Something about the ocean has enticed travelers and explorers for centuries. Many travel for days just to derive whatever pleasure comes from the cold sea breeze and clear water as far as the eye can see. The only thing that drives people more towards the ocean is the thought of navigating their own vessels across such waters. Since that is an expensive hobby requiring a lot of skill, you can settle for the next best thing, boat simulator games.
There are tons of games out there to suit whatever idea of seafaring you might have. Some even offer remarkable accuracy in detail and realism. Whether it was Hemmingway or Jack Sparrow that first brought out your love for the sea, here are some of the best boat simulator games that let you live out your fantasy.
Best Ship and Boat Games for Those Who Love to Sail
Sailing Era (2023)
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PS 4/5, Windows
This sailing simulator focuses on the ambitious age of exploration when nautical laws were few and far between. Sailing Era is set between the 15th and 17th centuries in a world where anyone can lay claim to countless treasures scattered throughout. You play as an ambitious explorer who sets out to conquer the oceans and explore far-off lands and the bounty that lies therein.
Sailing Era combines RPG elements with RTS and crew management to offer a wholesome sailing experience. From exploring to trading and pillaging, there is tons of stuff you can do in this nautical simulator. Although it’s a bit rough around the edges in some crucial aspects, it is still a great fantasy experience that ocean lovers will enjoy.
eSail Sailing Simulator (2018)
Platforms: Windows, MacOS
This simulator is not for casual gamers looking to sink in a few hours of relaxing gameplay. eSail Sailing Simulator is as close as it gets to the real thing. The game allows you to man the helm of some of the best sailboats or yachts as you navigate through using real-life skills and knowledge of sailing.
This game offers real-life interactive sailing tutorials from ocean experts like John Dobbin and Hannah White who are supposed to be the best authorities on the subject. If lessons from a sailing Guinness record holder and an ocean yacht master aren’t enough, eSail offers an extensive tutorial mode that takes you through all the nuances of sailing to get you started. Crafted for both experienced and aspiring sailing enthusiasts, this game features the most accurate sailing mechanics and physics to emulate the real experience. The developers also offer support to those seeking to actually learn the art of sailing.
Sid Meier’s Pirates (2004)
Platforms: Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Wii, Xbox, Xbox 360, Windows Phone, PlayStation Portable
If it is a fun simulation experience that you yearn for, there is no safer bet than Sid Meier’s. Naturally, a pirate-themed game from the iconic sim developer is bound to deliver all the good stuff that makes up a pirate’s life. There is plundering, pillaging, capturing enemies, getting captured by enemies, wooing maidens of the sea, getting slapped by said maidens, and other joys of being a pirate.
Sid Meier’s Pirates allows you to sail solo with your own version of the black pearl to create an armada and take on the entire world, whichever suits your fancy.
Sea of Thieves (2018)
Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Windows
Sea of Thieves is a laudable first attempt at creating a multiplayer sailing/pirate experience. If you overlook some niggles which come with venturing out into uncharted territory, this game offers a fun and enjoyable experience of navigating with friends or casual gaming acquaintances.
The game’s co-op mechanics combined with RPG and crafting elements make it the ideal sailing multiplayer game which offers countless years’ worth of exciting gameplay.
Ultimate Admiral: Age of Sail (2020)
This indie sailing game does an impressive job of recreating some of the greatest moments in nautical history. Ultimate Admiral lets you step into the shoes of naval legends such as Horatio Nelson and John Paul Jones and relive their greatest battles. The game follows the careers of each of these generals while focusing on their tactics.
Ultimate Admiral boasts some impressive sailing gameplay with realistic physics and simulation mechanics that allow you to experience the capabilities of the various vessels of the time. While mostly for history buffs and sailing enthusiasts, this game also offers RTS combat gameplay both on land and sea. While leaning largely towards historical accuracy, this game also lets you rewrite history by employing your understanding of naval combat tactics.
Sea Dogs (2000)
Released at the turn of the century, this pirate/sailing game has earned a cult following over the years among fans of the genre. Sea Dogs is a fun action RPG that combines naval combat and sailing mechanics to create a realistic pirate experience. The game lets you develop a character from scratch and build a reputable naval empire. The means of course is up to you and the choices are endless.
The open-world gameplay allows you to use your imagination to accomplish various goals. So, carnage is not the only path to riches in this pirate game.
Maelstrom: The Battle for Earth Begins (2007)
Maelstrom is probably the only title that combines strategic naval combat with fun fantasy elements. This MMORPG lets you test your mettle against other players in an unforgiving world filled with giant monsters. You get to captain a ship of orcs, humans, dwarves, or the undead whichever suits your fancy, and take on enemy fleets to achieve glory.
Maelstrom is the ultimate pirate fantasy with customizable ships and characters that will help you gain an advantage over enemies. This game is free-to-play as all pirate games should be, with enough additional content to keep you immersed for hours on end.
Raw Lion Workshop’s Sailwind is a laid-back sailing simulator that allows you to enjoy an ocean adventure at your own pace. This game offers a unique survival experience that allows you to choose your own reason for sailing the seas. You can play as a cargo delivery boat, a fishing boat, or just an explorer seeing what lies in the middle of the ocean.
The game is quite demanding in terms of the sailing mechanics where you are expected to do a wide range of chores that come with owning a boat. Ample customization options make it worth pursuing a more proactive course of gameplay to unlock some neat rewards.
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Linux, Windows, Mac
Raft is an ocean survival game that is bound to test your wits and your patience. The game starts out with you stranded on a tiny raft and left to scavenge for resources in the middle of the ocean. This predicament is just as unforgiving as it sounds with emphasis on survival elements. Your objective is to find ways to gather resources and improve your floating abode while refraining from dying of hunger or thirst.
Of course, since you are in the middle of the ocean, you get constant visits from the neighborhood’s not-so-friendly man-eating sharks. There is no Mr. Wilson or Richard Parker to keep you company in this survival adventure, but you can play with friends assuming you can stand them through all the mayhem that is bound to ensue.
Sea of Craft (2021)
Platforms: Windows, MacOS
This Minecraft-like game allows you to build ships and explore the vast ocean in any manner you desire. The sandbox features allow you to craft any ship that suits your tastes. From floating barges to the Titanic, this game lets you build anything you can think of and beyond.
You can also try using your creations in ways beyond the confines of conventional physics. So, the real fun in this game is in finding out how far you can push your boundaries.