I have a caravel and a scout and I am trying to get the scout on the caravel so he can explore a land mass across the ocean. I can't seem to figure out how to get him in the ship. Is this not possible in Civ 5 since the scout can ride in his own boat? Do I have to wait for a better ship than a caravel like a frigate?

2 Answers 2


Your scout can just move into the water and sail all by himself. It's called embarkation.

The ability to embark a unit into shallow water is unlocked by the optics technology. The Astronomy technology expands this ability by allowing units to also move across ocean tiles, not just shallow water.

Some notes:

  • Embarkation is a promotion. A unit has to have passed through your territory at least once since you have researched the technology in order to gain that promotion.
  • All Polynesian units receive the embarkation promotions for free.
  • Movement speed of land units in water is 2. You get another movement point once you research Astronomy, and another after Steam Power. Adopting the Naval Tradition policy also increases moves by 1. Danish units also receive 1 extra move and England gets 2.
  • Embarking (moving from a land tile to a water tile) and disembarking (the other way around) waste the entire turn, i.e. you only move 1 tile. Danish units are exempt from this penalty when disembarking.
  • Your land units are helpless in water unless they have the embarked defense promotion, so consider escorting them. All Songhai land units get this promotion for free.
  • Embarked units are not considered as water units (for example, the great lighthouse doesn't make them move further).
  • Embarked units cannot pass through friendly cities like ships can - they must embark and disembark to cross them.
  • 3
    1) Playing as Songhai allows embarked units to defend themselves. (I do not know to what strength) 2) You can still attack out of boats, but it incurs a penalty just like in Civ 4. I'm considering researching the details of that for Civ 5. Commented Sep 24, 2010 at 16:54
  • Yeah, nevermind. I would still recommend moving the GL comment to the movement speed bullet, though, because not seeing it there is what prompted my initial misguided comment.
    – Larry Wang
    Commented Sep 25, 2010 at 19:37
  • 1
    Also, England's special power does give +2 movement to embarked land units.
    – Larry Wang
    Commented Sep 28, 2010 at 0:26

You can't put units onto a ship in Civilization 5.

Instead, ALL land units can simply move into the water in order to "embark" and build their own transports.

However, while embarking, land units are completely defenseless and classified as civilian units, so you will want to escort them with the caravel.

Short answer: just move the scout into the water, then keep it near the caravel to keep it protected from any barbarians or enemy civs.

  • Wow. Big change. So can the "embarked" unit travel as fast as the caravel?
    – mpenrow
    Commented Sep 24, 2010 at 16:15
  • No, the Caravel could theoretically move about twice as fast as the embarked unit.
    – bwarner
    Commented Sep 24, 2010 at 16:19
  • Embarked units and naval units cannot share the same hex, according to my testing.
    – Oak
    Commented Sep 25, 2010 at 18:58
  • @Oak I assume this shares the same restriction as on land, where you may have, at most, one military and one non-military unit on a given tile. Somewhat frustrating considering the embarked unit is essentially a floating paperweight.
    – sjohnston
    Commented Sep 27, 2010 at 17:39
  • Whoops, I thought I put them on the same hex. My bad. Edited the answer to remove that line.
    – lilserf
    Commented Sep 28, 2010 at 15:21

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