This article is about the Exploration Tips. You may be looking for the Getting Started page.

Exploring in Subnautica can be a risky business that can go sideways quickly without some planning. When you're surrounded by predators and 500 meters below, an extra battery can make the difference between life and death. Along with this, Subnautica has a unique design that requires a thorough exploration of each area in order to fully access the next. This guide is intended to provide a helpful overview of each general area as well as tips and tricks you can employ to ensure that you're prepared for each new dive.

Note: This is not a general guide for the game. It is specifically meant to help in navigating the different areas and biomes of Subnautica.

Any items listed in an area's section are ones that the player has access to or can craft with the resources available in that area or in preceding areas.

0 m - 100 m (Safe Shallows & Kelp Forests)

When you begin the game, you have very little in the way of swimming or diving capabilities. With only basic fins and about 45 seconds worth of oxygen, even visiting the ocean floor can be dangerous.


While exploring the Safe Shallows and Kelp Forests around your life pod, you should keep the following items in your inventory at all times. Don't be afraid to use them! Just make sure you replace anything you use as soon as possible.

Area Hazards

The starting area may be called the 'Safe Shallows', but there are still some dangers to keep in mind. Below is a list of potential hazards you may face and the tactics/equipment you can employ to mitigate them.



  • Keep at least one cured fish and one bottle of water with you at all times.


  • Keep at least one first aid kit with you at all times.
  • One or two swipes from a survival knife will deter most aggressive enemies in this area.


Starting out, exploring the ocean can be disorienting and strenuous; especially with little in the way of navigation and resources.

Returning to Important Locations

  • The crashed Aurora and your life pod provide a good point of reference to approximate a nearby location.
  • Physical landmarks can also be helpful to find nearby places, but without a very good memory it can still be difficult to remember the landscape.
  • The compass1 can help immensely by giving you a directional heading; upon discovering a new location, simply note the direction and distance to your life pod.
  • Beacons1 make navigation much simpler. Just place a beacon at a location you wish to note. I recommend using descriptive names to make different beacons easy to tell apart.

Making the Most of Each Trip

  • By keeping an extra bit of food and water in your inventory, you won't have to cut trips short due to hunger or thirst.
  • Check your batteries often and always carry a spare with full charge. The last thing you need is your Seaglide dying in the middle of a cave system or 500 m from your life pod.
  • Keep your inventory clear. It can be easy to lose track of free space when you're gathering supplies to craft a new tool; utilize a floating locker or the life pod's storage to store any materials you aren't currently using.

Leaving the Area

Before you move on to deeper waters, you should make sure that you are prepared for any challenges you might face.

Upcoming Hazards

  • Radiation
    • The radiation suit is needed to survive for long in areas close to the Aurora
  • Depth
    • Diving deeper than 100 m consumes additional oxygen. A rebreather can counter this.

Essential Gear

Before leaving this area, you should have the following equipment:

  • Scanner
  • High Capacity Oxygen Tank
  • Seaglide
  • Beacons/Compass

1Explore the area to locate the blueprint for this item

100 m - 200 m (Grassy Plateaus, Mushroom Forests, & Crash Zone)

At this point, you should have a decent amount of oxygen to your name, as well as some tools that enable speedy navigation and efficient mapping.


Even though you now have better tools and equipment to aid in your journeys, it is still wise to keep some emergency provisions on your person.

  • 1 x First Aid Kit
  • 1 x Cured Fish (Reginald is best)
  • 1 x Bottle of Water (Disinfected is best)
  • 2 x Battery

Area Hazards

As you go deeper, you'll find new dangers and threats; but you may also find that some familiar hazards have gotten tougher.


  • Prioritize building a Seamoth.
    • When you're over 100 m below, going to the surface for air gets impractical. The best thing you can do is build a Seamoth and periodically re-enter it while you explore.
  • Know your limits.
    • Keep in mind how deep you are and how long it might take you to surface if need be. It may be tempting to stay a moment longer to scan something, but you can always come back.


  • At this point, you're likely making long trips that take you far away from your life pod or base, which means that the trip back can take enough time to pose a threat. Make sure your hunger and thirst are 70%+ before each outing, and keep some backup rations on you.


  • Most small predators can be dealt with by swimming away or swiping at them with a knife. However, it is a good idea to keep a repair tool with you to undo any damage to a Seamoth.
  • You now run the risk of running into larger predators (like the Reaper Leviathan). These creatures can kill you outright and destroy a Seamoth easily. For now, you do not have access to proper defenses, and your best bet is to simply flee as quickly as possible.