Boats have been around for a very long time, and they are still used for transportation and recreation. They have also managed to accumulate many symbolic associations over the centuries that they have been part of human life.
Boat Dream Summary
Boats symbolize protection, including that of the ultimate protected state in the womb. From this foundation of protection, you have the ability to set out and explore.
Boats therefore symbolize travel and significant journeys as well. As boats are commonly seen with water, which has symbolic associations with emotions, this journey can be through your emotional issues rather than to a physical destination.
Depending on the type of boat involved, your dream of a boat can also symbolize the desire for a simple, slow-paced way of life.
Common Boat Dreams
- Dream of traveling by boat
- Dream of a tilting boat in a storm
- Dream of being in a shipwreck
- Dream of a leaking boat
- Dream of a boat on land
Before airplanes, boats were the only way for people to travel across oceans. Dreaming of a boat can therefore symbolize going on a significant journey – the bigger the boat, the bigger the journey!
In some countries including the United States, it is very common for people to have ancestors who came there from another country by boat. Dreaming of a boat could therefore symbolize a desire to learn more about your family history.
Boats can be used to transport goods as well as people. If you are involved in a situation that requires shipping or moving a lot of items, your boat dream could potentially be relevant to that.
Boats have been around since long before modern technology. The Drents Museum in the Netherlands has the oldest known boat in the world – the Pesse canoe, which was dug out of a log with an axe approximately 10,000 years ago.
While some boats have since come to incorporate motors, dreaming of a boat, especially a non-motorized one, could therefore symbolize a longing for a simpler, low-tech way of life.
It’s not physically possible for most humans to travel a substantial distance by swimming. Even for good swimmers, trying to take on large bodies of water carries the risk of drowning.
A boat, as simple as it may be, can protect people from the dangers of water. When this danger of water is mitigated, it becomes possible to use water for transportation.
Dreaming of a boat can therefore symbolize that you have enough of a foundation of safety and structure that you are able to move forward in your life.
If the boat in your dream is a large one, and there are many other people on it with you, the saying “We’re all in the same boat” can speak to this sense of safety in numbers. As noted in Faith & Leadership, the Christian community has used the symbolism of a boat to instruct members to work together and look out for each other.
The structure and watery surroundings of a boat can be reminiscent of the womb where humans gestate before they are born. This takes the symbolism of protection to another level, that of being able to be totally dependent on someone.
What Does It Mean if You Dream of Being Pregnant? could therefore be relevant to some boat dreams, though a boat dream could refer to you as the one inside the womb rather than you as the one having the womb.
Common Boat Dreams
Dream of traveling by boat
Traveling by boat is an old method of travel that doesn’t get as much attention as it used to now that airplanes, cars, and trains are more common, but it does still happen. If you dream of traveling by boat, the first question to ask is whether this is something that is part of your normal routine.
There are some people who travel by boat regularly, such as people usually in coastal areas who ride commuter ferries in the same way others might ride commuter trains, people who work on cruise ships, and people who serve in their country’s navy. Whatever your daily routine might be, your dreams often reflect it. If traveling by boat is part of your daily routine, it therefore might not be a very significant part of the interpretation of your dream.
If you travel by boat but not as often as a daily routine, like only when you go on vacation, dreaming of traveling by boat might symbolize that you are longing for rest, relaxation, and adventure.
If you have never traveled by boat, or if you only traveled by boat once a long time ago, the dream is more likely to be about the symbolic meanings of boats and water. Water often symbolizes emotions and the unconscious, so traveling over water could symbolize that you have to navigate emotional issues to reach some goal.
More broadly, dreaming of any form of travel that is not routine for you could symbolize a desire to get out and see the world. This may not necessarily be physical travel – it could just be learning something new – but there is a desire to become unstuck in some way.
Dream of a tilting boat in a storm
If you dream you are on a boat that is tilting due to stormy weather stirring the water, you might feel that things in your life are getting out of control. To interpret this further, it is necessary to think about how you felt while this was going on in the dream.
If you felt that you were uncomfortable but basically safe within the boat, this symbolizes that you will get through whatever your difficulties are. This would be a situation similar to turbulence on an airplane.
Dream of being in a shipwreck
A dream of being on a tilting boat in a storm has the potential to turn into a dream of being in a shipwreck. If you have this dream, it may symbolize that something in your life is in danger of becoming truly destructive.
Many people may have mental imagery of what a shipwreck looks like from the 1997 movie Titanic, which dramatized a shipwreck that really happened in 1912. The saying “rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic” refers to focusing on petty details when the bigger picture is that your overall situation is as unsustainable as life on a sinking ship, as analyzed in The Washington Post, and that could be relevant to some shipwreck dreams.
The significance of dreaming of destruction involving water, as opposed to dreaming of destruction from something like a tornado on land, is that the destructive quality of water often is associated with emotions. You or someone else may have been holding back emotions about some situation for a long time, and the emotions can’t be held back any longer.
Dream of a leaking boat
If you dream of a leaking boat, this might symbolize that you are in a situation where you are being sabotaged. This sabotage could be intentional or unintentional, and it could be committed by yourself or by others.
Either way, the leak tends to be something that you are not entirely conscious of – maybe you should be aware of it, but it’s just outside your field of view. For example, your bank accounts could be getting drained by fees for subscriptions you stopped using long ago, and you see the charges in your bank account from time to time, but you never think through to the process of actually doing anything about it.
Alternately, this dream could just mean you need to urinate, as in the saying “take a leak.”
Dream of a boat on land
If you dream of a boat on land, the interpretation may be similar to the saying “a fish out of water.” You might feel like something is wrong with you, but the problem is really that you are in an environment where you don’t belong, and the environment does not give you the resources you need to be successful.
Alternately, this could be a dream about preparing for something you know is coming in the future. In a well-known Bible story, Noah built an ark, an enormous boat, on land, as God had tipped him off that a great flood was coming. No one else knew the flood was coming, so Noah would have looked pretty strange while he was building the ark, but, after the ark was complete, the water rose to meet it.
Whether your dream involves a shipwreck or a calm ride down a river, dreaming of a boat can show how well you are doing at navigating the world around you, both physical and emotional. The boat typically provides you with some protection from the dangers of the water – and, in doing so, it gives you the ability to find what is out there.