Raft: Tips to Survive the Open Seas

Raft is the definition of a true sleeper hit. Since its early-access release in 2018, the open-sea survival video game has earned a dedicated fanbase that eagerly awaits each update. Recently, however, the title has surged in popularity after becoming a streamers’ darling. There’s just something appealing about the fantasy of being adrift at sea and not just surviving, but thriving.

For now, Raft is only available on Steam, so make sure to buy Steam Wallet Code if you’re looking to join in on the hype.

Raft tips

With increased attention comes new players wanting to take the 4×4 raft for a spin. The game can be both punishing and infuriating if you don’t know what you’re doing. Thankfully, we are here to give you a hand, with a guide filled with helpful tips to help you survive, build and explore this beautiful world.

Let’s begin with the meatiest (heh!) section of our Raft guide.

Swimming with Sharks

Raft shark

The nemesis. The bane of you and your raft’s existence. The shark — strangely christened Bruce — is the perennial threat in the waters, but it’s neither invincible nor tough to avoid.

It is, though, a constant nuisance. It will frequently attack the raft, latching onto one of the edge foundations and destroying them. This brings us to two early lessons. Firstly, place all of the items as close to the middle of the raft as possible because a destroyed foundation means losing anything placed on it. Secondly, stock up on spears. If you’re quick enough, you can defend the raft by rushing in and attacking the shark busy chewing up the foundation piece. Three hits from the wooden spear will deter the shark and you can quickly repair the foundation with the hammer.

But you can’t stay on the raft forever. And once you enter the waters in search of resources, Bruce becomes an absolute threat. The crafting menu has an answer in the form of Shark Bait. Once dropped, the bait will distract the shark, allowing you to explore underwater for some time. If playing in multiplayer, your friends can substitute for the shark bait, leading the shark away while you gather resources to survive.

Killing the shark isn’t a priority, since it respawns after a few minutes. But if you want to kill the shark to utilize that downtime, or if you’re simply feeling adventurous, drop the bait next to the raft and you can attack the shark without having to enter the water. If all the foundations are armored, you can add a normal foundation to bait the shark and stab it. If you’re particularly confident with your spear skills, you can go hunting! Dive underwater, time the attack to interrupt the shark’s lunge, and you won’t take any damage while effectively hurting Bruce.

I’m Captain Hook

Raft hook

As iconic as the shark is, the hook is the real hero of Raft. The tool — used to gather the debris and rubbish floating past you — is the key to survival, especially in the early game.

Appearing in your hand as soon as you start the game, you can throw the hook into the ocean to catch pieces of plastic, leaves, wood, and barrels around you. Left-click to throw it, hold it to reel it back in and right-click to cancel a throw to avoid wasting time.

There are two techniques to mastering the hook. You can either aim, anticipate and land your hook right on top of the object, or wait and reel items in your path. It is extremely satisfying and immensely useful in the first couple of hours. And you’d do well to keep backups in your inventory.

Never on an Empty Stomach

Scavenging primary resources is fine, but what should they be used to craft? Remember, Raft can quickly get overwhelming since you’d be juggling tons of crucial activities, especially if you’re playing solo. And in that busyness, it could be easy to lose sight of your hunger and thirst bars. Starving or being dehydrated is a death sentence in Raft. So always prioritize crafting items that take care of those needs.

Use your first bits of plastic, palm leaves, and planks to craft a simple purifier and some more plastic to make a cup. Now you can take the salty seawater and purify it to drink. Next comes a simple grill, which requires scrap and ropes. If you have any potatoes or beets from the barrels, grilling them before eating is better for your hunger. The fishing rod comes next, and now you can catch fish and keep ’em cooking. Remember, there’s no adventuring on an empty stomach. Make it a habit to keep your purifier and grills going, if planks aren’t in short supply.

We’re All in This to Gather

Out of the early game, your focus should remain on gathering.

You’ll often come across abandoned rafts drifting away. Swimming and climbing to the top of them can fetch you valuable materials (like glass, hinges, bolts, etc). Be quick though, since it begins sinking once you set foot on it.

Materials, along with bountiful fruits, seeds, and wood, can also be found on the numerous islands you’ll run into. While you’d be tempted to dash to each one, not all of them are super well-stocked. And constantly crafting the use-and-throw, the makeshift anchor, would put you in the red as far as resource stocks go.

Docking on islands also gives you access to the best materials underwater. If you’re competent around the shark and are quick, you can collect crucial resources such as scrap, clay, sand, and seaweed. These resources will advance your progress splendidly. Just remember to research everything to unlock them as craftable items.

Travel Plans

It won’t be long before you’d settle into a comfortable groove – most items unlocked, food aplenty, and a raft large enough to house your crafts. The question then arises: where do we go?

While the waves and the current dictate your journey for quite some time, the player would need to take control of their destiny and work towards the story areas and landmarks to advance the plot. Your first accessory should be the streamer — a little flag that indicates the direction of the current. Couple that with a sail and your raft will go much faster.

For the long haul, you need to work on a receiver and three antennas. Once the blueprints are found (in barrels or boxes on rafts or islands) get hold of some planks, plastic, circuit boards, hinges, bolts, and scraps and put together a working radio system. After that, it’s all about punching in the correct coordinates and sailing to the story locations. Saying any more would spoil the experience.


More than a game, Raft is an experience – sometimes zen, often violent. A lot of the fun and sense of accomplishment comes from solving mysteries and figuring things out on your own.

So while there’s a myriad of lessons that can be taught in shorthand — for example, expanding the raft is important but making it too big can be detrimental to your speed — we believe those learnings are for you to discover.

In short, consider this guide as one long tip — the tip of the massive iceberg, that is Raft.

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Sarah Paul

Sarah is a Junior Content Outreach Writer at OffGamers and a contributor here at Geek Cosmos.