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Everything you need to know about Minecraft Shipwrecks

Find valuable booty in your overworld’s many Shipwrecks

Updated: Apr 20, 2022 9:22 am
Minecraft Shipwreck all you need to know

When playing Survival Minecraft, there’s a lot of precious loot you’ll need. Iron, Diamonds, even Emeralds are all crucial to your survival success, and to getting to The End. There’s one great tip to picking up some of this without destroying pickaxe after pickaxe and get an easy head start during your Minecraft early game – Shipwrecks.

Depending on where you spawn, Shipwrecks can often be found right away, and their valuable loot tables mean you could get a real headstart on your survival adventure. They also generate pretty frequently, and are generally overlooked as one of the best Minecraft structures to hunt down. So, if you’ve not thought about using the wooden ruins to your advantage in survival mode, here’s everything you need to know about Minecraft Shipwrecks.

Shipwreck structure and generation

Capsized Minecraft Shipwreck
A full, capsized Minecraft Shipwreck on the ocean floor

Minecraft’s Shipwrecks can generate in all ocean biomes, but they can also spawn on a beach, partly or fully on ground. They can also generate in other structures, such as Ocean Monuments or ravines.

A whole Shipwreck consists of a bow and a stern. The bow is two floors, the external deck and a below-deck area. The stern consists of three floors, with two rooms. The lowest room is behind a door which may or may not generate. If it does, it provides a non-waterlogged area in which the player can recoup air supply. As we’ll get to in a bit, there can be up to three different types of chests in a Shipwreck, one in the stern’s upper room, one in it’s lower room, and one in the below-deck area of the bow. Knowing the location of these chests will prove invaluable when you’re fighting for air underwater.

If you get a really complete Shipwreck, it might even generate with three masts, all made of wooden logs, so you can gather a decent amount of wood while you’re at it. Other parts of the ship you might want to collect for later use include wooden fences, slabs, stairs, trapdoors and the chests themselves.

Minecraft Shipwreck chest locations
The three chest locations in a Minecraft Shipwreck

The above image from the Minecraft wiki shows the location of the three chests in a full Shipwreck. If the Shipwreck generates upside down, or on its side, the chests will still spawn in a similar location, but the right way up.

The problem to this lies in the fact that you aren’t guaranteed to find a full Shipwreck. In fact, a Minecraft Shipwreck can generate whole, slightly worn, or in half. In the case of the latter, only the chests that would spawn in that section will spawn (read on for chest types and their location within the ship). You might also find your ship on its side, or completely upside down, making it harder to get into when you’re holding your virtual breath.

How to find a Shipwreck in Minecraft

Unless you have cheats enabled and are able to use the /locate command, then the best way to locate Shipwrecks in Minecraft is to simply go swimming! Well, rowing.

One of the first things you can make in Minecraft is a boat, using simply wood planks (and a shovel in Bedrock Edition). From there, you can simply sail around, keeping your eyes on the ocean floor. To make this even easier, it’s worth looking at the horizon as it renders, and keeping a lookout for any Shipwreck-shaped structures as they appear. A final tip, rowing around the seas at dusk or dawn make underwater structures even easier to spot thanks to the water being lit up.

Minecraft Shipwreck loot tables

As mentioned, there are three different chest types that can spawn in a Minecraft Shipwreck; Supply chests, Treasure chests, and Map chests. All three of these will generate in a full shipwreck, but if the wreck is part destroyed, then only some, or even none, of the chests will spawn.

Minecraft Shipwreck Treasure Chest

Supply chests

Supply chests spawn on the lower floor of the ship’s bow, and contain such items that help with survival, such as leather armor items and foodstuff. They also contain some items you might want to leave behind, such as poisonous potatoes and rotten flesh. The table below shows every item that can spawn in a supply chest, and the chance of it doing so.

ItemJava and Bedrock Edition Chance
Suspicious Stew54.3%
Poisonous Potato42.1%
Moss Block42.1%
Rotten Flesh32.2%
Enchanted Leather Cap20.8%
Enchanted Leather Tunic20.8%
Enchanted Leather Pants20.8%
Enchanted Leather Boots20.8%
All stats from Minecraft wiki

You can find multiples of each item per chest, and with wheat, carrots and Suspicious Stew available, you’ll likely find enough food to get through your first couple of Minecraft days.

Treasure chests

This is the big one, of course. The treasure chests. The ultimate booty you’d expect to pull from a shipwreck. Depending on your luck, this one could really set you up, especially if you find two or three shipwrecks close to each other. Given that you can find multiples of each item, you could find enough Diamonds to craft a Diamond Sword or even a Pickaxe, and enough Iron to craft your other essential tools. The treasure chest always generates in the upper stern room – if you’re lucky and find a shipwreck on the water’s surface, this might not even be underwater. It is, however, the easiest to get stuck in. We recommend chopping a hole directly into it from above.

ItemJava and Bedrock Edition Chance
Iron Ingot97.4%
Iron Nugget94.5%
Lapis Lazuli61.5%
Gold Nugget36.6%
Gold Ingot26.5%
Bottle O’ Enchanting14.1%

Map chests

Finally, map chests. These ones are most useful for the Buried Treasure Map, which again can lead you to more Diamonds, and is the only way to find the Heart of the Sea. These always spawn in the lower room of the boat’s stern.

ItemJava and Bedrock Edition Chance
Buried Treasure Map100%
Empty Map7.7%

More Shipwreck looting advice

Finally, here are some recommendations for staying safe when looting Shipwrecks on Minecraft’s ocean floor.

The safest way and fastest way to find your treasure is with a Potion of Water Breathing and/or a Respiration enchanted helmet, and Aqua Affinity enchanted tools. However, if you’re doing this early game, when it’s most beneficial, you likely won’t have these. Therefore, keep a close eye on your air supply bar – the one that appears above your hunger bar when you’re underwater. Don’t wait until it’s gone. If you’re getting low, go back to the surface – with or without your loot. Your health deteriorates quickly when you start to drown.

On that note, it’s best to do a little recon before you try and actually get your items. Swim down to the shipwreck a couple of times to work out exactly where the chests are, then go back down with a full air supply to clean them out.

One more tip, use a door! As mentioned, if there is one already there, then great, if not, why not craft one and take it with you. A door won’t waterlog, meaning you can create a little space in which you can breathe and refill your air supply.

Minecraft Shipwreck door
Catch your breath in an underwater doorway

That’s it for Minecraft Shipwrecks. We hope this guide will help you get off to a good start in your survival world – and good luck finding those Diamonds! While you’re getting to know Minecraft’s useful structures, why not check out our guides on Minecraft’s newest structure – the Ancient City.

More Minecraft structures

And head over to our Minecraft hub for even more news, guides and how-tos!

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