How to steal ships in Starfield

How to steal ships in Starfield

How to steal ships in Starfield

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Knowing how to steal ships in Starfield means you can get new starships for free and get some new loot along the way. If you’re frequently commandeering enemy vessels, you’ve probably embraced the life of a pirate on the black seas of space, but it’s also a useful – if morally reprehensible – way of getting new and sometimes better ships for little cost in Starfield.

However, you need to be aware that not all ships can be stolen as your rank in certain skills may impact the classes of ship you can even pilot. Furthermore, before you get any business ideas, stealing and selling ships isn’t hugely profitable due to significant fees that you have to pay to even sell a new spacecraft. Regardless, there’s plenty to steal, including some of the best Starfield ships, so here’s what you need to know about stealing ships in Starfield.

Recent updates

This guide was last updated on November 16, 2023, to ensure all the necessary ship-stealing information is accurate and up to date.

How to steal spaceships in Starfield and keep them for yourself

Boarding a ship in Starfield

(Image credit: Bethesda)

To steal a ship in Starfield is a fairly simple process once you know how:

  1. Find the ship you want to steal and disable it in combat, using weapon targeting systems to specifically take out its engines without destroying it.
  2. At this point you should be able to board the disabled ship. For more help with this process, check our guide on how to dock in Starfield and board ships.
  3. Once you’re on board, clear the ship of enemy NPCs.
  4. Make your way to the cockpit and interact with the pilot’s seat to fly it. 
  5. However, if the ship is grade B or C, you won’t be able to fly it without several ranks in Piloting, one of the Starfield skills in the Tech tree.
  6. If you can fly it, undock from your previous ship and take it to a spaceport. The ship left behind will magically be added to your fleet and can be retrieved from any port.
  7. Go to the spaceport technician and ask to view your ships.
  8. Select to “Register” the newly stolen ship. This will cost some credits – and make the ship officially yours!

Technically, registering a ship isn’t essential to this process, but it is important if you want to do anything with the ship beyond simply flying it. Registering the craft costs money, but you can’t do any Starfield ship customization on a craft until you register it – nor can you sell it on to somebody else.

This is why piracy and stealing spaceships isn’t as profitable as you’d think, as registering a ship is a big spend that eats into the money you make. Still, you do usually come out in the green, especially if you loot the stolen ship’s hold and captain’s locker for credits and cargo – if you don’t already know how to access Starfield ship storage and inventory, we can help you out. 

There are also moments where ships are simply not available, with the player not authorised to fly them – we’re not entirely sure what determines that at time of writing, except making sure that the ship has no NPCs on it.

Finally, it’s also possible to steal certain ships when they’re parked on planets, which is simply a matter of following the process above from stage 3 onwards, fighting your way to the landing bay on foot rather than blowing out the engines with a spaceship.

What happens to your ship when you steal another one in Starfield?

How to steal ships in Starfield

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Don’t worry about your old ship when you steal another one – it’s completely safe and will be waiting for you if you want it back. Any craft you own and leave behind will be automatically protected and can be accessed from any starport from your usual list of ships, presumably flown to a safe location by some sort of autopilot…? We’re not sure, but the long and short of it is, you don’t need to be concerned.

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Joel Franey is a writer, journalist, podcaster and raconteur with a Masters from Sussex University, none of which has actually equipped him for anything in real life. As a result he chooses to spend most of his time playing video games, reading old books and ingesting chemically-risky levels of caffeine. He is a firm believer that the vast majority of games would be improved by adding a grappling hook, and if they already have one, they should probably add another just to be safe. You can find old work of his at USgamer, Gfinity, Eurogamer and more besides.

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