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Boat Ship

This probably depicts our journey through the seas of life and how we meet the rough and smooth experiences, as with example below. In many dreams boats and ships appear to depict a situation, environment or relationship the dreamer is in – as in the saying, ‘in the same boat’.

Because of the fact that once in the water it is difficult to leave the boat, the situation is often one that has certain bonds or commitments which may not be easy to leave or break away from – such as occurs in a close relationship or a work situation. The condition the boat depicts may relate to a physical one, such as a work opportunity, a place we live in, a relationship that, like any relationship, offers certain opportunities and restrictions – or it might be an attitude a feeling or a belief, such as pride or love, which places you in a certain connection with the world – i.e. ‘at sea’ or lost; in a stormy situation; in dry dock, etc. The boat can also be a place of safety amidst the storms of life. Thus attitudes or strengths enabling the dreamer to meet difficulties.

A boat is the thing that keeps you afloat in a different element than you are used to. As such it depicts the attitudes that enable you to have a clear boundary and certainty of who you are. It is your confidence and the threshold that separates your waking self from the massive and deep unconscious – the ocean of collective awareness. This is clear in the following example.

Example: Opened a paper at the comic strip. Began to read and become involved in the story. A small speed boat was at sea. But the sea dissolved anybody who fell in. One man fell in but held himself together as a blob of water and jumped back to the speedboat. I remember the words “The sea is a great solvent.” Anthony.

This dream pictures Anthony’s identity or ability to be an individual amidst the great ocean of life or consciousness. So the boat probably represents how he sees his body, as a thing separate from the rest of the world.

The various environments boats may be in show the condition or feelings surrounding the basic life situation the boat depicts. For instance being ‘at sea’ – depending upon calmness or rough seas – shows the dreamer being away from a familiar base or in difficult or uncertain times.

Example: I am in a large glass boat with my wife. The sea is very rough and I am afraid the boat will sink.’ Ron D.

The dream occurred a few weeks before a breakdown occurred in which the dreamer’s wife left him.

Example: I was inside a large boat, probably a tanker. There were a lot of passengers, but it appeared as if we were imprisoned in a huge room. It was very dingy and dismal. I am not sure though whether people realised they were prisoners. Maybe one only realised one was imprisoned if one tried to escape. Bob. A.

This boat obviously represents a situation Bob finds it difficult to get out of, and is only just realising he is trapped in. It also shows him involved with other people.

Example: I’m a young woman standing on a sea shore. I am waiting for my man. I hear the oars in the row locks of a boat, then it comes into view. A man comes to me, and puts his arms around me like he’s known me all my life. My man pauses, turns his head to a man still in the boat and says – Tell them this is it. Phillipa.

Here the boat holds the suggestion of being an event bringing Phillipa a love she has been waiting for.

Anchored boat: Security; stable relationship or situation; opposite of drifting.

Beached boat: Possibly suggests a situation in which you are ‘on dry land’ not subject to many changes or uncertainties. But it could also relate to a project, relationship or endeavour that cannot be got underway, or has got stuck in some way. However if you beach the boat and get out, then it shows the end of a journey, project or relationship.

Boat without oars: Ill equipped to deal with the situation you are in. A loss of motivation and being subject to external events to direct your life. So this might point to indecisiveness or lack of initiative.

Bows: One’s strength to meet life’s changes.

Disembarking: Leaving a phase of life, such as motherhood, marriage or a job. Ending a relationship or arriving at a new phase of life, a new possibility or great change.

Dry dock: Necessary changes being made; circumstances not conducive to being actively involved in a project or relationship; delays. There might be a link with ill health here also.

Embarking alone: Independence or loneliness. Entering a new situation and perhaps unknown events or possibilities. Opportunity for new relationships.

Ferry boat: If across a river, end of a relationship; transition from one phase of life to another or one life situation to another; the emotional connections in a relationship. Sometimes links with death or the loss of someone.

Going on a cruise: Desiring relationship with others; or to be a part of other peoples life. Leaving ones everyday life behind.

Boat journey by night: Classic archetype of searching for one’s roots in life; the journey into ones unconscious experience. See: night sea journey under archetypes.

Keel: Basic personal strengths. The foundation of your personality or identity.

Leaving boat but leaving bag on it: Losing confidence or self value, such as might happen when children have gone or job ended.

Lots of small boats: Other peoples relationships.

Missing a boat: Missing opportunity; not grasping significance of events; not ‘making it’ in a relationship.

Motor boat: Similar to car but more sense of isolation or aloneness. The motor boat also shows the powerful feelings and drives which impel us into action, or give us a direction in life, as in the following example. For instance a strong anxiety can be a power, an engine, which motivates us to do or avoid certain things, such a taking risks, entering a relationship. So too can love, dependence, desire for wealth, loneliness, and the struggle to survive.

Example: My wife, H and I were on a large and beautiful motor boat, about thirty feet long. We were speeding along a river about hundred yards wide. I didn’t seem to be steering with a wheel, but there was no problem. Instead of water the river appeared to be a thick slurry of some kind. We were passing through countryside and suddenly H dropped what I felt might be an important envelope overboard. It lay on the top of the river. I wanted to stop and retrieve it. Other boats were coming along some way behind and I wondered if one of them would go over it. There was a lever which was the accelerator. I pushed it right back and the boat slowly reduced speed, but we were a long way from the envelope/package. The further away we got the less important it seemed, although I had wondered if it contained documents important to where we were going – which I felt was to do with some sort of work or teaching an official or business group.

Suddenly H was on the right bank of the river. I am not sure why, but she had left the boat. I wasn’t sure how she could get back on board again as the river was now full of debris and weeds – tree stumps, metal poles, cans, really full – and the banks were shallow and difficult to approach. I found a place where I could pull in, and there were steps in the earthy or limestone type bank that had been worn in with use. I managed to stop the boat – I still couldn’t find controls to guide or stop the craft – by holding on to the bank, and H got on. I was very pleased and felt love and pleasure that she had got on again. I kissed her warmly. We pulled away from the bank, avoiding a big metal post and chain low in the water. I felt if we went slowly we could get through all the debris okay. Roz.

This dream occurred during a period of separation in the marriage and shows how Roz is not really guiding the boat. He is being impelled by drives he doesn’t have full control over. Parting and coming together again are clearly depicted in the dream.

Rowing a boat: Personal skill or effort to achieve a goal. Whether you are succeeding well or not shows how you are assessing your own efforts to reach goals or take a direction in life.

Rudder: Sureness about direction in life; ability to take a direction in life and maintain it against other influences.

Shared journey on boat or ship: A situation we are involved in with other people or person, such as marriage, business partnership, armed forces; this is the relation-ship, a shared journey in which you ‘are all in the same boat’.

Sinking ship/boat: Fear of relationship ending; difficult events or circumstances; could be children leaving mother, so the collective ‘boat journey’ has finished; illness; death.

Small Boat with one other person: One’s relationship with that person.

Idioms: Burn one’s boats; in the same boat; miss the boat; rock the boat; ships that pass; ship comes in; a tight ship; in a boat without a paddle. See: anchor; submarine.

Useful questions:

If I am not alone on this boat, what is the dream saying about my shared journey with the person or people I am with?

What is the situation depicted – storm, calm, etc – and how does that relate to my life?

Am I directing the boat or am I a passenger – and in what way am I alone or going along with somebody in life?



-Amy 2015-01-28 6:51:24

Love your site. I dreamt I was on a ferry with my parents and little sister. My father said that they needed to leave to take our little boat back into shore leaving me alone on this big ferry to master alone. At first I was confident but soon I got frightened realising I’d have to steer the ferry myself back into the harbour to rest at dock.

I took the wheel, the seas became rough as I realised I was surrounded by other boats working their way into shore too. I panic. I don’t want to be gere and want help. But there is no one. I steer the ferry in the wrong direction and head towards shallow waters and into a hill. A police officer in another boat pulls up beside me and says what the hell are you doing. I explain I have no idea how to control the boat. The takes control and guides the ferry into shore where my family await with smiles. How are you? They say, let’s go for breakfast. I breakdown in tears saying I didn’t know what I was doing. Why did you leave me? They dismiss my criesplee and say they are off to do their own thing then since I’m carrying on like a baby.

I’ve been away from home travelling for 2years now but will be rreturning to my homeland at xmas. I left an ex partner of 11years there and I worked with my mum in our own business for 8years. They have since left our homeland too but will be travelling back at xmas too…can you help me make sense of this dream. I feel it’s significant. :)


    -Tony Crisp 2015-01-28 8:48:15

    Amy – At first the dream suggests that you still need the support and guidance of your parents and family. It also paints a picture of you having a rough time and needing a male viewpoint to find your way to security again.

    But it seems as if you have been developing an independent life already, so I can only think that you have a lot of feelings about dependency that are becoming known now, and will need attention. Your dream parents have a way of deserting you, and so I wonder if that is an issue with you.



-E. D. 2015-01-31 23:27:45

Love the site – so informative. Just had a dream I was on a ship with a group of people I didn’t know, and my boyfriend. It was a beautiful, calm day. When boyfriend and I both walked outside the ship started to sink, very suddenly. Everyone was trapped and not able to escape, except for the two of us. Any thoughts on what this might mean?


    -Tony Crisp 2015-02-01 13:47:37

    E.D. – You have lived a life in which you were involved with many people and also a way of life given to enjoying yourself.

    Leaving the boat suggests you have left or will make a big change in your life, one which will mean you will lose any feelings about your old life. Quite a big change.



-Joy 2015-02-01 18:21:10

I dreamed of being in a boar with other persons i vaguely recognise but i recognise one man, the one im infatuated at the moment. The boat is sailing near the shore, the water is calm, and the surroundings is dark like it is twilight. Underneath the clear water i saw a black snake. But we just passed on it. The boat was sailing towards a part near cemetery (i know this because the setting was at my home province’ beach. But upon reaching near cemetery, the wayers becoame shallow and large rocks appeared causing the boat to be stick and sonk. I was afraid to sonk with the boat and struggled hard to not touch the water. Then i woke up.


-ummy 2015-03-09 6:50:07

i dream i got on a really big ship through climbing the anchor,a big one,to attend a former close friends wedding.


-Areli 2015-03-17 1:45:16

I had a dream about a guy I ended things with. I never told him I actually felt in the relationship and even after we ended things. In this dream, I see him taking a ferry to a city, where ferries do not even exist, yet..I see him on it. Alone and calm.


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