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Disambig.png This article is about the game mechanic. For other uses, see Sonar (Disambiguation).

Sonar in Barotrauma is used to navigate the underwater abyss, locate objectives, and identify threats. Some installations and handheld items have the added benefit of mineral finding.


The following objects can be installed on the submarine itself.

Handheld Items

The following items are portable.

Passive vs Active Scanning

Passive scanning:

  • Completely silent
  • Receives sound sources from anywhere, including far away if it is loud enough
  • Makes it difficult to see things that don't make sound (cavern walls, ship wrecks, etc), unless in extremely close proximity

Active scanning:

  • Sends pings in a 360 degree circle outward from the center of the submarine, identifying objects that the ping bounces off of
  • Very loud
  • Very easy to see everything in range

Directional Ping

This function allows active scanning to focus into a narrow field of view, which causes the sub to stay quiet while still allowing the crew to "see" where they are going. This mode is most useful when traveling slowly, and in missions where creeping up on an enemy is preferred.

The direction of the ping can be clicked and dragged to move it along a 360 degree circle.

Mineral Finder

With the Mineral Finder enabled, a single ping will immediately cause nearby minerals to appear as small, white dots. These dots can also be hovered over with the mouse to determine the name of mineral. Collectible plants, such as Sea Yeast Shroom, will not show up on sonar.

Visible Objects


Both crewmates and pirates will show up while they are swimming in the water outside the submarine.


All Creatures are visible to sonar.


Dormant, destroyed submarines are usually identified by a large oval teetering over the edge of an underwater cliff. These wrecks are sometimes occupied by an aggressive creature that takes over the sub's guns and uses them when threatened. Approach these from the bottom and sides, not from the top.


(To do)

Ice Spires

Long, green lines jutting out from cavern walls are Ice Spires. These can be destroyed with turrets or a Plasma Cutter, breaking the ice and making the area immediately passable.


Strong currents capable of pushing, pulling, and shaking the submarine are visible as wavy blue lines.

Ballast Flora

The parasitic Ballast Flora will appear as tiny blue specks.

Sonar Flora

Orange speckles identify a zone of Sonar Flora, disrupting the sonar signal in that area.

Piezo Crystals

A bright white chunk identifies Piezo Crystals, capable of short-circuiting submarine electronics when approached, and will explode violently when destroyed.