Ships & boats


From this thread

Since we're currently making and adding ships to Kings Landing, and White Harbor in the near future, I'd like to remind everyone of the existence of this thread.

Ships of Westeros
In Westeros, the following types of seafaring ships are in use:

Galleys are oared warships. These ships are generally highly maneuverable. Various types of galley existed;
- Brigantine, a galley with two masts and between eight to twelve oars at either side.
- Dromon, a larger variant of the galley. Historically these were used by the Byzantine Empire. These ships have a full deck and lateen sails.


Longships are a smaller type of galley primarily used by the ironborn. They are long, narrow, light, wooden boat with a shallow-draft hull designed for speed. The ship's shallow draft allows navigation in waters only one meter deep and permits beach landings, while its light weight enables it to be carried over portages. Longships are also double-ended, the symmetrical bow and stern allowing the ship to reverse direction quickly without having to turn around. This trait proves particularly useful in northern latitudes where icebergs and sea ice pose hazards to navigation. Longships are fitted with oars along almost the entire length of the boat itself. Later versions sport a rectangular sail on a single mast which is used to replace or augment the effort of the rowers, particularly during long journeys.


Cogs are ships with a single mast with square-rigged single sails and a stern-mounted hanging central rudder. They range from about 15 meters to 25 meters in length, with a width of 5 to 8 meters. They used to have open hulls, but cogs with decks started to appear in the 13th century. They can be rowed short distances. The bottom of a cog is flat, so it could be beached if a dock was absent.


Caravels had two to three masts, with lateen sails and a shallow keel, making it able to sail upriver. Early caravels had a length between 12 and 18 meters.


Carracks were three- or four-masted sailing ships. They had a high round stern with large alftcastle, forecastle and bowsprit at the stern.


Swan Ship, so called in the Seven Kingdoms for their great white sails and figureheads which are often carved in the shape of birds, are large ocean-going vessels designed and built in the Summer Islands. With a good wind behind them they can outrun any galley. However, they are helpless when becalmed. They have high masts and high forecastles.

Whaler are fat-bellied ships from Ibben, with hulls black with tar, used to hunt and process whales in the Shivering Sea. Ibbenese ships, though ungainly and smelly, are renowned for their strength, as they are built to weather any storm and withstand the assaults of the largest whales.

I’ve seen some pretty large ships being anchored along the wharfs of Kings Landing, which is not accurate. Large ships would generally anchor off-shore, while smaller boats shuttled the goods and people back and forth.

However, when a large ship needed to take on larger supplies or repairs (think masts and that sort of stuff), it could be pulled into the harbour using a process called warping (basically pulling the ship along a line).

Smaller ships get to the wharfs by rowing, being pulled or warping.

Useful links

Sources DVD/library/Medieval Shipping.pdf
boatloads of maps and pictures