I've invented "sailing", and I have built a work boat. I can sail it out where there are resources (food and coins, for example), but there is nothing I can do.

I thought there should be some options similar to what Workers have. For instance, workers have options to build improvements like farms. When I select a work boat there is no option to build a similar improvement.

How do I use work boats effectively?

2 Answers 2


Work boats can only create improvements on tiles with special ocean resources. The water tile must contain clams, fish, crabs, whales, or oil. Furthermore, the tile must be in your territory.

Additionally, in the case of oil, you'll need Plastics to construct an Offshore Platform, and in the case of Whales you'll need to have Optics to construct Whaling Boats.

Unlike workers, work boats are consumed when they build their tile improvement. So if you have 2 fish tiles in your city's radius, you'll need 2 work boats to get the bonuses from both tiles.

enter image description here

In this screenshot, you can see 2 "fish" resources are in the radius of my city. I have a work boat on the lower fish resource tile. When a work boat is on a resource tile, you'll have a special command available to construct the resource improvement, which I've circled.

There are little "fish" icons pointing to these tiles, if you don't have these you can press Ctrl+R to make them show up, I believe. The tiles have blue circles because I think I have some sort of "recommend worker actions" option turned on in the preferences.

The work boat will not be able to do anything on any of the other water tiles in the city's radius - only the two fish tiles are able to be improved by the work boat.

  • It explains me nothing. This is what you wrote is all I know. There is the tile in my teritory. I put a workboat to tile and nothing happen. Tell me exactly what I have to do, if you could, plaese. :)
    – kspacja
    Jan 24, 2012 at 22:46
  • @kspacja I think you're missing the point. Work boats can only improve specific squares (not just any square with food and coins). Maybe it would help if you posted a screenshot of the area you are trying to improve?
    – bwarner
    Jan 24, 2012 at 22:53
  • 1
    @kspacja Screenshot added.
    – agent86
    Jan 25, 2012 at 0:23
  • Alternately, you can just click on the "autoimprove" button and it'll go find the nearest resource tile it can do something with all on its own.
    – Shadur
    Jan 25, 2012 at 7:21
  • @Shadur Yes, that's what I generally do, and SaintWacko pointed this out as well. Just wanted to make it clear what you were going to be able to do with the work boat, since I think the core of the question is a misunderstanding of how/when they work.
    – agent86
    Jan 25, 2012 at 17:09

The easiest way to use workboats is to set them to automatic. This will cause them to seek out any usable tiles and build the proper improvement. I usually just have a fleet of automatic workboats roaming around for whenever I enfold a resource tile.

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