Age of Empires Series Wiki
Age of Empires Series Wiki
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This article is about the unit in Age of Empires. For the unit in Age of Empires II, see Trade Cog.

The Trade Boat is the basic trading vessel in Age of Empires.


Its function is for early trade to develop, generating gold in exchange for any of the other three resources, by forming trade routes between two players' Docks. Much like Fishing Boat they are unarmed and unarmored and such need protecting. They can also be upgraded to Merchant Ships in the Bronze Age.

They can be trained from the Dock. Boats are twice as resistant to conversions than regular units. Minoan naval units cost 30% less and Yamato get 20% more HP while Palmyran trading vessels can carry twice the amount of gold per trip.

A player will trade 20 of their selected resource for 20 goods (depicted as clay pots) at any allied, neutral or enemy Dock. The default resource is wood, which you can change at any time. The boat will take 20 goods from the Dock's inventory. The inventory slowly increases to a limit of 100. If there is less than 20 goods, the Trade Boat will have to wait for the Dock to produce more. When the Trade Boat returns to its home Dock it will deposit the goods, and you will receive an amount based on the distance between the two Docks. The bottom number out of 20 is the amount of gold you will receive for your resources, ranging from 7 to 75.


They can be upgraded to Merchant Ships which provide greater yield and speed. If trade is particularly important due to lack of gold on the map, then the upgrade is a top priority.

Dock Tree
Stone Age
Fishing Boat
Trade Boat
Tool Age
Light Transport
Scout Ship
Bronze Age
Fishing Ship
War Galley
Merchant Ship
Iron Age
Heavy Transport
Fire Galley
Catapult Trireme

Civilization bonuses[]

The in-game icon for a Dock

  • Yamato: Trade Boats have 20% hit points.
  • Palmyrans: Trade Boats provide twice as much gold per trip.
  • Minoans: Trade Boats costs 30% less Wood.
  • Macedonians: Trade Boats are four times more resistant against conversion.


Small boats were used by Stone Age peoples for trading across rivers, lakes, and oceans. We know, for example, that tool stone found on Aegean Islands was brought to the mainland and other islands by traders long before large seagoing boats existed. Primitive trading boats were usually dugout canoes, papyrus bundles, or hide boats with a limited cargo capacity. They probably carried only limited quantities of valuable trade goods, such as carvings, ivory, furs, tool stone, decorative minerals, and amber. Large bulk cargoes could not be carried profitably in small trading boats.
—The Age of Empires manual