Exploring the Depths: A Subnautica Survival Guide

  • Beatrice Taylor
  • Mar 10, 2024
  • 85
Exploring the Depths: A Subnautica Survival Guide

In the vast, open-world underwater adventure that is Subnautica, players are thrust into an alien ocean world filled with wonder and peril. From the moment you crash-land on the unknown ocean planet, you must navigate through beautiful yet dangerous waters, gather resources, build habitats, and craft tools in a bid to survive. This game combines exploration, survival, and crafting elements to create a thrilling experience. This guide is designed to help you not only survive but thrive in the alien aquatic environment of Subnautica. Every tip, trick, and survival strategy we'll cover comes from in-depth experience and understanding of the game's mechanics, ensuring you have the knowledge to explore the depths confidently.

Understanding Your Priorities

Surviving Subnautica begins with understanding your primary needs: oxygen, food, water, and shelter. Initially, your life pod serves as a basic shelter and source of a few essential supplies, but to truly thrive, you’ll need more. Here are steps to ensure your survival needs are met.

Oxygen: Always monitor your oxygen levels. Early on, fabricate the Standard O2 Tank to increase your oxygen supply, allowing longer dives. As you progress, look to upgrade your tank and develop vehicles like the Seamoth or Prawn Suit , which offer their own oxygen supplies for deeper exploration.

Food and Water: Catching fish with your hands or a handheld tool like the Survival Knife is your initial method for obtaining food. Cooking these fish provides more sustenance. For water, fabricating a Water Filtration Machine in your base becomes a game-changer, offering a steady supply of drinkable water. As you explore, keep an eye out for Bladderfish – they can be converted into water directly.


Shelter: While the lifespan is at its start, constructing your own habitat using the Habitat Builder tool is vital. It offers protection, storage solutions, and crafting opportunities via the Fabricator, and it enables further customization and expansion to support your explorations.

Gathering Resources

Resources are the backbone of survival in Subnautica. Minerals, metals, and flora form the basics for crafting tools, equipment, and bases. Resource deposits can vary significantly between biomes, so familiarizing yourself with different areas is crucial. Limestone outcrops give you copper and titanium, which are vital for electrical equipment and structural components. Always have your Scanner ready; scanning flora and fauna can reveal new resources and blueprints.

A Handheld Scanner is an invaluable tool, enabling you to scan fragments of technology scattered around the ocean floor, unlocking new blueprints for crafting. Be strategic in gathering resources; your storage space is limited, especially early in the game. Crafting storage containers in your base or using the storage space within vehicles can help manage this.

Exploration and Navigation

Exploration is at the heart of Subnautica, with secrets hidden in every cave system, coral reef, and deep-sea trench. The world is full of diverse biomes, each with unique resources, creatures, and challenges. Starting with the Safe Shallows , where your life pod crashes, is ideal for gathering initial resources and learning the basics. As you grow more equipped, venturing into hazardous areas like the Aurora , the crashed spaceship, or deeper zones like the Lost River becomes essential for advancement.

Building a Beacon to mark points of interest is incredibly helpful for navigation, especially when exploring complex cave systems or finding important resource deposits. The Seamoth and, later, the Cyclops submersible offer safer and faster travel across the vast ocean while also providing a mobile source of oxygen. The Seaglide, a personal transportation device, can be a lifesaver when you need to quickly return to the surface for air or escape from predators.

Managing Threats

The ocean of Subnautica is not only beautiful but teeming with life, including predators. While direct confrontation is often not the best strategy, understanding and preparing for these encounters is vital. The Stasis Rifle and Repulsion Cannon are tools that can incapacitate or deter predators, allowing for escape or safe passage.


Stealth and avoidance are usually your best strategies. Many predatory creatures have specific territories or patterns. Learning these can help you navigate through dangerous waters more safely. Utilizing the environment to your advantage, such as hiding in caves or weaving through tight coral formations, can also prove effective in avoiding danger. Additionally, some tools like the Decoy Torpedo can distract aggressive creatures, giving you enough time to get away.

Crafting and Base Building

Your ability to craft tools, equipment, and bases significantly impacts your survival and efficiency in Subnautica. Crafting begins with basic necessities like the Knife, Scanner, and O2 Tanks, but soon evolves into creating complex electronic devices, advanced diving gear, and large submarines. Understanding the crafting tree and knowing what resources are needed for your desired equipment is crucial.

Base building allows for customization and provides a safe haven with various functionalities. Starting with a basic Compartment and an Entrance Hatch, you can expand to include Bio Reactors or Solar Panels for power, Grow Beds for food, storage solutions, and even aesthetic decorations to make your underwater base feel like home. The Scanner Room enhancement can significantly help in locating resources and mapping the surrounding area.

Strategic Resource Management

Effective resource management is key to progressing through Subnautica. Initially, you'll collect everything you can find, but as your operations expand, prioritizing resources becomes paramount. Always have a blueprint or plan in mind when gathering materials to avoid overloading on unnecessary items.

Resource renewal systems such as Aquariums for breeding fish or Water Filtration Machines provide sustainable solutions to basic needs. Additionally, crafting multiple Battery Chargers or Power Cell Chargers can prevent you from being stranded or caught in a dangerous situation without power. Managing your inventory efficiently, whether inside your base, within your lifespan, or on your person, ensures that you have the necessary tools and resources at your disposal when you need them.

Learning from the Environment

One of the unique aspects of Subnautica is its emphasis on environmental storytelling. Wrecks, data downloads, and ancient alien structures are scattered throughout the ocean, offering clues about the planet's history and hints for progressing in the game. Taking the time to explore these sites thoroughly and scan everything in sight can unlock new blueprints, reveal valuable resources, and provide insights into the broader narrative of the game.


Environmental cues can also offer hints on how to interact with the ecosystem. For instance, observing predator-prey interactions can teach you which creatures to avoid and how different species might be utilized for your benefit. This immersive learning approach encourages players to engage deeply with the game's world, making every discovery rewarding.

Advanced Exploration and Endgame Preparation

As you approach the late game, your focus shifts toward deeper exploration and solving the mysteries of the planet. Upgraded vehicles like the Cyclops allow for long-range expeditions into some of the deepest and most dangerous areas of the game. Crafting specialized equipment such as the Thermal Suit and upgrading your Prawn Suit will enable exploration of extreme environments, including volcanic zones and deep-sea trenches.

At this stage, gathering rare resources for advanced crafting, uncovering the final pieces of the story, and preparing for the construction of the Neptune Escape Rocket are your primary goals. The journey toward escaping the planet is fraught with challenges, including finding the cure for the Kharaa bacterium and disabling the alien quarantine enforcement platform. This endgame phase requires careful preparation, resource management, and a willingness to encounter the most terrifying creatures and extreme conditions Subnautica has to offer.


Subnautica is a rich, immersive game that offers a unique combination of survival, exploration, and crafting within an alien underwater world. Successfully navigating and thriving in this environment requires understanding basic survival strategies, effective resource management, and a keen sense of curiosity. By following the strategies outlined in this guide, you’re now better equipped to face the challenges of Subnautica. Remember, every expedition into the depths is an opportunity for discovery. Embrace the unknown, and immerse yourself in the adventure of surviving an alien ocean.

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