RUST Rowboat Guide

What are Rowboats, and what are they used for?

The RUST Rowboat is a motorized vehicle that can support four players, operates on Low Grade Fuel, and provides a small amount of storage. These boats are a highly affordable and efficient method for traveling the various waterways in the game.

They were introduced into RUST in April 2018 as part of the Vehicle Update. Simultaneously, Water Junkpiles were added with the new transportation mode, affording players a viable alternative to farming the roads for Scrap.

Rowboats are a primary transportation method in RUST’s waterways due to their accessibility. They are the most basic, cost-effective, and fuel-efficient model for getting from point A to point B without the fuss that comes with larger boats or submersibles.

How to Acquire a Rowboat in RUST

The Boat Vendor Shop on the Fishing Village Monument
Fishing Village Boat Vendor Shop in RUST

The RUST Rowboat can be purchased for 125 Scrap at the Boat Vendor inside the Small or Large Fishing Village monuments. When purchased, it will have 50 Low Grade Fuel upon spawning in, so if you have a long distance to get back to base or are looking to board the Cargoship, be sure to bring extra fuel.

It can hold four players: a skipper’s position in charge of directionality and fuel storage, two center passengers, and the bow passenger at the nose of the ship, with a small onboard stash beneath him. 

While sitting on the boat, the passengers will have full control over their hotbar functions, including swinging melee weapons, eating food, using medicine, or shooting. The skipper will be limited to maneuvering and accessing the onboard fuel storage while the vehicle is in motion.

Although Rowboats use Low Grade Fuel to operate, players can push the vehicle when it is beached, floating, or stuck. Be warned, when pushing vehicles, you will quickly exhaust a considerable amount of calories. Bring extra food if you plan on pushing it for whatever reason.

Rowboats also naturally spawn on any sandy beach area on the edges of all Temperate or Desert biomes. They do not spawn on Arctic coasts. Server admins may adjust spawn rates for this vehicle type with commands that will follow later in this guide.

Alternatively, you can acquire one of these boats by “borrowing” one from any water-front property that might have neglected to put it behind a door, as they have no locking feature, so carefully store and guard your new acquisition.

Anatomy of a Rowboat

Like any other vehicle type, there are specific names for the individual pieces that make up a whole vehicle. While some of these aren’t pertinent to the game or operation of the Rowboat, they might be referenced at some point in this guide.

  • Bow – the front-most portion of the boat
  • Center Thwart – middle double-seat area of the boat
  • Fuel Tank – deposit slot for fuel storage
  • Port – left side of the boat
  • Starboard – right side of the boat
  • Stash – onboard bag located at the front of the boat
  • Stern – rear seat area closest to the motor, used by the skipper to pilot the vehicle from
  • Tail Motor – hand motor used to simulate real-world stabilizing and directional mechanism

Rowboat Screenshots

Rowboat Fuel System

The RUST Rowboat can hold up to 500 Low Grade Fuel on a standard Vanilla server. It will consume 1 Low Grade Fuel every 10 seconds, allowing you to stay at a constant full speed in the water for a little over 83 minutes on a full tank. Contrary to popular belief, it does not use fuel when the engine is on but not moving.

It can be refueled both while stationary and while moving. Be careful; other players can open the fuel tank and steal its contents if an active skipper isn’t seated. They can also hop into the front passenger’s seat if it’s empty and loot the onboard storage, so be mindful of those around you both above and below water.


  1. Have the appropriate Low Grade Fuel in your inventory.
  2. Position yourself at the back of the boat, looking at the Tail Motor.
  3. Look for a white engine fuel with no discernable markings.
  4. Press E on the fuel tank to open the Fuel Storage screen.
  5. Insert the Low Grade Fuel into the Fuel Storage slot.
  6. You’ve now refueled the Rowboat.

Rowboat Controls

The Rowboat is probably the earliest interaction most players will have with a functioning vehicle. Their free spawns, ease of use, and absolute essentialness for reaching things like the Cargoship and Oil Rig monuments cement their place in the RUST history book as a must-have. That said, there might still be a few buttons the average passenger doesn’t know about.

Skipper Controls:

  • In the Skippers seat, look at the fueled engine and press E to Start Engine
  • Hold W to accelerate forward
  • Hold A to bear left
  • Hold S to bear right
  • Hold D to go in reverse
  • In the Skippers seat, look at the fueled engine and press E to Stop Engine

All Seats

  • Hold Left Alt + Mouse to look around
  • SPACEBAR to leave the vehicle
  • X to swap seats

Rowboat Repair, Decay & Durability


The Rowboat can be repaired using a Hammer and having Wood and Metal Fragments in your inventory. Each repair swing will repair up to 54 damage. Any passenger can repair the boat while moving. If it was damaged at any point, it can be repaired 30 seconds after it last took damage.

Decay Rates

The Rowboat spawns with a total of 400 health and decays at various rates depending on its situation.

  • If left outside, they will slowly decay over 180 minutes, with a 45-minute delay from when they are purchased or spawned before this 180-minute window begins. 
  • If left in deep water, full decay will occur after 120 minutes.
  • If sheltered (roof overhead), they will last indefinitely or until the base is raided and the roof is long since destroyed.

Housing a Rowboat is quite practical, being a common retrofit for most shoreside base designs or as its own entity further from the main.

Durability Damage Chart

The RUST Rowboat has 400 Hit Points; all calculations were based on this number. While fire-based ballistics are included, their damage is impact-based only, as this vehicle is immune to fire damage over time. All calculations used an LR-300 Assault Rifle, MP5A4, and Pump Shotgun for the assorted ammo types at point-blank range, where applicable.

Ammunition / ToolDamage Done PerTotal Req. to Destroy
5.56 Rifle Ammo4100
Incendiary 5.56 Rifle Ammo6.463
Explosive 5.56 Rifle Ammo945
Pistol Ammo3.7109
Incendiary Pistol Ammo667
12 Gauge Buckshot20.720
12 Gauge Slug7.256
Handmade Shell16.225
HV Rocket400+1
40MM HE Grenade62.57
Satchel Charge400+1
Timed Explosive Charge400+1

Storage Considerations

Depending on the servers you play on, Rowboats can be incredibly easy to acquire or maybe fought over, much like airdrops. Whatever scenario you find yourself in, these boats are considered assets. Their simplicity and ease of use make them one of the best transportation methods in the game. Much like the RHIB, they do not boast an overwhelming cost but are still worthy of keeping safeguarded.

Storing these boats is essential because it allows you to:

  1. Protection From Theft — With no locking mechanism available, storing your Rowboat in an adequately designed garage will decrease the chance of theft.
  2. Security — Leaving your water vehicles in the elements has numerous risks, such as drift, decay, and theft, but when players can see the vehicle, they can destroy it.
  3. Preservation of Resources — The Rowboat may or may not have a Scrap cost associated, but it can also hold additional loot and fuel, and losing this unexpectedly could be costly.
  4. Extend its Lifespan and Avoid Decay — Like all other vehicles, it can decay unless properly stored away. Extending its lifespan will increase your investment value over time.
  5. Quick Access —Having your Rowboat stored in a reliable, accessible location allows you access when needed, making your next raid, exploration, or Cargoship intercept possible.
  6. Strategic Advantage — Having this vehicle stored away safely gives you a strategic advantage to use this vehicle to surprise your enemies during a raid or allow you to evade them all together with your most precious loot in tow.

Ultimately, it boils down to the difference between the haves and have-nots and the opportunities it may afford you. We’ve assembled a universal boat base design for you to use that works well as an aquatic garage to access and safely protect your RHIB, Rowboat, and Solo and Duo Submarine.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens to the fuel when a Rowboat is destroyed?

All fuel in the fuel tank is lost when the boat is destroyed. This is true, both of impact destruction and simple decay.

What happens to loot in the stash when the Rowboat is destroyed?

All loot stored in the stash will appear as a lootable floating box when the boat is destroyed.

Does a destroyed Rowboat leave behind harvestable components?

No, it just turns dark brown and then sinks through the world.

What happens if Cargo hits my Rowboat?

While the Cargoship will not directly destroy it, it can get caught in the immediate wake and/or gravity. Players onboard can be damaged and even immediately killed as a result. Approach cautiously.

Rowboat Admin Commands & Convars

ConvarDefault ValurDescription
motorrowboat.decaystartdelayminutes45How long until decay begins after the boat was last used
motorrowboat.deepwaterdecayminutes120How long before a boat loses all its health while in deep water
motorrowboat.outsidedecayminutes180How long before a boat loses all its health while outside. If it’s in deep water, deepwaterdecayminutes is used
motorrowboat.population1How many Rowboats per KM spawn on map
spawn rowboatAdmin command to spawn a Rowboat

Final Thoughts

As players further push the envelope of game progression methods, game mechanic exploitations, and game admin patience, you can be sure that Corrosion Hour will be right here detailing all of the tools that they are sure to use for these ends. Be sure to check out our Discord for all of our most recent updates. Be good to each other, always.

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About No Limit Llama

An aspiring woodworker and web designer. Father, husband, and Rust veteran. Llama has written op-eds and official game documents for over two decades. The earliest writings were on Asheron’s Call, followed by World of Warcraft and eventually Rust. The vast majority of his indoor time is spent running Rust servers or helping friends with their Rust-related projects. He enjoys working around the house, continuing his education when time permits, and creating new processes to simplify activities of daily living for his friends and family. He has an incredible wife, a dog, three children, and one granddaughter.

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