I'm writing a fantasy novel with a race of intelligent and technologically advanced dragons. now, if we pretend that they can somehow fly, How would they utilize boats and ships in order to traverse oceans?

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    $\begingroup$ Quetzalcoatlus was a colossal pterosaur that could probably fly across seas in long journeys. Problem is a group of quetzalcoatlus would definitely be capable of only carrying a fraction of that they'd be able to transport if they were in a large ship, although they'd travel much more slowly. $\endgroup$ Apr 2, 2021 at 1:11
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    $\begingroup$ exactly, the purpose of ships for them would be for transporting cargo and supplies. more of a hub for a group of dragons, from which solo flights could be taken. $\endgroup$ Apr 2, 2021 at 1:16
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    $\begingroup$ Aircraft carriers. Also, where else are are they going to keep their cool dragon stuff? $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Apr 2, 2021 at 1:41
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    $\begingroup$ Check out the Temeraire books by Naomi Novik, staring with "His Majesty's Dragon". They're historic fantasy, set in the Napoleonic era, but with dragons. "Dragon carrier" ships are a thing that feature in some of the books for long ocean voyages. $\endgroup$
    – Salda007
    Apr 2, 2021 at 7:12
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    $\begingroup$ I'm almost disappointed that you clarified your question in the main body of the text. "How would dragons utilize ships?" as a sort of in-flight meal on a long-haul trip, I imagine... $\endgroup$ Apr 2, 2021 at 9:14

1 Answer 1


As long as the ship buys them something of more value than traveling the same distance, flying, the dragons will have an advantage in using ships.

Some possibilities:

  • Cargo. This one may simply be better than flight; the water provides the buoyancy, and the ship just has to move forward. A dragon would have to lift the cargo as well as fly it.
  • Less work. Flight is calorie intensive. A ship gets its motion from air or an engine. Or even from being rowed; buoyancy means that dragon rowers just have to move the ship forward, not keep it in the air, which may easily counter-balance the weight of the ship. This means they need less food or can do more work.
  • Time. Bask in the sun and contemplate great plans with the thoughts that would otherwise have to be expended keeping track of air currents and looking for downdrafts.
  • Safety. A ship can be shipwrecked, of course, or blown off course, but this is aggravated in the air.
  • $\begingroup$ Boats for oceans and wagons for land. Just because you can fly doesn’t mean you want to! $\endgroup$
    – Joe Bloggs
    Apr 3, 2021 at 6:31

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