Getting Started In Raft

When you start a new game of Raft, you will find yourself on a 2×2 wooden raft with nothing but a Plastic Hook in your inventory. As your raft drifts across the infinite ocean, debris floats by which you must collect and use to craft tools and supplies. But before you can even begin to think about thriving, you must first figure out how to survive.

Energy Bars

In Raft, there are three energy bars you need to concern yourself with: thirst, hunger, and health.Once one of these bars gets low, the screen will darken, your character will choke, and eventually, you will die. Each bar starts out completely filled, but the bars for thirst and hunger deplete continuously over time.

Raft Inventory

Inventory Screen

You can hold up to 25 items in your inventory at one time, which you are unlikely to max out in the early game.The first 10 items in your inventory are displayed in the boxes along the bottom of the screen.The other 15 items are displayed on your inventory screen, accessed by pressing ‘I’. You can swap items between your stored inventory and inventory bar by clicking and dragging with LMB.

Equipping Items

To use an item, you will first have to equip it. This is the case for tools as well and consumable items. To equip an item, first make sure it is in one of the ten slots on your inventory bar. Then, press the corresponding number on the number row (1-0). When an item is selected, it will be highlighted on the inventory bar.

When you start a new game, the only item in your inventory will be a Plastic Hook, which is automatically equipped.

Raft Hook

The hook is the most important tool and proficiency with it will determine how quickly you can progress through the game.

Hook mid-cast

Using the Hook

With the hook equipped, press and hold LMB and a circle will fill around your cursor, indicating power. Releasing LMB casts the hook out to sea. Reel the hook back by pressing LMB. Any debris that touches the tip of the hook will be collected and automatically added to your inventory once you’ve pulled in the hook completely.

Your hook will break after a certain amount of use, so pay attention the durability bar (which appears beneath the object on the inventory bar). Once you notice the durability of your hook getting low, prioritize crafting a backup. Hooks don’t require a lot of materials (1 Plank and 2 Plastic) but gathering these materials after your hook has already broken can be a pain.


  • Generally, you want to throw ahead and beyond the item you are trying to grab. Try to anticipate where the debris will be and let it float into your hook. This gives you more leeway on timing than if you try to land the hook directly.
  • There is no limit to the number of items your hook can grab in one cast. The hook only reels in while you hold LMB. Try to time reeling in your hook so that you can grab multiple items in one cast.
  • You can collect debris without a hook by approaching floating items and pressing the ‘E’ key. This requires the debris float near your raft and is an inefficient method of gathering materials. You will have to utilize this method, however, if your hook breaks and you haven’t crafted a backup.


Hooked Barrel


  • There are a couple of types of floating debris you will encounter: palm leaves, plastic, planks, and barrels. All are useful to you, but by far the most valuable are barrels, which always contain multiple items. Barrels almost always contain planks, palm leaves, and/or plastic, but they also contain key items that you won’t find floating past your ship. These are stones, blueprints, vegetables, and scrap. Stones and blueprints won’t be useful until later in the game, but scrap is essential for building a Simple Grill, which you will want to construct early in your game.
  • If you see a barrel within reach, it’s often worthwhile to stop whatever else you are doing in order to nab it.
  • You will not be able to switch to other items in your inventory while your hook is cast. Make sure you reel it all the way back in before you try to switch to another item. This is usually an issue when the shark attacks, and you scramble to pull out your spear.
  • As you progress further in the game, the hook can be upgraded. An upgraded hook is more durable and can be cast farther.

Raft Crafting

Crafting Screen (tools)

Crafting items is simple. Press ‘I’ to open the inventory screen. There are seven different crafting categories: Food/Water, Other, Tools, Equipment, Resources, Navigation, and Decorations. At the beginning of the game, the Food/Water, Tools, and Resources tabs are the ones you will use most. Select the item you want to craft and it will display the required resources. If you have the necessary materials, press the craft button and the item will instantly appear in your inventory.

Expanding the Raft

Building New Section

To expand your raft, you will first need to construct a Building Hammer (4 Plank and 2 Rope). With the building hammer equipped, point the cursor over the side your raft and press LMB to construct a new raft segment (which requires 2 Plank and 2 Plastic). Note that Rope is sometimes found in barrels, but you can also construct it yourself using 2 Palm Leaf.

Expanded hammer menu

With the hammer equipped, you can also hold down RMB to bring up a menu for other types of construction. From this screen, you can build wooden railings, special fortified raft pieces, stairs, walls, etc. Starting out, however, the most useful functions will the construct foundation and repair options.

You’ll want to focus on having a ready supply of food and water before you start any elaborate construction on your raft, but it’s a pretty good idea to at least expand to a 3×3 or 4×4 early on so you have room for your grill and purifier.

Defending the Raft From The Shark

Shark biting raft

One thing you will notice right is the perpetually circling shark. Even if you manage to kill this shark, another will show up to take its place. Occasionally, when the shark is feeling particularly aggressive, she will bite onto the edge of your raft. Even if your back is turned, you will notice because of the chomping sound this generates. You can do nothing, but eventually the shark will chew through the raft, breaking whatever square is between its teeth.

To defend your raft, you will need to craft a Wooden Spear (8 Plank and 3 Rope). As rebuilding your raft can become costly, and the shark is the most immediate threat you will face, a spear should be the first thing you build. With the wooden spear equipped, press LMB to poke the shark in the face. After four thrusts the shark will let go. If you stab the shark enough times, it will die, bequeathing its tasty meat (which restores a nice chunk of hunger).


Damaged raft

Even if you successfully fend off the shark, it will certainly have damaged the portion of raft it attacked. You can repair this damage by using the repair function of the Building Hammer. With the Building Hammer equipped, hold down RMB and select repair (it is the bottommost option). With repair mode activated, you can look at damaged squares of raft and the remaining health will appear as a percentage. Pressing LMB will initiate a repair. You can repair 50% of a square’s health for 1 Plank. Thus, to fully repair a raft segment can cost up to 2 Plank, which is obviously better than the cost of 2 Plank and 2 Plastic required to build an entirely new segment. Make sure you keep up on your repairs after each shark attack.


  • The shark only attacks the edges of your raft, so if you build around a damaged square, there is no tactical reason to spend resources repairing it (other than if you think it looks better; damaged sections of raft have a different appearance).
  • Place important items, such as your grill, purifier, sail, or planter at the center of your raft. This way, these items won’t be in danger of being lost to an attack.

Raft Thirst


Thirst is the topmost bar (of the three on the bottom left of the screen), indicated by the drop of water. It is the fastest bar to deplete and your first concern after building a spear. To get something to drink, first you’ll need to craft an Empty Cup (4 Plastic). You can’t drink sea water though, it’s much too salty. Attempting to do so will deplete your thirst bar even further. You’ll need to craft a Simple Purifier (6 Plank, 6 Palm Leaf, and 4 Plastic). Once you’ve constructed and placed a purifier on your raft, fill your empty cup with salt water (select it in your inventory, then press ‘E’ while looking into the water), then put the salt water in the purifier (approach the purifier with your cup of salt water and press ‘E’). This operation will require fire, so you must also place a plank on your purifier (approach the purifier and press ‘E’ while there is at least 1 plank in your inventory). Purifying water will consume planks, so make sure you are stocked up.


  • As thirst depletes faster than hunger, worry about constructing a purifier before a grill.
  • It takes some time for your purifier to turn clean water into salt water. Once your purifier is up and running, try to always have a fresh cup of water prepared for when you need it. Don’t wait until your already dehydrated to start a cup.

Raft Hunger

Grill cooking beet

Hunger is the middle bar, indicated by the chicken drumstick. Early in the game there are two means of satisfying your hunger: fish and vegetables. Vegetables (Potatoes and Beets) sometimes show up in barrels. Fish you can catch off the side of your raft. Both of these things can be eaten raw but will restore more hunger if cooked first.

Cooking your food is more efficient and well worth it. After you construct a purifier, building a Simple Grill (8 Plank, 1 Scrap, and 3 Rope) should be your next goal. Like the Simple Purifier, the Simple Grill consumes planks as fuel. To cook something, equip it from your inventory and press ‘E’ while standing in front of the grill. The item will cook automatically and can be retrieved once fully cooked. Equip food and press LMB to eat.

Raft Fishing

Hooked fish

Fish are the best way to sate your hunger early in the game. You can construct a Fishing Rod from 6 Plank and 8 Rope. With the fishing rod equipped, hold LMB to cast, then wait for a bite. Your avatar will pull on the rod once there is a bite. When you see this, press LMB to reel in your catch. There are a variety of kinds of fish you can catch. Most commonly, you will catch Tilapia, Pomfret, Herring, and Catfish. Be aware the Catfish are too big to be cooked on the simple grill, so if you catch one of these, save it for later or it eat raw. Fish restore more hunger than vegetables.


Vegetables can be grown or found in barrels. There aren’t vegetables in every barrel, so if you are in need of food in a hurry, fishing is the better option. Vegetables can also be used to start a garden, but because of the space and extra attention a planter requires it’s best to focus on other things first and stick to catching fish (at least at first, when you are just starting out).

Raft Health

Health is the bottommost bar, indicated by the cross. Unlike thirst and hunger, this bar does not deplete automatically over time. This bar depletes when you are injured, which will occur if you fall off the raft and are bitten by the shark. Health can be restored by sleeping in a Bed, or simply waiting (it slowly regenerates over time). Early in the game you don’t much have to worry about your health. Just make sure that if you fall in the water, you hop back on your raft quickly (you can jump from the water by pressing SPACEBAR).

What Next?

Once you’ve established your basic means of survival, you may be wondering what do to next. This guide only covers getting on your feet. There is still much more to do and see. You can build an impressive raft with multiple floors, find and explore an island, go diving, and research better items to craft. The open sea awaits


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