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.

Canoe: Much like a small boat, but with overtones of nature, of being in the wild, of surviving. It is sometimes in testing surroundings or ones in which you feel the presence of nature, which can be wonderful or scary.

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.

Dock: A feeling of security when you have left an inner journey. Also because a dock is a permanent feature boats or ships can be moored to, it might indicate a safe ending to a relationship. A secure though public place to be. The end or beginning of a journey or a life change and the beginning of another phase of life.

If you are leaving the dock in a boat/ship, it suggests facing going out into the world and putting out something of oneself into the world through your relationships and life with people.

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.

Person leaving the boat: A boat often represents a relationship, so leaving the boat or ship  suggests someone leaving what was a group or personal relationship,

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. Roy.

This dream occurred during a period of separation in the marriage and shows how Roy 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 are occurring; could be children leaving mother, so the collective ‘boat journey’ has finished; also occasionally threat of illness or 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?


-Pislat 2016-05-16 4:35:30

Hi. I Woke up from a dream, i was in a ship with my husband and mom. I think all the people are going on holiday. Then the ship got hit with a storm. Then my mother inlaw came and quarreled me with all the people watching. But my husband trying to comfort me and divert my attention from my mother in law. Then another storm came. All the people on board braised ourselves for the storm. When the storm calmed we docked and i went out of the ship with my mom. Very sad. I was just going along with her. Until i sat beside a man while waiting for my mom doing something, who seems i know from previos dream but when i saw his face, he is not familiar to me. Only the feeling that i seemed to know him from before. He tried to comfort me because i was sad. We seemed attracted to each other. Then my mom called me then i left him without looking at him. But i can see from beside my eye he was looking at me leave. Then i woke up.

    -Anna - Tony's Assistant 2016-05-20 10:23:28

    Dear Pislat – Your dream reflects how the relationship with your (inner) mother has a strong, unexpected (and maybe also unconscious) emotional influence on you and so also on the relationship with your husband.
    Storms are symbols of violent emotions, fears and thoughts or release of pent up feelings in a dramatic manner.
    Did you or do you experience unexpected (inner) conflicts with your husband and mother-in-law in your waking life?
    How do you perceive the position of your husband when you are having an argument with or about his mother?
    Do you make him choose or do you believe he has to choose between you and his mother?
    In your dream you are not happy with the whole situation and you decide to leave the relation-ship, probably to review the situation from a less emotional point of view.
    The man you seem to know may reflect those loving qualities of your husband that you are not able to perceive anymore, because “Then another storm came.”
    Rather than giving in to your own feelings of attraction towards him you let your inner mother be in charge of the relationship with your husband; “Then my mom called me then I left him without looking at him.”
    Becoming aware of this can be a wonderful step towards healing and inner growth.
    Please read
    Perhaps you feel like exploring the dream with your husband?
    Anna 🙂

-S. 2016-04-26 12:02:40

Last night I had a dream that I was on a cruise ship/ferry, and me and my ex-girlfriend were on it. We were arguing and somewhere along the line it got physical and I pushed her overboard, then when the ship came to dock I went to search for her but couldn’t find her. I returned to the ship and found her there as if nothing had happened. Please help, I don’t understand a lot of things at the moment, as a lot of things in my life at this time are very unclear

    -Anna - Tony's Assistant 2016-05-02 16:20:05

    Dear S. – Your dream may reflect that your physical relationship with your ex-girlfriend is over and that the relationship you have with her in your inner world did not change.
    Because of the time you spent with her and having loved (loving?) her you have absorbed things from her and events that you have shared with her.
    You might take in such things unconsciously, as you did with many things from parents and from the culture you were raised in and they still influence you.
    In general we can say the woman – the anima – represents the man’s emotions, his nurturing and caring quality, forgiveness, his sense of what is natural and his connection with nature, its cycles and drives. Through such feelings a man would recognise in people and animals the urges that link one to a mate, the strength to protect and nurture children, and the natural within himself.
    The anima also holds in it an expression of a man’s complex of feelings about women, gained as experience mostly from his mother – or lack of mother – but also from a synthesis of all his female contacts. So the whole realm of his personal experience of the female, along with the whole racial experience of women can be represented by the woman in his dream, and is accessible through the image.
    While feeling confused may not be easy; it can lead to inner clarity and growth when you are willing to be present with ‘not knowing’.
    Take your time and be gentle with yourself and if you feel like it use
    This approach may help you to undo the inner obstacles that are in the way of “knowing”.
    See also
    Anna 🙂

-Rozzie 2016-03-22 20:16:53

I dreamt I was walking along the riverbank in my home town and I see a large wooden boat moored on the river. I stand next To it. Both of my brothers stand next to me. The boat is huge and panelled with dark wood. There doesn’t appear to be any entrance or windows. The water in the river is calm.

-sheyra 2016-03-05 16:52:00

I dreamt that I was on a smooth sailing bamboo boat with my boyfriend

-Lisa 2016-03-05 12:16:00

I had a dream I was on a cruise ship in line waiting to check in when my dad (in his eighties) and brother (some health issues) showed up unexpectedly, just when it was my turn my brother said people are leaving the ship, come on let’s get off. As we are trying to get off the ship, two kids were horsing around and thats when we heard that a boat crashed into the ship why people were getting off .Just then the kids that were horsing around, their floaty got stuck in a rail, they were reaching for it and fell over board I was helping my dad walking and trying to get a little girl to sound an alarm but she couldn’t reach it and that’s when I woke up. What does it mean?

-TR 2016-01-06 4:20:00

I am having a long distance relationship with my financee. We are going to milan together soon. She will arrive first in 5 days from her country and i will arrive in 15 days from my country
I had a dream last night that i saw my fiancee was on a cruise ship. With some of her friends. i wasnt sure if i was on it or not because i havent talked with anyone on the ship.
Then it comes to that i was at a place that near my home, i got a call, tell me that it is the last time we will see, then i woke up.

-Kimberly 2015-12-29 14:58:36

I just had a dream, I was with a different siying on the edge of a pool, he went to kiss me I told he no because my husband was in the other room but I wanted to. Went and talked to my husband and told him he had two options let me be with him and this other guy ore and the kids were leaving. He choose to let me with this other guy to. Me and the other guy sat their and had shots and looked at pictures of ships in calm water light up with lights and he told me he was going to get me one. Then I woke up . what does this mean?

-Mike 2015-12-17 21:41:22

I had a dream that I was on a yacht with a woman I am in love with but am not acting on it for her own good. We were both on the bow of the yacht that was anchored in the middle of the ocean. I was standing and wearing a Hawaiian shirt and white slacks and white shoes. She was reclining in a lounge chair sipping a colorful drink and wearing a drab green bikini, I remember thinking “what a strange color for a bikini”. we were chitchating making small talk and out of the blue she asks me, “why don’t you tell me that you love me?”. I said, “if you’ll take a phone call from me, I’ll tell you why.”. She said “Ok, call me then.”. So I take my phone out and call her, she produces a white rotary phone and answers. Instead of telling her why I wouldn’t tell her that I love her, I just said “I love you”. And then the anchor on the boat started raising as soon as I said it. And that’s all I remember, there didn’t appear to be anyone else on board. Should I gotta ahead and quit holding back from this girl?

-Anonymous me 2015-12-17 10:31:16

I had a terrible dream . I was in the ship and somebody killing everybody except me. After that I was blaming my husband because he pushed me to ride that ship.. Thinking and fearing that after the incident i will get jailed because the killer did not kill me. and that my life will go to waste and my son will grow up without me .. What a terrible dream!!!!! Please help

-Maribeth 2015-12-10 6:24:45

I dreamt that I saw or looking at the boat people’s are so happy and seems enjoy the ride while watching I really wanted to get in but certain things I don’t like it was a heavy waves the boat is struggling but the people are having fun despite and in spite of what’s going on. I was just looking and really wanna go in there but because of this people playing things I don’t like I back off and didn’t go in with them.

    -Anna - Tony's Assistant 2015-12-15 15:51:13

    Dear Maribeth – What I see in your dream is that you are observing how other people deal with their journey through the seas of life.
    There is a longing to join AND there are certain things that hold you back from following this inner urge.
    I believe that the heavy waves are a symbol of the difficult feelings that you see/sense in other people as they struggle with life/each other/themselves and you become aware how they hide these feelings.
    In your dream these people prefer to look happy and to make it look as if they enjoy the ride.
    I feel that with “playing things” you mean the false self people might use when meeting others and so the “roles” they play or the “masks” they wear to hide their real feelings.
    When you are done with observing, you make up your mind and despite your desire to join with others, you back off.
    So I reckon you are looking for a different kind of relationship in which you do not have to hide how you feel when your emotions get stormy and when you perceive life as a struggle.
    Are you?
    Anna 🙂

-Nina 2015-12-02 11:45:42

I’ve often had dreams about boats, always with the same person, in which I’m involved in a complicated relationship, (im often unsure where this relationship stands) Anyway, I dreamed I was on this cruise ship with someone else, but I just wanted to explore so I left, which ended up in a search for C (the person I’m in a relationship with) After a long search I find him at a restaurant/bar and am overjoyed! I hadn’t expected to find him. It was like I was looking for him, yet had no idea if he would even be there. His family was there and everyone was happy. Then I felt like I had to go check in with the person I came with and when I tried to go find C again he had moved to another part of the ship. A long search once again ensued and finally, when I was about to cry being super upset he came up behind me and surprised me.. We had a long hug, in which I felt very emotional.. Then I woke up..

    -Anna - Tony's Assistant 2015-12-08 13:59:43

    Dear Nina – I believe it serves a purpose to use this dream to explore the relationship with yourself rather than focus on the relationship with C., because more often than not we tend to project our own feelings of uncertainty – where do I stand? Who am I? – on our partner or the relationship with our partner;
    What I see in your dream is that you “forget” to share anything about “the person you came with”, although he/she (man or woman?) has an important role in your dream too.
    “Then I felt like I had to go check in with the person I came with”; did you meet him/her again and how did you feel when you did?
    Could he/she be a symbol of the relationship you have with yourself and that when you leave yourself behind you feel lost and are more likely to become very independent of (emotionally) connecting with C.?
    For the sake of being clear about what you are doing to yourself and C. I suggest you explore “the person you came with”;
    Let me know if you have any questions.
    Anna 🙂

-Ammic 2015-11-12 11:50:25

I woke from a dream last night that I was in search of a boat on the lake shore. It was dark, so definitely before dawn, but I remember feeling like it was early in the day, like this was something I was used to doing. However, the entire lakeshore was riddled with useless junk, there were piles of things under old white tarps. I found an oar amidst the mess and kept searching, always looking over my shoulder as if I was half expecting someone or something to show up. The grass was tall, so I was sure there was something dangerous lurking around. I kept looking at the lake to see if the boat was out there, but it wasn’t, in fact, the lake was eerily still.

I don’t know why I was out there before daybreak looking for a boat to go out on the lake and I didn’t get to finish the dream because I woke up, but I would love to know your take on this dream.

    -Anna - Tony's Assistant 2015-11-16 6:10:49

    Dear Ammic – Please read this first;
    When it is dark in a dream it can be a symbol of what is unknown, not defined by the intellect or conscious self; so something that is still unconscious and perhaps only vaguely sensed; “I don’t know why I was out there before daybreak looking for a boat to go out on the lake.”
    You wrote; “However, the entire lakeshore was riddled with useless junk, there were piles of things under old white tarps.”
    Junk is a symbol of parts of your experience and feelings you, or society, no longer feel is useful. Occasionally one discards, or considers as useless, some aspect of self, or ability, which is actually valuable. We must realise, however, that all thought and feeling are expressions of our inner energy. As such, while we discard an expression of the energy, we must not discard the energy lest it leave us empty and unsatisfied. This is why garbage, or compost, must be thought of as material capable of being used in a new form.
    What do you associate with the parts you have thrown away?
    Why would you cover them with old, white tarps?
    What do you associate with the oar you find?
    Would you consider it useless junk too?
    Because you are the creator of your dream and of your inner world, what is hiding in the tall grass is probably something you are trying to avoid; a feeling you feel threatened by, an awareness or perhaps something you do not want to see; reason why you probably created grass that is tall in your dream.
    So what could be lurking in the shadows of your unconscious mind?
    To understand your search for the boat, I believe it will be helpful to explore the lake too;
    The approach “Being the person or thing” you can use for any of the symbols in your dream.
    Does that give you a start?
    Anna 🙂

-Bree 2015-11-11 14:23:06

I had a dream I was inside a boat or what I’m assuming was a boat… It was floating in water and I was looking through an open window at huge qoi fish swimming around, and I noticed that the water was level with the side of the boat and for some reason I slid the window closed and the moment I did that the water started pouring over the edge and I immediately tried to open the window, but I couldn’t. The boat filled with water quick and I was under water, and I didn’t feel scared I think I knew it was a dream… I started to look for an opening and I thought in my mind, I’m getting out of this boat- Next thing I know I’m outside the boat, I don’t know how I got out, the boat is now above water but it’s wet and has seaweed and fish and octopus in it. I throw a small qoi back in the water, I see my grandmother and she is rambling about something and then leaves the boat. I see a yellow octopus and it appears to be dead, but I grab it and throw it in the water and it comes to life and swims away. That is all I remember at that point.

-Radhald 2015-09-19 10:32:33

I am dreaming tthat i am in the sea with my friends swimming and then they are all gone and a huge ship appears and it runs me over i am having that dream for a very long time over amd over again. Its very scary and it has to mean something if it appears so often. I am not afraid of ships or the sea. I would appreciate it if someone could tell me what it means

    -Anna - Tony's Assistant 2015-09-28 15:55:01

    Dear Radhald – You are right that a recurring dream must mean something.
    In general dreams recur because there are ways the dreamer habitually responds to their internal or external world. Because their attitude or response is unchanging, the dream that reflects it remains the same. It is noticeable in those who explore their dreams using such techniques as described under processing dreams – – that recurring themes disappear or change because the attitudes or habitual anxieties that gave rise to them have been met or transformed.
    What I see in your dream is that you feel okay – confident – while being with your friends. Perhaps that is because you share common goals and/or feelings which give you a feeling of not being alone?
    The moment they are gone – perhaps because you feel you want to go your own way; become (more) independent – you feel threatened (by someone who might be bullying you? or) by the belief that “someone or something is out there to get you”.
    Perhaps you feel like using Power Dreaming to explore if you can approach this situation in a different way?
    Anna 🙂

-Pierre 2015-08-14 16:51:51

I dreamt that i was on a medium sized cruiser as another person,traveling the quiet ocean in the early 1900,s with my girlfriend who was so fammiliar to me,we bicycled around on the deck having a good time.
suddenly i see her from far talking to a guy,suddenly she was gone with him,i went sosad looking for her the whole night,in the morning we had arrived to the harbour the water was duper dmooth,all the people was leaving and so was i,when i got of from the boat,i see heer standing with this guy and was on the verge of lifting upp her bicycle in his who was staying 6-7 meters above the harbour,i went maad as hell tok up a stone smashing it next to her face,hitting the bicycle with intention,after that i took the guy by his chest and throwed him in the water between the boat & propeler,the captain tried to back out the chip draging the guy into propeller,after that i stayed but no one did anything,later that day when the dun wason the verge to decent i looked att the house where the person who i traveled with was,i could see the light in the roof in the house when i was leaving,into a new world and new path,with a little bit sorrow but fully determed to make it on my own.
When i woke up in morning after the dream i felt like this was me in another dimension,past life experience i was very low remebering this,im born1973 this was 1900-1910 / Since i was born i always have seen things,that other cant see,always had dreams about things that end up happening later in life.
Best reegards/Scandinavian Pierre

Copyright © 1999-2010 Tony Crisp | All rights reserved