Ships are introduced in Catan: Seafarers and function similar to roads but may only be built on the sides of a sea hex. Vital for expansion as the only means to reach distant islands and are built with and . Each player has a supply of 15 ships.
In the Mayfair edition of Seafarers, ships have a base shaped like a flattened semicircle, as well as a semicircular sail.
Catan: Explorers & Pirates introduces a different type of ship being referred to as a cargo ship to distinguish them from the originals. They differ from Seafarer ships by being movable and the ability to carry cargo.