small fish but have an excess of big fish.
- + + x 2
You will very rarely use this recipe because you should only ever have small jerky if you run out of big fish to dry (i.e. the only thing available for you to dry are small fish).
- If you have and/or , replace 1 in either of the recipes above with 1 of any of these.
Since these meats are less-valued (i.e. rot faster than jerky let alone eternally-fresh big fish AND don’t allow duplicates in the crockpot without hurting you) than jerky, it’s definitely in your best interest to use these up as soon as possible on meaty stews. Remember that >1 = (monster lasagna; toxic), and >1 = (leafy meatloaf; low hunger)
Stuffed Fish Heads
This is the dish you want to make if you have just way too many barnacles going stale in the ice box and a decent supply of small fish in the fishing bins. It requires 1 barnacle plus 3 ingredients that add up to 1 fish value (meaning at least 1 small fish is required), and it gives 75 hunger. Because you want to conserve as many small fish as possible for meaty stews, this is the only recipe you should use:
- + x 3
Everyone’s favorite spicy Italian dish. This basic dish covers pretty much every other niche food situation out at sea; make these if you can’t make fish heads or, more importantly, meaty stews.
Here are the very situational recipes:
- + x 3 OR x 3
- + x 3 OR x 3
Normally, you want to save monster meat for meaty stews, but if this is the ONLY meat you have on your boat and you’re about to starve, you don’t really have any other choice.
- x 4
If you have literally nothing on your boat but small fish, not even filler ingredients, then use this as a last-resort dish to give a small hunger boost to each fish. If you do the math, this recipe basically turns 4 fish morsels into 5 hunger-wise.
Seafood Dishes You Should Avoid Making
- Fish Tacos
Even though you can make these with corn, a small fish, and 2 twigs, you don’t net any hunger since 25 from corn + 12.5 from small fish = 37.5 hunger. If you need the health, surf n’ turf is a much more powerful alternative that uses more common ingredients.
- Barnacle Linguine
Much like the fish tacos, this recipe gives zero net gain in hunger. The benefit you get from this recipe is the 20 sanity, and as I’ll explain in Section 7, this sanity bonus means absolutely NOTHING.
- Surf n’ Turf
This is a popular recipe for many sailors because of the giant sanity boost at the cost of commonly-found fish. On the contrary, I only recommend making this dish for health if you need healing food for something like the Malbatross or Crab King fight. Otherwise, I suggest never making this dish since, again, sanity from crockpot dishes means nothing compared to the method of sanity management in Section 7.
7. Quality of Life at Sea
Unfortunately, hunger isn’t the only thing you have to manage to survive at sea. From sanity to fuel and navigation, neglecting any of these things will make your voyage irritating and can likely land you and your boat in a watery grave. This section will go over the tricks you can use to deal with these issues and make life at sea a lot more relaxing.
Hugging Your Pig for Sanity
This mechanic has gone under the radar for so long: if you befriend a pig and stand right next to it, you will get a +25 sanity/min aura benefit. Pigs stay befriended for 25 hunger of meat per day, meaning a small fish = half a day of sanity = 4 minutes of sanity = 100 sanity. This is why I mentioned in the previous section that sanity from food doesn’t matter; no dish can beat 100 sanity at the cost of a measly small fish.
Players on the mainland generally don’t use this mechanic because pigs will run away from you if you get close, and although you can use them at night when they’re sleeping/unable to run away from you as you invade their personal space, many would rather stay on the move or even keep their sanity low to farm shadow creatures. However, none of these reasons apply to living on a small boat where you’re obviously not traveling on foot, AND the collision physics of structures on your boat help you keep the pig trapped so you can get the full sanity aura effect as shown here.
Keep in mind though that the sanity aura isn’t area-of-effect; ONLY the player who befriended the pig gets the aura whereas the rest of the crew doesn’t. In order to “switch players”, the other person has to feed the pig. Make sure you guys take turns and be smart about it; don’t waste a fish on the pig if you have like 150 sanity out of 200, and don’t fight over the pig unless you want to drain your food supply.
Life Giving Amulets for Sanity
For most players, this really isn’t necessary at all, but if you happen to find or make any life giving amulets, bringing them on the boat is a good idea but not for the reason you may think. Almost every amulet in the game gives a +2 sanity/minute aura when you wear it, and unlike most other amulets, life giving amulets don’t degrade while you wear them.
+2 sanity/minute may sound negligible (and for the most part, it certainly is compared to the effort of making a prestihatitator to craft one), but in the long run, it definitely adds up, yielding 16 sanity per day. To put that into perspective, the shortest day possible in the entire game has 150 seconds of daylight and 330 seconds of dusk/night, meaning you will only ever lose a MAX of 27.5 sanity in one day from the -5 sanity/minute dusk-night insanity aura. Your life-giving amulet replenishes over half of that every day.
With that said, life giving amulets DO degrade if you get hit. The way it works is that the moment you get hit, the amulet gets triggered into exchanging your hunger for health over time until you’re 100% health, and each exchange reduces durability. In order to stop this, take off the amulet and fully heal yourself through other methods (e.g. surf n’ turf), AND THEN put the amulet back on.
Conserving Fuel with the Scaled Furnace and Thermal Stone
Fuel out at sea is hard to come by, and realistically, you won’t find enough to keep your fire pits lit every single night. This is where the scaled furnace comes in handy; the scaled furnace is an eternal light and heat source, and although its light radius is extremely small, its heat radius is decent enough for you to produce your own light through orange thermal stones. If you place it near your steering wheel like the boat in Section 3, you can easily keep your thermal stone orange and steer the boat just fine at night using your map without the threat of Charlie; likewise, your crewmates can move around the boat with orange thermal stones no problem. This way, as moderately uncomfortable as it is, you can technically survive forever without ever needing a fire. The following GIF shows the helmsman moving about the boat perfectly fine with a thermal stone that's kept warm by the furnace.
Glommer Goop and Manure This is pretty straightforward: Glommer’s value aside from minor sanity is that it produces , which has the same fuel value in the fire pit as a plank. Fuel is scarce out at sea, so any renewable fuel source you can bring on your boat helps.
Likewise, as briefly mentioned in Section 5, if you have excess food, you can feed your pig kelp and corn to produce manure, which has the same fuel value as a log.
If you plan on using the scaled furnace conservation method though, all of this is more of a luxury than a necessity.
Fuel on the Ocean
These will occasionally spawn in your vicinity, and while you shouldn’t go out of your way to pick these, they’re worth picking up if you happen to run into them.
Unlike the above, this is something you want to steer your boat towards if you see it. These boat fragments drop a whole if you hammer them. A word of caution though: hammer these manually with your MOUSE. DO NOT use the action key because you’ll most likely end up hammering structures on your boat instead.
These chests drop valuable loot, many of which are massive fuel sources. In order to get these, you have to find their location by opening a bunch of until the location pops up as an X on your map.
These are among the most flammable loot you’ll find in the sunken chests. DO NOT use these as fuel. Instead, what I recommend doing is slowly stockpile a couple of these over the course of your treasure hunt, place a disposable boat in the water, place the kits down, and then hammer the structures. Not only do you get more fuel supplies (the kit itself is only worth the same as a plank, and you get more than planks back from hammering a single anchor); you also get a renewable source of rocks at sea that you can use to make a new hammer.
The Anchor Burst Trick
Controlling your boat is extremely important, and this couldn’t be more true in hazardous waters where sea stacks are everywhere or brine waters where the salt deposits themselves are a physical boat hazard. A way to carefully navigate around these obstacles is to move in short, carefully controlled bursts so that you’re not spending all day moving at a snail’s pace with the anchor down but also not risking your boat taking damage. To do this, all you need to do is lift up your anchor and cancel the lifting animation midway (or however long you want the burst of speed to be) by moving your character. A team version of this was shown in Section 5 in the barnacle-harvesting portion, but for solos, it should look something like this.
Mining the Sea Stacks
As shown in the GIF above, you can mine the sea stacks in order to clear a path for yourself by moving your boat close to the sea stack and anchoring down with 1 sail up so that the boat slowly moves in range of the sea stack. With just 1 sail up, the boat will be slow enough to not take any damage if it touches the sea stack while you’re mining it.
Alternatively, if you or one of your crewmates is a Maxwell, you can have the shadow puppet mine the sea stack for you from a distance.
Coordinating with your Crew
Having an assigned job on the boat makes things insanely more efficient, less stressful, and frankly just more fun for everyone because aside from the camaraderie of legitimately working as a team, sticking to your own job streamlines everything so that you don’t get in the way of each other. It’s not fun when two people try to hit the anchor as the boat’s heading toward a sea stack, and they end up crashing because the dropped anchor got slightly raised by the last person to click on the anchor.
You can divide up the work however you want, but for me, I find that these roles work pretty well:
- Helmsman: This is the ship driver. Their job is to raise the anchor and steer the boat. It’s important that you use your map while you’re driving because it will show sea stacks up ahead that you normally wouldn’t be able to immediately spot on your screen; this way, you can steer around them no problem. Also, using the map allows you to navigate at night regardless of light. Dropping the anchor is fine if you’re doing non-emergency stuff like making a U turn, but otherwise, leave most of the anchor-dropping to the seaman. If you need sanity from pigs, switch places with the seaman temporarily.
- Seaman: This is the gas pedal and emergency breaks of the ship. Their job is to manage the sails, drop the anchor, and keep an eye out for fish. Standing on the edge of the boat in the general direction the boat’s moving is a good idea since you get to spot both sea stacks AND fish this way. At night, however, you have to use the map and prioritize spotting the sea stacks over spotting fish. A side job they have shared with the cook is to pick items on the water like driftwood, kelp, bottles, etc. while the boat is on the move.
- Cook: This is the chef of the ship. Their job is to dry fish, organize cargo, and most importantly, cook food. Along with the seaman, they’re also responsible for picking up items on the water. This is probably the most important role on the ship because how well the cook knows what recipes to use determines whether your crew starves or not. A chef who makes surf n’ turf for hunger, for example, is sabotaging your food supply rather than helping.
Here’s a small window into what a normal day with a coordinated crew looks like.
8. Dangers at Sea and Abigail
Aside from sea stacks and hazardous food sources like sea weeds, skittersquids, and cookie cutters mentioned in previous sections, there are other things you will encounter during your travels that want you and/or your boat dead, many of which were added in the recent Troubled Waters update. This section will cover those hazards as well as how to properly deal with them. Rockjaw Sharks and the Buffed Abigail Meta
My previous ocean survival guide had a supplemental guide on using Abigail to circumvent some issues out at sea. You can read the whole thing here: [insert URL]
For those who want a quick tl;dr, however:
- Abigail can be used to kill Malbatross without needing a boomerang
- Abigail can be used to keep cookie cutters away from your boat/outright kill them for monster meat while you mine salt
- Abigail can be used to kill gnarwhails and skittersquids (valuable sources of food and lantern fuel) out in the water without any threat to you or your boat
Probably the biggest threat in the ocean right now is the rockjaw. These are dangerous, high-DPS sharks (with a triple AOE attack that does 90 damage total) that have a low chance of spawning whenever a school of fish spawns near you, much like gnarwails. UNLIKE gnarwails, however, these rockjaws DO NOT DESPAWN. If you sail away from them, they’ll be in that area when you come back. The only way to truly get rid of them is to kill them. Unfortunately, there is no way to flawlessly kill a rockjaw by hand; it has an unpredictable attack pattern on your boat. Sometimes it will do 1 triple AOE attack, and other times, it’ll do 2-5 triple AOE attacks. As of the 8/20/20 update, Rockjaws now despawn, so killing them is no longer mandatory.
This is where Abigail's already-overpowered abilities out at sea get even more overpowered. If the rockjaw is fighting in the water, instead of the triple AOE attack, it will attack with just a single bite and then kite. You can use Abigail to kill the rockjaw out in the water to prevent it from ever hurting you and your crew. With that being said, because the rockjaw has so much health (1000) and it swims pretty fast as part of its kiting pattern, unless you start the fight in the afternoon/dusk/early night, Abigail might die.
Wavy Jones Wavy Jones is the ocean version of the shadow hands, only much more annoying. His head spawns on the edge of the boat, and his hands will generally go for the sails and anchor, and depending on your sanity level, he will also go for your patched leaks (assuming your boat has a repaired leak). As long as you’re sailing at night and have above 50% of your sanity, he isn’t a threat whatsoever, especially if you’re relying on the furnace method for light.
You can step on his head 3 times to get rid of him. However, because of collision physics with structures on the edge of your boat, you won’t always be able to step on him. If you run into this situation, what you can do instead is anchor down and stand between Wavy Jones and the anchor until morning arrives so that you’re body-blocking the anchor from being raised. As long as the anchor is down, even if Wavy Jones lowers both of your sails, your boat will be slow enough to never spring a leak.
This is the ocean version of the terrorbeak, but much more annoying. It will camp on the edge of your boat and swipe at you when you get in range. This thing has a much longer range of attack than the terrorbeak, extending to about the radius of your boat. You can avoid this monster entirely by keeping your sanity up; it only spawns at really low sanity level anyways, similar to the sanity levels required for terrorbeaks. That said, if you want to kill them for whatever reason, all you have to do is bait out their long-ranged swipe attack before hitting it.
This ocean boss spawns at deep bass shoals. Only a quarter of these shoals in the entire map can spawn the boss, but you can keep fishing deep bass at shoals where it hasn’t spawned for a 10% chance of spawning it. You can see these shoals on your map. [Picture of deep bass shoal]
I recommend avoiding this boss for the reasons mentioned in Section 5, but if you want to kill it for the winged mast, see the Abigail Meta thread linked above in the Rockjaw subsection.
Note: crab king is not included in this guide because it’s not a hazard unless you willfully wake him up with gems. If you want to know more about this raid boss, the wiki page does a wonderful job of explaining the mechanics in detail.
9. Special Boats for the Anti-Pig Characters A big part of the survival strategy in this guide revolves around pigs; unfortunately, there are 3 characters in this game whom pigs will attack on sight, meaning that the boat in Section 3 isn’t safe for them. This section will cover some example boats you can use in place of the one in Section 2 specifically for these characters. Just a disclaimer: just because of how inefficient/dangerous these boats are for other characters, I strongly recommend using them solo for the most part.
This boat’s pretty straightforward; it’s the same as the Section 3 boat but with the pig house replaced with another drying rack. Wortox’s biggest weakness out at sea here is his abysmal hunger gain from food, and without the pig house or a renewable sleeping method, his sanity is also another issue. The extra drying rack makes it so that you can make meaty stews much more often by drying any kind of fish, big or small. To put the hunger situation into perspective, you need 1 meaty stew per day to survive as Wortox.
For sanity, the “optional” glommer and life-giving amulet in Section 7 are now absolutely MANDATORY. Glommer’s +6 sanity/min alone can offset the daily sanity drain, but you’ll starve to death by standing still doing nothing for that long. The life-giving amulet’s +16 sanity/day offsets the burden significantly so that even for the shortest possible days in the entire game, you just need to use glommer for 2 minutes max.
This boat’s pretty easy to explain; just fit as many spider dens as you want and do some spider civil wars out at sea. The monster meat alone will cover all the hunger you’ll ever need, so you don’t even have to fish. The silk can be used to make top hats which give 26.4 sanity/day, which is just 1.1 sanity short of the maximum 27.5 sanity loss, which can be made up by continuing to wear the hat on longer days where you’ll get a net gain in sanity. 3 spider dens should be enough to survive; you can even settle for 2 and use fish to finish off the hunger deficit if you want. Make sure to place the spider dens towards the center of the boat away from the edges; especially when the boat is moving, spiders can accidentally spawn and walk on water if the spider dens are touching the edge. This boat is pretty basic and has a ton of space, so feel free to add any additional structures you want, like lureplants or more chests.
Bringing (but not necessarily wearing) a life-giving amulet is also encouraged, not so much for the sanity but for the off chance that you die from a failed civil war attempt. Normally, you should be able to kill this small number of spiders yourself with a moderate amount of damage (since the spiders you befriend won’t be attacking you if you fail a fake-attack), and should you take that damage, you have surf n’ turf available for healing alongside the excess spider glands.
This is the hardest character to survive with at sea. Wurt’s a vegetarian, so the meat-centered tactics that’ve been covered in this guide so far don’t apply to her. Aside from the obvious value of catching corn cods for 25-hunger raw corn, the obvious choice here is to go with farm plots for the most filling non-meat dish: dragonpies. The great thing about this dish is that the filler can be almost anything as long as it’s not meat; that includes edibles like EGGS and non-edibles like twigs.
You can turn the non-veggie fish that you catch and even something as mass-harvestable as barnacles into eggs. Barnacles are the jackpot for Wurt, so if you see any Sea Weeds, prioritize this over anything else. Likewise, you can let some fish/barnacles rot in the chests to use as fertilizer for your dragonfruit farm. Because you’re going to be using fish for eggs/fertilizer, focus on catching easy fish like deep bass and most small fish rather than tough ones like dandylions and catfish (with the exception of ice breams due to the valuable ice filler). The boat you will see below only has one fishing bin because you can keep eggs fresh for eternity if you cook the egg when it’s stale and feed it to the bird.
Another helpful recipe you can use as a hunger buffer while your dragonfruits are growing or if it's Winter is to make ratatouille with x 2 + x 2.
Farm plots are super unpopular and regularly memed in the community, so many of you might not be familiar with some of the intricate farming and farm-related mechanics; let me briefly explain these mechanics as well as a few lesser-known bird/temperature mechanics related to farming.
Farm plots (specifically the improved ones) can only grow 30 crops before requiring fertilizer to replenish the soil, and it takes 10 minutes daylight for a seed to grow. Rain speeds up the growth rate of the crop by roughly 2x based on an experiment with moderate rain. You can also use fertilizer to speed up the growth of the seed, but it won’t affect the fertility of the farm soil. The only 2 fertilizers you need to know about are guano and rot (spoiled fish/spoiled small fish = rot). Guano speeds up a seed’s growth by 7.5 minutes of light, and rot speeds up growth by 1.25 minutes of light. Guano also replenishes 12 seeds’ worth of fertility in the soil if used on an empty farm, and rot replenishes 2 seeds’ worth of fertility. Seeds will not grow when the temperature is “cold”, but as long as it’s not 0 degrees or below, you can still grow your crops through fertilizer (e.g. the 1st and roughly 2nd day of Winter with some fluctuation depending on daytime/dusk/night). Regarding birds, if you feed a crop to a bird in a bird cage, you will get a seed for that crop back plus a 50% chance of an extra crop seed and a 50% chance of a regular ambiguous seed. Finally, here’s an extremely overlooked mechanic involving birds: if you feed a seed to a bird in a bird cage, a third of the time, you will get guano.
So there are quite a few ways you can apply these mechanics to your advantage to survive on the boat as Wurt. For starters, as you’re feeding dragonfruit to the bird to get more dragonfruit seeds, 50% of the time, you will get a “useless” regular seed that’s actually not so useless if you feed it to the bird for guano. On average, you will get 1 guano for every 6 dragonfruits you feed to the bird through the on-average 3 regular seeds. NEVER use more than 1 guano to grow a crop; 1 guano + 2 rot = a fully grown dragonfruit. That said, if you plan on staying on the boat long-term, be sure to save most of the fertilizer for replenishing the soil.
A major downside to farm plots, however, is that you can’t grow them during Winter and Summer. The only thing you can do is stockpile enough dragonfruits to last you through the season while you buffer the hunger burden with corn cods. Excluding corn cods and kelp, you need roughly 11 dragonpies to survive each season, so stock up on fertilizer and grow a little less than 11 dragonfruits a few days before Winter/Summer hits. Keep 3 dragonfruit seeds in the ice box for after the season is over.
I also highly encourage bringing glommer along for the free glommer goop, which can be used as either fertilizer or light fuel.
With hunger out of the way, let’s briefly talk about sanity. Sanity is really simple for Wurt. Just keep a fish in your inventory for the same sanity aura as a top hat. Having a life-giving amulet for supplemental sanity is also encouraged.
I know that was a lot of info just for one niche boat for one specific character, so here’s a tl;dr
- Make a boat centered around dragonpies, and catch corn cods to eat raw corn.
- Quantity > Quality of fish; catch a ton of easy ones (and ice breams) and turn them into eggs to use as dragonpie filler or ratatouille filler. You can also use twigs for filler.
- Kill and let some fish rot in chests for spoiled fish fertilizer, which is the same as rot.
- For every 3 dragonfruits you grow, feed 2 to the bird for dragonfruit seeds, and use the remaining one for food. You can feed the junk regular seeds to the bird for a good chance at guano.
- You can use 1 guano + 2 rot to instantly grow your dragonfruit; try to stockpile fertilizer for a few days before Winter or Summer so you can grow a bunch of dragonfruits to survive that season. Also save at least 3 dragonfruit seeds in the ice box.
- Bring glommer for glommer goop.
- @thegreatmanagement and @X-lem for helping me out in the recorded GIFs
- @Electroely for inventing the multi-reel baiting trick
- The DST wiki for some of the item pictures used throughout this guide, the Farming wiki page that explained the value of each fertilizer, the Bird Cage wiki page that gave the actual % chance of guano drop, the Shadow Monster wiki page that gave the % sanity thresholds of Wavy Jones, and the convenient Sanity wiki page that inspired the sanity ideas in Section 7
If there are any questions about what parts were unclear or anything ocean-related, please let me know. Otherwise, that’s all I got; thanks for reading, and I hope this guide helped or encouraged some of you to try basing/surviving on the ocean!
P.S. This guide was completed as of 8/19/20. There is a quality-of-life update happening tomorrow that could possibly make some of this info out of date. Please check the replies and/or possible edit notes below should the quality of life update nullify some of this information.
EDIT 8/20/20: Rockjaws are now de-spawnable as of the Quality of Life update today. All GIFs have been put in Spoiler boxes to prevent lag for some viewers. Also, ratatouille has been added as a dish to help Wurt sailors; suggested by @FuriousChimera.