Rafts in Valhiem had a big learning curve for me, so I made this helpful Valheim how to use raft as a beginner guide to speed up the process for everyone else. The Valheim raft consists of these main components.

Valheim Raft Mechanics:

Game Mechanic Function
Raft Rudder To change the direction that the raft is moving towards and to manually push the raft upwind.
Raft Sails To change the speed that the raft is moving.
Hold Fast Option To allow for a secondary player to be attached to the raft without falling off due to desync.
Wind Direction To determine if the raft will be pushed or not depending on the direction of the sails.
Raft Ladder To allow for the player to mount the raft from a swimming position in the water.
Valheim how to use raft

In the early stages of the game you will have to travel across an ocean to find the second boss. In Valheim, knowing how to use the raft is very important to progress at the game fast. If you don’t know about the dangers of the ocean and how to navigate it, you may end up losing all your gear because a sea serpent destroyed your raft and ate you.

To learn how to use the raft only takes a few minutes actually. Valheim is made up a nearly a hundred different islands that are randomly generated, so Valheim is heavily centered around your ability to use the raft and then progress to the bigger and faster boats.

Valheim Raft Specifications:

Specification Value
Source Workbench
Durability/Health 300
Size 6×4
Crafting Materials Wood x 20, Leather Scraps x6, Resin x6
Storage No
Speed 4kmh – 13km/h
Can hold constructions No

Valheim How To Craft The Raft

To be able to use the raft, you need to craft it with a workbench level 1 and a few resources. These resources include:

  • Wood x 20
  • Resin x 6
  • Leather Scraps x 6

Wood can be gained by chopping down trees, resin can be gained by killing the greydwarfs located in the meadows or the black forest and leather scraps can be gained by killing boars in the meadows.

Directions for building the raft:

  1. Have all required materials within your inventory.
  2. Have workbench near the shoreline, water must be in range for Raft placement.
  3. Place your hammer in the hotbar, then select it.
  4. Press the F button to bring up hammer UI.
  5. Select the MISC tab, and select the raft.
  6. Place the raft on the water and it will float.

Valheim How To Place & Use Raft

After placing the raft in the water at your desired location, ensure the raft is not beached on rocks or the shore. If the water is too shallow, the raft will not take off with the use of wind and sails. It will require you to manually swim and push it from behind until it is unstuck.

You can also push the raft by running from behind it with the SHIFT key if it is on land as well.

Once the raft is in the water, to use the raft, mount it properly by locating the ladder on the back left hand side of the raft, opposite to the rudder.

Valheim how to use raft Hold Fast

Valheim How To Use Hold Fast Raft Mechanic

On every raft there is a mast in the center which is connected to the sails and ropes. To use the raft with a second player, requires the secondary player who is not driving the raft with the rudder, to be attached to the mast. This can be accomplished by approaching the mast and using the E button to activate the HOLD FAST mechanic.

This mechanic allows for the secondary player to attach to the raft at the same time someone is attached to the rudder. This will make sure that no one falls off due to desync when using the raft with two players.

If you want to know how to play with friends, read this article about setting up a Valheim server.

How To Use The Rudder On a Raft

To use the raft, you are required to steer and power the raft by the rudder. To use the raft you have to press the E button on the rudder located at the back right hand side of the raft. It looks like a stick. Once you are using the rudder on the raft, use the W key to move forward by toggling the rudder and dropping the sails. I will explain this further.

Press W in intervals and you will see different levels of speed represented by the number of arrows above or below the wheel icon which is located at the rudder.

W key moves up a speed interval and the S key moves down a speed interval.

The sail will not be used if the wind is not blowing towards the back of the sails, this can be found on the compass icon on the right hand side. To use the rudder when the sails are failing, requires you to press S until sails are fully retracted and only a wheel icon remains above the rudder.

To steer the raft with the rudder, use the A and D keys by holding for the desired value amount. There is a circular bar around the wheel icon which fills up on the left or right side of the wheel and this shows the amount that you are turning.

To use the reverse function on the raft, press S consecutively until the sails are fully retracted and turned in line with the raft. Then press S one more time, this will make your character reverse the raft by using the rudder.

There are 5 main intervals of speed on the raft:

Icon Function
Wheel with 1 arrow below Raft is reversing with the use of the rudder.
Wheel and no arrows Raft is stationary or coming to a stop.
Wheel and 1 arrow above Raft is moving with the rudder and no sails and 33% Speed.
Wheel and 2 arrows above Raft is moving forward with 50% sails and 66% Speed.
Wheel and 3 arrows above Raft is moving forward with 100% sails and 100% Speed.

How To Manage The Wind On a Raft

If the sails are facing the direction in line with the wind, your raft will move forward. The wind must be blowing behind the boat. You can see this on this boat compass icon on the right of your screen. In Valhiem how to use raft effectively with the wind, requires you to maneuver your raft so the wind icon is white and touching the yellow bar.

There is a horseshoe shaped bar around the back of the boat icon. This is the range of which the wind needs to be for the sails to be utilized.

The direction of the wind will influence the steering of the raft. A lot of the time the wind is not in range of the horseshoe icon, because the wind is blowing towards you in the direction you want to go. This will make you unable to use the raft unless you retract the sails to 0% and press W once to activate the rudder.

Either wait for the wind to change direction and blow within the range, use the rudder or try the ZIGZAG method below.

Wind direction can also be seen on the mini map as a white wind icon on the bottom left.

Valhiem How To Use Raft Upwind: ZIGZAG Method

The zigzag method is a good alternative for using the rudder when on a raft. To use this method on your raft, instead of moving directly towards your destination, use the rudder to steer and go diagonally. Continue turning until the wind is now in range of the horseshoe icon and pushing your sails, once it is in range, keep heading diagonally in that direction until you are nearing the shoreline.

Once you are nearing the shoreline, simply change to the opposite diagonal direction with the wind still in your favor and begin heading that way.

Do this until the wind changes and will blow from directly behind the boat, in this case you can use the raft normally and head directly at your destination.

Valheim how to use raft Sea serpent

How To Deal With Threats On a Raft

Keep in mind you cannot build structures on a raft which means you will have no cover from arrow shooting skeletons or draugr. If you raft is too near a shoreline you can be attacked by greydwarf rock throws. When using the raft you are immune to being capsized from heavy ocean waves. Although the raft can be stuck on rocks in shallow waters.

The sea serpent is a threat that is in the open oceans, you will know you are in an ocean by the text that comes up on your screen whenever you enter a new biome, because an ocean is counted as a separate biome.

When you enter the ocean biome, you are at risk of a sea serpent attacking your raft, they cannot attack you directly unless you are too close to the edge while using the raft.

Each bite that the sea serpent does to attack your raft will deal 60 damage, keep in mind the raft has only 300 durability and you can also encounter multiple sea serpents at once.

The sea serpents can also follow you all the way to the shore and will continue attacking you.

Much like all the boats, there is little cover, this means if you enter a plains biome which has death mosquitoes, you are at risk, they can 1 shot a lot of low armored players and attack you with speed. There is little audio queues that will notify you of their existence, so be careful, especially when you are steering the rudder.


In Valheim, how to use raft as a beginner can have quite a learning curve, but it is very easy to learn once you have a guide. I hope this guide was specifically helpful to learn how to use the raft in Valheim. Remember how to use each mechanic of the raft including: wind, rudder, ladder, sails, and hold fast. Also be careful of the many threats that can attack you while using a raft in Valheim.