Starfield: How to Steal Enemy Ships

Stealing enemy ships is one of the easiest and most fun ways to upgrade what you're flying, and it's rewarding to boot.

Screenshot by GameSkinny

You can steal almost any ship in Starfield, from the pirates of the Crimson Fleet and the Ecliptic to the Freestar Rangers and UC Security. As long as the ship isn’t already completely inoperable, it’s yours for the taking, should you have the desire (and are okay with a taking on a bounty for fighting friendlies). Every time you commandeer a vessel, you might end up with something better than your current vessel, or perhaps something good for later a sale, for little to no cost. Here’s how to steal ships in Starfield.

How to Steal Enemy Ships in Starfield

Screenshot by GameSkinny

If you want to steal enemy ships in Starfield, you first need to find them. There’s a dedicated strategy to doing so, but you’ll also encounter them as you explore. You can also simply travel from planet to planet in various systems until you encounter a group of hostiles. This process shouldn’t take more than a few minutes in systems at or around your level.

Even if you don’t want to use the ship you take, you can fly it to any spaceport with a Ship Services vendor and sell it. Better yet, boarding a hostile ship lets you take out the crew, and loot them and the ship itself.

In my experience, higher-level systems were less likely to spawn enemies (likely to ensure I didn’t get blown out of the sky).

One additional note: Increase Piloting to Rank 4, so no matter what ship you commandeer, you can pilot it. You’ll also need Targeting Control Systems so you can target specific parts of a ship. Then, once you’ve encountered an enemy, here are the steps you need to take to steal enemy ships.

Stealing Enemy Ships 101

  1. Take out all the enemies until only one remains. Prioritize the highest-level ship in the group, as that’s likely the one you want.
  2. Disable the final ship’s engines. Laser and EM weapons are best for this process, as they target enemy shields and system damage, respectively, without doing too much damage to the hull.
  3. Get within 500 meters, board the ship, and then take out its crew. The enemies inside a boarded ship will be at or around the level of the ship itself. A level 24 ship, for instance, will have level 20-26 enemies, or there about.
  4. Once the ship is clear, loot everything and sit in the pilot seat. Provided you have the Piloting skill to do so, you can undock from your original ship and grav jump to a port.
  5. In port, register the ship. You can freely use unregistered ships, but only registered ships can be sold and modified.

If your original ship was hauling contraband and had shielded cargo holds and scan jammers, you’ll want to check your new ship’s cargo capacity and ability to haul illegal goods. If it didn’t come equipped with shielded cargo holds or scan jammers, you might want to take your ill-gotten gains straight to a vendor that can buy them (likely The Key) or risk losing them entirely.

That’s how to steal enemy ships in Starfield. If you want to simply sell the ship after registering it, be sure to change your home ship back to the proper one. If you’re looking for more help with the game’s reams of content, check out our guides on how to get more Digipicks, increase cargo capacity, and more in our guides hub for the game.

About the author

John Schutt

John Schutt has been playing games for almost 25 years, starting with Super Mario 64 and progressing to every genre under the sun. He spent almost 4 years writing for strategy and satire site TopTierTactics under the moniker Xiant, and somehow managed to find time to get an MFA in Creative Writing in between all the gaming. His specialty is action games, but his first love will always be the RPG. Oh, and his avatar is, was, and will always be a squirrel, a trend he's carried as long as he's had a Steam account, and for some time before that.