Swimming is an inherent ability of all player characters, and some mobs, which allows one to travel in and under water. Swimming is slower than running, but faster than walking. The control method is similar to flying.

When your character is in the water, press the sit key will dive deeper, while pressing the jump key (defaults to Space key) will surface. You can hold the left mouse button to look around. You can hold the right mouse button and then move your mouse up and down to change your swim direction. Moving your character forward or backwards will then make them swim in the direction you have chosen. As a ghost or while water-walking, pressing both mouse buttons and angling the camera downward will allow your ghost to swim.

When underwater, a character begins to run out of breath and may drown. Resurfacing will allow the breath bar to slowly refill. Some underwater places have 'pockets of surfacing air' visualized as underwater air bubbles coming from cracks in the crust or barnacle-like models - you can stay there and fill your breath bar. These pockets are usually places in places related to some underwater quest. Deeper waters (such as around the continents) will fatigue characters, whether they are above or below the surface. When either the breath bar or fatigue bar expires, characters begin to take damage. Both drown and fatigue damage can be healed, allowing the character to go on for a little longer.

Ghosts do not have to breath underwater, but are still affected by fatigue and can be killed a second time.

Methods to increase swim speed

  • Druids get an Ability druid aquaticform [Aquatic Form] spell that allows them to swim faster than normal while in that form. Jumping out of the water will return you back to humanoid form.
  • The [Azure Silk Belt] will give a +15% swim speed buff while worn. The belt is cloth, level 30 and can be manufactured by tailors (175 skill, taught by trainer). Note that the Azure Silk Belt effect does not stack with a Druid's Aquatic Form or the Stranglethorn Fishing Extravaganza trinket.
  • Warlocks can use the [Glyph of Unending Breath] to increase swim speed by 20%
  • There are [Swim Speed Potions] available to increase swimming speed for a very brief amount of time (100% speed increase for 20 seconds).
  • One of the rewards for the Stranglethorn Fishing Extravaganza weekly contest is [Hook of the Master Angler], a trinket that allows you to turn into a fish, which increases your speed by 35%.
  • There are two mounts can increase swim speed. One is the Inv misc fish turtle 02 [Sea Turtle] (added in Icon Wrath 30x18 Patch 3.1.0) that can be fished up in Northrend. The other is the Inv stingray2mount [Darkwater Skate] (added in Icon Legion 18x18 Patch 7.1.0) available for 500 Darkmoon Daggermaw at the Darkmoon Faire. Both of these mounts increase underwater speed by 60% but do not have any benefit for breathing underwater.

Methods to breathe longer underwater

Main article: Breath

Methods to bypass the need for swimming

  • Shamans (at level 28 [Water Walking]; which can be used with a mount), priests (at level 34 [Levitate]; cannot be used with a mount) and death knights ([Path of Frost] at level 61; which can be used with a mount) get spells that allow them (and possibly nearby party/raid members) to walk across the water surface — however, taking damage breaks the spell.
  • While in ghost form all characters can intrinsically water-walk. If you want to dive into the water while walking over it, tilt your camera to start pointing down into the water and 'go down'. To step onto the surface of the water while submerged and having cast the spell, hold the jump button. Characters can jump to get back on top of the water, however mounted characters cannot jump high enough, and will fall through.
  • In most of Azeroth and all of Outland, characters can fly over water with flying mounts. Unlike ground mounts, flying mounts cannot be mounted while in water.[citation needed]


  • Swim speed, unaffected by anything, is half the speed of running.
  • Ground mounts and flying mounts able to swim, although they travel no faster than an unmounted player.
  • You can escape combat from some mobs if they can't swim; for example, a wolf.
  • You can escape combat from some swimming mobs because they can't leave the water; for example, a threshadon.
    • In the event of an encounter where you do use the transition between land and sea to break a fight, the mob in question will evade but remain in combat with you. It should, in most cases, reset within a few seconds.
  • Some amphibious mobs can pursue from land into the water and swim after you or from water to land and run after you. For example, a murloc.

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