How to steal ships in Starfield

How to steal ships in Starfield
(Image credit: Bethesda)

If you're looking for information on how to steal ships in Starfield, then you either want a quick solution to improving your current vessel or you're considering entering a life of piracy on the black seas (space). Swiping ships isn't particularly difficult once you know the process involved, but it's also not as profitable as you might expect due to the fees you'll encounter if you want to claim them as your own or sell them on. While you can battle your way aboard any ship with enough willpower, you may find you're not able to pilot it and fly away until you've unlocked the necessary skills.

Still, there are plenty of ships you can steal for yourself even from the start, so for those who want to know how to hotwire a ship for themselves and add to their growing armada of spacecraft, here's how to steal ships in Starfield and if it's worth doing.

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 targeted lock-ons 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.

There's 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.

© GamesRadar+. Not to be reproduced without permission

Joel Franey
Guides Writer

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.