What is the RUST Tugboat and what is it used for?
The RUST Tugboat is the largest player-controlled aquatic vehicle in the game. It was introduced in the Deep Sea Update and is the first of any vehicle to allow players to build and deploy objects on and inside of it. These boats can be used as floating, securable, and movable bases, enabling players to take to the seas and perform various operations, from crafting, storing, and hauling loot to raiding and more.
While it cannot be weaponized with electronic turrets, small and large teams will find using the Tugboat as a temporary storage facility and a significant personnel transport system. Early player reviews also give it bonus points due to built-in lighting and being considerably more challenging to destroy than similar aquatic vehicles, like the submarines.
How to get a Tugboat in RUST
You can get a Tugboat in RUST by going to the Small and Large Harbor monuments, where they spawn alongside the piers. Both monuments have two individual spawn points, where the boats will appear, if they haven’t been taken already by other players. Use the overhead images above to see their exact spawn locations for each monument.
At the time of writing, there is no server convar for controlling the total number of available Tugboats on a server. The number of Harbor monuments on a given map will determine the total number of available on a RUST server. The Tugboats will respawn within 30 minutes of being destroyed.
Note: A known bug also causes additional boats to respawn at the Harbor monuments when a server is restarted. How does this happen? Assume a map has two Harbor monuments with a total of four Tugboat spawn points, and those tugs were sailed and secured away somewhere else. Then the RUST server crashes and is forced to restart. Four NEW tugs will spawn at the Harbor monuments, regardless of how many are active on the server. This has confused many RUST players regarding how many should be available.
When venturing out to find a Tugboat in RUST, be sure to bring Low Grade Fuel with you, as it is necessary to operate it. Unlike other boats in RUST, they cannot be purchased from the Fishing Village monument vendors. They must be found at spawn points or acquired from other players who already possess them.
It’s important to note that inside each Harbor monument are also the old and dormant tugs, which are non-operational. You can identify them by the sealed white doors on the wheelhouse and quarter’s entry points.
Tugboat authorization system
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, the idea of being able to deploy things on a vessel brings to mind worries that griefing and unauthorized players might be able to infiltrate with little to no problem and steal all of a group’s goodies.
Fear not! The development team has you covered.
Similar to on-land bases, there are three default door slots on which players may place either variety of single doors, adding locks as well.
Before any of that can happen, however, there is a unique authorization system in place. Players must first go to the wheelhouse, access the captain’s controls, mount the boat, and hold the E keyto authorize the ship. After this is done, a standard auth/de-auth menu wheel will become accessible. Once a player has authed and is mounted on the Tugboat controls, they can press the F key to turn the forward light on and off.
Consistent with on-land base mechanics, no player may place or deploy any entity onboard the Tugboat until authorization is established and may not put anything down if an enemy were to clear that authorization after the fact.
Tugboat deployable items list
As mentioned, there was considerable excitement within the RUST community, especially during the Aux02 Staging Branch portion of the testing. Unfortunately, many cool, early concepts were squashed right before launch.
Below is a comprehensive list of all entities players can deploy and use when building on the Tugboat, some by default and some by placing them on top of other entities as described. Remember that future patches and updates could potentially result in this list drastically altering and electrical being reinstated to the mechanics.
Items that can be placed on the Tugboat in RUST include:
- Armored Door
- Code Lock
- Concrete Barricade
- Door Closer
- Factory Door
- Key Lock
- Sandbag Barricade
- Sheet Metal Door
- Wooden Door
- Wooden Ladder
- Camp Fire
- Chippy Arcade Game
- Christmas Door Wreath
- Christmas Lights
- Dragon Door Knocker
- Easter Door Wreath
- Festive Doorway Garland
- Hobo Barrel
- Ice Throne
- Landscape Photo Frame
- Landscape Picture Frame
- Large Wood Box
- Mixing Table
- Pookie Bear
- Portrait Photo Frame
- Portrait Picture Frame
- Repair Bench
- Research Table
- Rug Bear Skin
- Salvaged Shelves (and items only deployable on them)
- Secret Lab Chair
- Skull Door Knocker
- Skull Fire Pit
- Sleeping Bag
- Small Stocking
- Small Wooden Sign
- Spinning Wheel
- SUPER Stocking
- Tuna Can Lamp
- Twitch Rivals Trophy
- Two Sided Hanging Sign (Door frame only)
- Two Sided Ornate Hanging Sign (Door frame only)
- Water Purifier
- Wood Storage Box
- Workbench Level 1
- Workbench Level 2
- Workbench Level 3
- Shotgun Trap (On Salvaged Shelves and door frame, probably not intended)
- Cursed Cauldron (On Salvaged Shelves only)
- Fogger 3000 (On Salvaged Shelves only)
- Giant Lollipop Decor (On Salvaged Shelves only)
- Gravestone (On Rugs only)
- Large Candle Set (On Salvaged Shelves, Tables & Rugs only)
- All Rustige Eggs (On Salvaged Shelves, Tables & Rugs only)
- Small Candle Set (On Salvaged Shelves, Tables & Rugs only)
- Spooky Speaker (On Salvaged Shelves only)
- Strobe Light (On Salvaged Shelves only)
- Wooden Cross (On Salvaged Shelves, Tables & Rugs only)
- Just about every within-size electrical component may be deployed either on the occupied door frame, Rug, or on a Salvaged Shelf. Unfortunately, all electrical, industrial, and water porting functions are disabled while on the Tugboat, making them virtually useless.
- ALL Fireworks
- Beach Chair
- Beach Parasol
- Beach Table
- Beach Towel
- Boom Box (On Salvaged Shelves, Tables & Rugs only)
- Connected Speaker (On Occupied Doorframe only)
- Junkyard Drum Kit
- Laser Light (On Occupied Doorframe only)
- Skull Trophy
- Sound Light (On Occupied Doorframe only)
- Wheelbarrow Piano
Regarding where you may deploy these entities, size is probably the biggest limiting factor. Quite a few areas are 100% no-place zones, such as on stairwells and just outside the wheelhouse. There are also considerable limitations along the boat’s railing, smoke stack, and communications relay.
The port and starboard bow and the port and starboard quarters are extremely particular about deployables, but things like Lanterns might be placeable. Again, it comes back to the size of the deployable.
Towards the stern of the boat, the quarterdeck is probably the most manageable exterior area to deploy things like chairs or lights. It is the most spacious external, semi-flat area from which players will more than likely engage in combat.
While defensive deployable partitions are minimal, both the concrete and sandbag barricades are options here and may be deployed in advance for on-deck protection.
Along either side of the boat are structural half-floor height boundaries, acting both as handrails and bullet absorbers in the event of a fight. This area is highly limited concerning entity deployment.
The bow, or front of the boat, is about half the size of the stern but can facilitate several deployables for those really trying. It is worth mentioning that a Salvaged Shelf may be placed partially inside the front-most staircase and might further extend the type of deployables available to you.
Heading up those same stairs, we are once again highly restricted in movement and deployment due to the narrow decking that wraps around the wheelhouse. While deployables aren’t allowed within this room itself, player-owned doors may be added to both sides for a more secure voyage experience.
Moving on, we come to the sole smokestack area, eager to accept even more boxes or whatever else you might wish to deploy on its deck, a ladder leading up to an empty rope deck, before reaching the final ladder to the top deck with the non-functional radar beacon.
All of these decks will facilitate small to medium deployables and may act as perches in the event of a pirate attack.
Tugboat repair and durability
Let’s be honest for a second; you wouldn’t board a plane in the real world without knowing that there was some type of regulatory system in place to ensure its maintenance and durability. Why would you get on a ship in a game without the same assurances?
To help ease some of those worries, we have compiled a quick reference chart to demonstrate just how much it would take to sink your new favorite recreational vehicle.
Tugboat Damage Chart
All damage calculations in the damage chart below were done based on this number. While fire-based ballistics are included, their damage is impact-based only, as the Tugboat is immune to fire.
|Damage Per Round
|Total Rounds Required
|5.56 Rifle Ammo
|Explosive 5.56 Rifle Ammo
|40MM HE Grenade
|Timed Explosive Charge
Tugboat decay system
By default, RUST Tugboats will decay 36 hours after spawning into the game. This decay timer will reset if the boat is interacted with by any player, in which its decay timer is delayed for an additional 24 hours from the point in time of interaction.
They will decay fastest when they are outside and not in the confines of a player-made base. When docked and covered in a player-made base, their decay speed will significantly reduce. Conversely, when a Tugboat fully decays or is destroyed, it will sink to the ocean floor and leave a “corpse” behind for 2 hours.
|How long before a tugboat loses all its health while outside
|How long until decay begins after the tugboat was last used
How to add an airlock to a Tugboat
Whether your base is on land or afloat in the sea, having an airlock is a necessity. With a Tier 1 Workbench, a Locker, a Door, and two locks, you can quickly set up an airlock to strengthen your Tugboat base.
Frequently asked questions
No. Once sunk, they cannot be repaired.
You cannot build in the traditional sense, but you can use a limited set of deployables.
No, turrets cannot be used in the vanilla game. 3rd party mods can be used to add this functionality.
Yes, technically, you can land a Minicopter. Note, however, that it’s very buggy, depending on your placement.
It takes 12 Torpedos to sink a full-health Tugboat in RUST.
Final thoughts on the RUST Tugboat
With the Tugboat being a new system using older features, it is only a matter of time before new exploits are discovered and bugs are patched.
We truly hope that you found some of this information educational, if not potentially broken or exploitable, and we encourage everyone to come up with the most innovative loadouts they can and then share them with us directly on our Discord. We will do our best to update the listed mechanics as the developer changes things.