20 Songs About Ships

Sailing the seas has been a popular topic in songs for centuries. From upbeat sea shanties to somber ballads, there’s something about ships that captures the human imagination. Here are 20 songs about ships, both old and new that are great to listen to. Enjoy.

1. “Big Ship” by Freddie McGregor

FREDDIE McGREGOR - Big Ship [1982]FREDDIE McGREGOR – Big Ship [1982]

“Big Ship” by Freddie McGregor speaks to the importance of staying strong and keeping one’s head held high even in the most difficult times. The song reminds us that no matter what life throws our way, we can overcome anything as long as we stick together. It’s a message of hope and perseverance, and it encourages us to never give up on our dreams. 

2. “Brandy You’re a Fine Girl” by Looking Glass

Looking Glass - Brandy (You're a Fine Girl) (Official Audio)Looking Glass – Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl) (Official Audio)

This soft rock song is a narrative about a lovely-looking girl named Brandy. Many sailors admire her and often give her compliments. One sailor, in particular, caught her attention,, and she expressed her interest in him.

But even if the man liked her back, he chose to continue sailing the seas on a ship. The track concludes with the sailor confessing his love for the sea, which he says is his life, lover, and lady. 

3. “The Crystal Ship” by the Doors

The Doors - The Crystal Ship (2006 Remastered)The Doors – The Crystal Ship (2006 Remastered)

This rock song is about longing and is centered on love. It talks about a young man who is heartbroken after he is forced to break up with his girlfriend. He reflects on their time together and remembers how happy he was. He wishes she could have been a part of his life forever.  

This atmospheric ballad perfectly captures the feeling of yearning for an idyllic life that can never be fully realized. It’s a song that touches on the feelings of love. 

4. “Rock The Boat” by Hues Corporation

Hues Corporation - Rock the BoatHues Corporation – Rock the Boat

This groovy disco tune is perfect for couples and friends looking to have a good time. The soothing harmony of the vocals and the catchy tune make this track noteworthy. In a sense, the track also makes the listener feel young again. It is a truly feel good song.

5. “If I Had a Boat” by Lyle Lovett

Lyle Lovett  - If I Had A BoatLyle Lovett – If I Had A Boat

This mellow and playful song has soothing guitar sounds and vocals. It is a track about wanting to travel and seeking adventure. Here the protagonist longs to have a boat to journey across the seas to his heart’s content.

6. “The Wreck of the Edmond Fitzerald” by Gordon Lightfoot

The Wreck of the Edmund FitzgeraldThe Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

The song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot is one of the most famous songs ever written about a shipwreck. The song tells the story of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, a cargo ship that sank in Lake Superior on November 10, 1975, killing all its 29 crew members.

The song has been covered by many different artists and is considered one of Lightfoot’s best songs. It was even featured in an episode of “The Simpsons.”

7. “Dreamboat Annie” by Heart

"Dreamboat Annie"  Heart“Dreamboat Annie” Heart

This song begins with a touching guitar intro and then picks up with a catchy drumbeat. The light and enchanting vocals of the two female singers add magic to the song.

The song is about a lady named Annie. She is an attractive and adventurous person who loves to travel from place to place.  

8. “Boats To Build” by Alan Jackson

Boats to BuildBoats to Build

The song “Boats to Build” tells the story of a young man who leaves home to find work, only to return years later after building his own boat and sailing it down the river back home. It’s a classic country tale of determination and success, told with Jackson’s signature blend of humor and heart. If you’re ever feeling down, give this song a listen. 

9. “Cruel Ship’s Captain” by Bryan Ferry

The Cruel Ship's Captain ~ Bryan FerryThe Cruel Ship’s Captain ~ Bryan Ferry

If you’ve ever been in a bad relationship, then you can probably relate to Bryan Ferry’s song “Cruel Ship’s Captain.” The lyrics are dark and depressing, but they also ring true for many of us.

The song speaks to the feeling of being trapped in a bad situation with no way out. Thankfully, Ferry’s voice is beautiful and melodic, which makes the song bearable to listen to.

In the end, it’s a great reminder that we’re not alone in our struggles. Whether you’re battling an abusive partner or just stuck in a dead-end job, this song is for you.

10. “Ship to Shore” by Chris de Burgh

Ship to shore - Chris Du Burgh - with lyricsShip to shore – Chris Du Burgh – with lyrics

If you’ve ever been in love, then you know the feeling of wanting to be with that person all the time. You can’t get them out of your head, and you’re constantly thinking about them.

That’s how you’ll feel every when you listen to Chris de Burgh’s “Ship to Shore.” The song is about a guy who is in love with a girl, and he wants to be with her all the time. He loves her so much that he’s willing to sail across the ocean just to be with her. 

11. “Come Sail Away” by Styx

Styx - Come Sail Away (Official Video)Styx – Come Sail Away (Official Video)

The song is about the fantasy of floating away through imagination and fantasy to a much happier world. Not that there’s anything wrong with reality, but it’s nice to think of a place where there are no responsibilities because life is all serene.

12. “Big Boat” by Peter Paul & Mary

Big Boat by Peter, Paul & Mary on Mono 1963 Warner Brothers LP.Big Boat by Peter, Paul & Mary on Mono 1963 Warner Brothers LP.

This upbeat song is about two lovers’ reconciliation. The lady travels by big boat to meet her partner. However, the man is not confident of meeting her again.

The reason is, he has not progressed or improved his life. In his opinion, hi thinks the woman will not be pleased with him since has not accomplished anything.   

13. “Barrett’s Privateers” by Stan Rogers

Stan Rogers - Barrett's PrivateersStan Rogers – Barrett’s Privateers

This folk song tells the story of how privateers deal with life. Based on the lyrics, it is both difficult and frustrating. They choose the job hoping for a better life. However, as time progresses, many expectations are not met.

Frustrations grow, but they have no choice but to bear it. The way this tune is sung feels like you are a crew member of a ship. It makes you want to say, “Aye, aye, captain!”

14. “Ships” by Barry Manilow

Barry Manilow - Ships (from Live on Broadway)Barry Manilow – Ships (from Live on Broadway)

This sentimental melody has a sweet vibe that can make your heart flutter. It tells about the memories of a father and son duo spending time together. The song is happy, playful, and shows that the relationship between the two is special and there is a line about sailing together.

Their fondest memories are the good times spent together. 

15. “Boat Drinks” by Jimmy Buffet

Jimmy Buffett Boat DrinksJimmy Buffett Boat Drinks

This happy and enlightening song is a lot of fun. This tune is all about enjoying and taking time to unwind. So if you are looking for a upbeat melody that will uplift your mood , try this song. 

16. “Ship of Fools” by Robert Plant

Robert Plant - 'Ship of Fools' - Official Music Video [HD REMASTERED]Robert Plant – ‘Ship of Fools’ – Official Music Video [HD REMASTERED]

The song is about a ship that is going to sail into the sunset and the passengers are all fools. They don’t know that they’re doomed and they’re just going to sail right into the storm. The song is a metaphor for life and how it can be easy to get caught up in things without realizing that you’re headed for disaster.

17. “The Last Ship” by Sting

Sting - The Last Ship (Live From The Public Theater)Sting – The Last Ship (Live From The Public Theater)

This well-written song talks about reflecting on your life. It is inspired by the singer’s hometown, where shipbuilding is a way of life.

The tune has a lot of religious references. The bottom line is, the song advices that we should be careful of the choices we make as they will shape our future.

18. “Boats” by Kenny Cheney


This song pays tribute to one of the many things Kenny Cheney loves to do, riding the waves on a boat. He talks about sailing and music in this track, which are his two biggest passions. For Kenny, the boat represents freedom. It is a means to enjoy the outdoors and unwind.

19. “Ghost Ship” by Blur

Blur - Ghost ShipBlur – Ghost Ship

This chill song has a very catchy rhythm. It gives the feel of a relaxing summer day. The beats keep your senses open, but the vocals put you at ease.

It is a fitting melody to listen to when you want to enjoy the sunset or unwind on a lazy afternoon. It can also be a good background song while you enjoy coffee on a rainy day.

20. “Sea Cruise” by Frankie Ford

Frankie Ford "Sea Cruise"Frankie Ford “Sea Cruise”

The song’s simple melody and lyrics make it easy to listen to and sing along with, and its feel-good vibe has made it a favorite at parties and celebrations for decades. Whether you’re a fan of classic rock or just looking for a catchy summer jam, “Sea Cruise” is definitely worth a listen.

Final Thoughts

Conclusion paragraph: We hope you enjoyed the list of our 20 favorite songs about ships. From singing about sailing to tying up at a pier, these are all great tunes for anyone who loves their boat! Do your favorites make it on this list? What other boatsongs do you love? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll add them to our playlist.