[[quoteright:240:[[VideoGame/PokemonRubyAndSapphire http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/GetOnTheBoat_3232.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:240:[[BiggerOnTheInside Doesn't it look a bit small for two people?]]]]

In many {{RPG}}s, especially [[EasternRPG JRPGs]], the time will eventually come when you've done all you can on the continent you start out on. Since you know that you're eventually going to have to visit every location on your FantasyWorldMap, there's nothing to be done for it except to head to the nearest PortTown and find someone to ferry you to the next continent so that you can continue with the adventure.

The game will usually require you to perform some sort of FetchQuest before it will let you GetOnTheBoat, and that's not all -- there's a high probability that the boat either doesn't get there or eventually gets sunk after the first successful attempt. The ocean is one of the most natural {{Broken Bridge}}s around, so game designers like to use it as one of the first [[PointOfNoReturn Points of No Return]] in the game.

This is also sometimes a major mode of transport around the map, allowing you to travel across the world map much faster (possibly free of RandomEncounters!). In this case, it will inevitably become obsolete once you acquire your GlobalAirship later on (unless you can still navigate and dock the boat [[BubbleGloopSwamp in areas]] [[TheLostWoods too dense]] for the Airship to make a landing -- but these are few and far between). There are even a few cases where the boat ''is'' the GlobalAirship, but the player doesn't get the latter functionality until someone gives the boat a major upgrade near the end of the game.

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!!Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Action Adventure]]
* ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'':
** In ''VideoGame/ZeldaIITheAdventureOfLink'', a raft in the third dungeon lets players use a single dock to travel to a corresponding dock on the other half of Hyrule, granting access to the other four dungeons. Despite the difficulty of getting it, this is the item's only use.
** ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker'', which is set in a Hyrule that has long since been flooded and has turned into the Great Sea. Played straight at the beginning of the game, where the King of Red Lions won't let you board until circumstances are met (getting a sail, getting the pearls), but after that, you're free to go where ever you want ([[ButThouMust except where the King of Red Lions says you can't]]).
* In ''VideoGame/TakeshisChallenge'', you have to buy a ticket for a plane trip. If you don't get some things right before boarding the plane, the plane will explode in mid-air.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Adventure Game]]
* The ''VideoGame/MonkeyIsland'' series uses this trope often, unsurprisingly as it is a pirate series set in the Caribbean. In each game the player has to look for a ship at some point in order to leave the first island.
* ''VideoGame/TheLongestJourney'' has a boat that the player character has to take over the sea. Naturally, it sinks before you reach your destination, but this time it's [[NiceJobBreakingItHero all because of you]] (and it turns out to be a good thing eventually, for you anyway).
* The first sequel in the ''VideoGame/LeisureSuitLarry'' series, ''VideoGame/LeisureSuitLarry goes Looking For Love (In Several Wrong Places)'', involves Larry winning an oodle of cash and a luxury cruise for two in the first ten minutes of gameplay, and the story proper continues as soon as Larry gets on the boat. Of course, getting on the boat serves as one of the first bottlenecks in the game, seeing as you need the Grotesque Gulp, the sunscreen and the swimsuit to progress later on, and you can't go back and get them after you get on the boat.
* Subverted in ''VideoGame/KingsQuestVI'': Due to the EvilChancellor's machinations, the ferry has ceased to operate. The reason for Alexander to board it anyway is to hear the unemployed ferryman tell him of a [[WarpWhistle magic map]] that can take him between the islands.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:First Person Shooter]]
* Every major mission in ''VideoGame/DeusEx'' required to you take a boat or a helicopter to get to the next one. There is a point where if you don't do an event, [[spoiler:your helicopter blows up]]. However, it's a moot point by that time, as you're already at the final area. It really just depends on how much you like [[spoiler:the pilot, and how much you wanna hear some hilariously poorly acted dialog. Saying "A bomb." in a monotone voice was one of the ''Deus Ex'' fan favourites]].
** An interesting note about piracy: The way the boat/helicopter worked required to have a player finish saying a line of dialog before the trigger happened. However, pirated copies often had unimportant audio (and sometimes, all audio) removed from the game to lower the overall file size for the slower connections of the day, causing pirates to be in an {{unwinnable}} situation. Obviously, dialog that never started can never finish. With cheating, the game could be finished, but not very enjoyably, as this affected all the Infolink conversations, making it very hard to know what you're supposed to be doing.
* Despite being a straight-up FPS unlike the above, the elevators in ''VideoGame/FirstEncounterAssaultRecon'' bear a striking resemblance to this trope. When any elevator is both powered up and not chock full of hostiles, it will inevitably be the only way to progress. In at least one instance the player must advance past and then backtrack to the elevators after accomplishing a poor excuse for a FetchQuest. The elevators never take you where you need to go. Most of them shut down partway through, much like a ship that sinks with the player on it. Another stops at each floor to let the Replica shoot at you, reminiscent of the VideoGame/GoldenSun example. The only elevator ride with no complications drops you off about 0.2 seconds too late to stop a very important civilian NPC from driving away without you.
* ''VideoGame/{{Borderlands 2}}'''s [[NoobCave introductory area]] is on an artic island. One of your first major missions involves defeating the local bandits so you can gain access to a boat that takes you to the mainland.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Four X]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Civilization}}'' is a FourX example. On the standard maps, you'll meet some of the other civilizations on your continent; you'll need to learn how to build ocean crossing units to meet the rest (and take their land).
* The ''EuropaUniversalis'' also doe this, as you'll need transport ships to ferry your armies to islands and other continents, as well as faraway countries (it's a lot faster and more convenient than having to slog it on foot through a bunch of foreign provinces).
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Interactive Fiction]]
* A lone boat can be found on a riverbank in the text-based ''Literature/TheHobbit'' game. As soon as Bilbo gets into it, it'll start moving, even if Thorin or Gandalf has used that turn to climb back out.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:[=MMORPG=]s]]
* ''{{Runescape}}'' takes this literally
* ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' has many boats for cross continental travel -- woe the traveller with low RAM or a shaky internet connection, though, because the loading screens that result often leave the player stuck on the boat, unable to get off at their destination.
** Another amusing bug would cause the character to spawn into the zone after the boat had moved on, either dumping into the ocean thousands of yards offshore or, with the Horde airships, dropping you from a perilous height.
** During a period in 2005 when bugs were causing the boats to spawn improperly, Blizzard removed them from the game and replaced them with "Captain Placeholder", an NPC who teleported players between continents on request.
** Right around launch time in 2004, there was yet another boat/zeppelin bug in which the transfer of player characters to the other world server (usually accomplished via boat or zeppelin) would fail due to overpopulation. When this happened, the boat or zep would just disappear out from under your character, plopping you down in some very hospitable fatigue-inducing waters.
** Although the expansion world of Outland goes by completely without ships. In fact, one can avoid the ships on the old world entirely with access to the capital city, which has teleporters to every of the eight capitals (you can't go to the capitals of the opposite faction, of course). ''Burning Crusade'' did see the addition of one new boat, which travels from the Draenei starting islands to the mainland of Kalimdor so Draenei players can get out into the rest of the world and off their conspicuously-separate world server.
** The second expansion, ''Wrath of the Lich King,'' adds new boats and zeppelins to transport players to the new continent of Northrend. An entire new harbor area was even added to Stormwind to facilitate this (the Horde just got new zeppelin towers). In addition, former boat routes were changed so Night Elf players could travel straight from Auberdine to Stormwind without having to trek through the Wetlands (finally).
* ''RagnarokOnline'' has airships that leave at specific times and travel around the world in a loop.
* ''MapleStory'' has airships as well. One of them is occasionally attacked by a high level boss (that low level characters can avoid by simply staying inside the ship). The addition of the Aqua Road allows the especially cheap players to swim across the ocean[[note]]Yes, you read that right. ''Across the frikkin ocean''[[/note]] rather than take a specific airship.
* The main way to get around the [[ViceCity Rogue Isles]] in ''CityOfVillains'' is by ferry. A few zones in ''CityOfHeroes'' are accessed mainly by boat as well.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Platform Game]]
* ''SpyroTheDragon'' games had transports that took you between worlds (and involved LoadsAndLoadsOfLoading) but you often couldn't get on them unless you'd done something (rescued a certain amount of Dragons/Dragon Eggs, had a certain amount of Gems, defeated a boss, etc.)
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Time Strategy]]
* "Island maps" are fairly common in RTS games that include sea and/or air travel. By forcing the player to [[TechTree tech up]] to the point of transports before finding and engaging each other, they serve as a barrier to early-game rushes and encourage longer, more expansive matches.
* The demo campaign in ''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}} III'' involves Thrall taking some orcs and getting on a boat, promptly crashing it on an island and recruiting a tribe of trolls there before being chased off the [[LoadBearingBoss sinking island]]. Thrall fixes his boats, and sails to the continent of Kalimdor, which he crashes into. Orcs don't seem to be big on sailing.
** The tutorial campaign in the released version of the game consists of Thrall breaking his allies out of a human prison and stealing their boats... which segues directly into the above.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Rhythm Game]]
* Early entries in the ''RockBand'' series made you complete special challenges for a van, a tour bus, and a [[GlobalAirship private jet]] in order to play venues further away from your hometown.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Role Playing Game]]
* ''Franchise/StarWars: KnightsOfTheOldRepublic II'' has ''four'' space ships with the player onboard end up being gunned down and crashing. One of them is the GlobalAirship, which actually crashes twice throughout the game.
** Following in this tradition, each class in ''VideoGame/TheOldRepublic'' obtains a ship of their own after completing their origin world and their faction's capital world. The Smuggler is especially notable in that they start the game on their ship -- only for it to be [[BrokenBridge stolen]] in the first class mission.
* Some ''FinalFantasy'' games give you control of the boat, and some don't. They all have one at one point or another, though.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV'' gives us an example of the "boat-that-never-gets-there" version of the trope.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'' has ferries that serve as boats. In the UpdatedRerelease for the GBA, you fight a BonusBoss on the ferry route in the World of Ruin if certain conditions are met.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'''s boat is an example of a boat that always gets there, doesn't represent a PointOfNoReturn because you can literally get back on it the second you get off it, and becomes entirely worthless but still present by the halfway point of the game. And actually getting back on the boat is ''necessary'' to get Aerith's last limit break, at least [[spoiler:while she's still alive.]]
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII'' has you get on a boat early on to do one dungeon, and then you get right back on it to go home. You actually travel internationally regularly via train.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIX'' has a boat where nothing extraordinary happens. It acts just like an airship, only confined to water. In fact it is retrofitted into the party's first GlobalAirship because of how reliable it is. From there it survives all the way to the end of the game (even after your party replaces it with another CoolShip). The trope is initially subverted when the party leaves the first continent originally using underground tunnels. They don't GetOnTheBoat itself until the 3rd disc.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXI'' features boats that travel between the game's continents. These boats are sometimes attacked by powerful sea monsters. HilarityEnsues for low-level players who are just trying to get from point A to point B.
** One exception is ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII'', which doesn't have the party boarding any sea-faring vessels at all because the game is contained entirely to a single body of land. There are a couple air-ships which fill a similar role plot-wise, but not exactly.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'' had two boats; both of them got to their destination, you explored the inside of the boats instead of having control over them, you couldn't get back on because of the game's linearity, and while the first one was attacked by Sin, the second one was uneventful.
* You have control of the boat in ''VideoGame/BreathOfFireIII'' as well.
%%* ''VideoGame/VandalHearts''
* ''VideoGame/VandalHearts 2'' has this without the boat. [[spoiler:The hero, in fact, flings himself through a closed window into the water.]]
* ''VideoGame/RomancingSaGa'' plays with this during [[spoiler: Albert's opening quest, you have to take the boat to go to Rosalia from the Bafal Empire but during the trip a storm hits the boat and throws Albert into Valhalland (Southern Frigid end of Mardias).]] The reason the ship was hit by the storm was because the package a man was carrying on the ship was a Nymph statue stolen from one of Yucomb's temples, more or less saying, Yucomb was pissed off. This only comes into context if one does the Nymph statues quest, learned about the statue's origins and then plays Albert's scenario.]] Also later on [[spoiler: If you completed the First mummy quest, when you leave the port on the same boat with the merchant selling the corpse on to Melvir, the Mummy will come back to life that night and wreck havoc on the passengers of that boat, failing to inform them makes the fight with the mummy harder since every victim it attacks turns them into the undead, said merchant is the first to die though so you have to fight one other zombie regardless]]
* ''VideoGame/LunarTheSilverStar'': Alex and his friends GetOnTheBoat to Meribia after acquiring a sea chart for a captain who lost it to a reclusive witch. In the original game, Luna doesn't join Alex on the boat, but she does in the [[UpdatedRerelease remake]] ''Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete.''
* Done in every game in the ''VideoGame/DragonQuest'' series, starting with ''VideoGame/DragonQuestII''. In the first game, the kingdom of Alefgard was [[LawOfCartographicalElegance completely surrounded by water]]. This subversion is [[HandWave transparently justified]] in that the [=DragonLord's=] castle is within seeing distance of your own. You just have to do a ''lot'' of traveling on foot to get there.
* ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphonia'' had several boats, including normal sailboats, small tubs whose unreliability was a RunningGag, and a land vehicle that was converted to a ship via {{Magitek}}. The party's [[WhyDidItHaveToBeSnakes aquaphobic member]] was none too happy with any of these.
* ''VideoGame/TalesOfVesperia'' has the party cross the ocean in a villain's ship the first time. It sinks half way across and you have to get rescued by Flynn. For the next trip they get their own boat, which is eventually upgraded to GlobalAirship by strapping it to a giant flying whale.
* In ''VideoGame/GrandiaII'', the party is required to get on the good ship ''50/50''. As the world is split by huge crevasses, the sea has a massive waterfall in the middle of it (don't ask how this didn't get filled in the 10,000 years since its creation) and the boat must ''fly'' over it. When stating that ''50/50'' is an odd name for a ship, the owner replies that "that's the odds, sink or swim".
* ''VideoGame/WildArms1'' had a lengthy FetchQuest required to convince the merchant ship ''Sweet Candy'' to carry you to where you needed to go. This included the female lead pretending to marry the ship's captain to appease the gods of the sea and fighting off the GoldfishPoopGang. It eventually gets destroyed by a BonusBoss and is ironically fixed for your use by the Captain's rival.
* ''VideoGame/WildArms3'' introduced the sandship, a necessity given that the world's "oceans" were really vast expanses of oddly soft sand. It even had its own combat system.
* In the original ''BatenKaitos'', Kalas and Xehla used commercial ferries to cross between continents until they saved Diadem, after which the King lent them the use of his personal cruiser as thanks. In the {{prequel}}, Verus gives you the high-tech ''Sfida'' ship after you begin working for him.
* The main characters of ''FireEmblem: Blazing Sword'' enlist the help of good-hearted {{pirate}}s to carry them to the Dread Isle of Valor.
* The original ''VideoGame/GoldenSun'' had a lengthy arc which consisted of you defending a ship as it crossed a monster-infested sea. Sailors were knocked out during the voyage, and the characters had to make various {{NPC}}s take up the oars. A certain combination of {{NPC}}s would send you off-course, to [[BonusDungeon Crossbone Isle]]. The sequel had two GetOnTheBoat arcs -- the first required you to save Piers, who'd been WronglyAccused of thievery, so you could use his boat. The second involved upgrading the boat into the GlobalAirship.
* Occurs late in ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 2}}'', where you run a series of quests to get a decommissioned oil tanker, the PMV Valdez, operational again so you can take it to the final area.
* The ''Fallout 3'' DLC ''Point Lookout'' has the Duchess Gambit ferry that transports you to the titular location, which takes a month of game time. Unlike the other DLC's where you're locked in until you complete the main quest there, you can travel back anytime if you have the caps.
* ''UltimaIV'' is one of the strongest aversions to this trope. Not only can you reach many of the important places in the game without ships, but once the ships appear, acquiring one is a matter of letting one come to shore and winning an easy battle against its crew. Since the pirates spawn continuously, you can keep stealing their ships and build your own private navy, and it is common to jack a ship just to cross a short distance with less hassle. The game essentially treats ocean-going vessels as quick, disposable transportation, the way ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto'' treats cars. The only requirement to get a ship is to reach level 4, which does not take much time.
* In ''UltimaIX'', you will travel between islands in a ship piloted by the story's love interest. Near the end of the game you also learn to sail the ship yourself.
* This is a staple of the ''VideoGame/{{Ys}}'' games, though they tend to ''start'' with Adol getting on the boat rather than making it a mid-game rite of passage.
* In the first two ''VideoGame/PaperMario'' games. In first this is somewhat subverted as you travel on a [[strike: tuna]] ''whale'' rather than a boat, played more straight in the second [[spoiler: where the ship gets wrecked, but you get to come back on another one]].
* ''[[BaldursGate Baldur's Gate 2]]'' has the player take a ship to the magical asylum of Spellhold. On the way back, the player [[spoiler:has a choice between taking a portal to the Underdark or taking a ship back to the mainland; the ship, however, will be captured by Githyanki and sunk.]]
* In ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'', there's a ferry service between the first two continents, except you can travel between them by foot anyway. There are no RandomEncounters, either, so travel by foot is not nearly as time-consuming as it is in many other games of its time.
* In ''VideoGame/EarthBound'', you can take a ferry which gets ambushed by [[spoiler:the Kraken]].
* In the ''SonicChronicles'' RPG, you're frequently hustled onto the (space) ship and on to the next zone upon beating a boss, with the ship usually disabled immediately when you arrive.
* The first three islands in ''{{Albion}}'' are left this way. Before you can do that you must solve a Murder Mystery, Fetch Quest and Racial Conflict fueled by a GovernmentConspiracy. The fourth island has a teleporter and a BarrierMaiden who can use it.
* Inverted in ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind''. The game starts as the player is a prisoner on a boat headed to the titular province, once there you get off the boat and it goes away. Smaller boats offer some local transportation as well, but they're more of a WarpWhistle.
* ''FRranchise/{{Pokemon}}'':
** While the boat in ''VideoGame/PokemonGoldAndSilver'' does get to its destination eventually, you have to fight several trainers and find a gentleman's missing daughter before it will arrive.
** And Mr. Briney's boat serves as Ye Boat for the [[VideoGame/PokemonRubyAndSapphire Hoenn region games]] (requiring first one FetchQuest to access the boat at all, and another to get to what should ostensibly be the ''first'' destination you could reach had it not railroaded you to the plot).
** Subverted in the [[VideoGame/PokemonRedAndBlue original games]]. You board the S.S. Anne to obtain [[PlotCoupon HM01 (Cut)]] to [[BrokenBridge clear trees that impede further progress]], but the boat doesn't go anywhere until you get off.
** In ''VideoGame/PokemonBlack2AndWhite2'', you have to take the boat run by Roxie's dad to get to Castelia City the first time.
* Common in the ''PhantasyStar'' series, although given the sci-fi fantasy setting the "boat" is as likely to be a hovercraft, ground-based tank or sandcrawler that serves effectively the same purpose, although you still get RandomEncounters.
** In ''PhantasyStarIII'', your [[TransformingMecha cyborg party member Wren]] becomes this when you find the right parts. He can also turn into a submarine, which is only needed to access one undersea dungeon.
* ''ShiningForce 2'' uses a boat fairly early as a point of no return, but the whole town goes with you and resettles on the new continent. After that, you'll have to acquire a raft, a "caravan", and a fancy precursor airship to access the more advanced areas.
* This happens very early in ''VideoGame/MightAndMagic VII'', as the NoobCave (and JustifiedTuturial) is an island, and you don't learn teleportation magic until quite a bit later in the game. So, once you've won the scavenger and possibly done the sidequests, you step on the boat and get teleported to the mainland, right in front of your new castle.
* Partially averted in ''VideoGame/TitanQuest''; you do have to get on a boat to reach Egypt, and another to reach China, but once you get there, you can still travel back to the towns on previous continents via the portal system. Not that you'll have much reason to.
* ''VideoGame/{{Diablo}} II'' plays this the straightest at the end of Act II, where you have to take a ship to travel from Lut Gholein to Kurast -- but not until you've reached Tal Rasha's tomb. In a similar fashion, you have to take the caravan from the Rogue Encampment to Lut Gholein itself after killing Andariel in Act I. In both cases, however, you can return if you wish via Waypoints. ''VideoGame/DiabloIII'' does the same thing for the first three acts, taking the caravans from New Tristram to Caldeum (Act II) and then to Bastion's Keep (Act III). [[spoiler:The fourth act has you using the portal Diablo opened up to the High Heavens to go after him]]. And much like the other game, you also have waypoints from place to place.
* Most mission locations in ''{{Dishonored}}'' are reached via Samuel Beechworth's riverboat, the ''Amaranth''.
* In ''VideoGame/TheLastStory'', Zael, Calista, Yurick and Mirania get on a Gurak boat after fleeing from an invaded Lazulis City.
[[/folder]]

!!Non-video game examples:

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Being based on an {{RPG}}, ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' uses boats for inter-region transport quite a bit, though there's only been one sinking (the episode "Pokémon Shipwreck", naturally). Notably, during most of the Orange Islands arc, the heroes use Ash's young Lapras to travel between destinations.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* SinbadTheSailor was famous for having a shipwreck almost every time he sailed, but each wreck led to a huge adventure before he could return home.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theatre]]
* The entire plot of ''Theatre/PericlesPrinceOfTyre'' revolves around an improbable number of shipwrecks as characters travel from place to place. While not directly related to GetOnTheBoat as a [[VideogameTropes Videogame Trope]], it shows that the device is still OlderThanSteam.
* Music/PDQBach's ''The Abduction of Figaro'': At the end of first act of the opera, the protagonists set sail, and immediately their ship is seen sinking in the mother-loving sea.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''RPGWorld'' parodied this, as with every other RPG trope.
* Played straight in ''OurLittleAdventure''. The first Magicant piece is not on the island Julie and her friends were on, so they went back to Huckleton and jumped on a ship to one of the main continents.
[[/folder]]
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