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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.

Sonar Modes

Passive Sonar

Passive sonar works by listening to the surrounding environment. Because sound is not being emitted, the player can stealthily pass by hostile Creatures without attracting them; though other Installations (e.g., Large Engine) may produce sound which can attract Creatures. A downside is that the submarine must be within close proximity of the surrounding terrain; though surroundings that emit louder signals (e.g., Alien Ruins) will be more lit up on the Sonar monitor without having to be in close proximity.

Active Sonar

Active sonar works by emitting sound waves in all directions to map the environment. While emitting sound, creatures can be attracted to the sound and will prove hazardess if unprepared. With its risks, it allows greater ease of steering the submarine.

Directional Sonar

Utilizing Active sonar, Directional sonar allows the player to control the direction in which the sonar emits sounds.

Mineral Scanner

Utilizing Active sonar, the Mineral Scanner can detect nearby Minerals. Any detected Minerals will be marked with a small hexonal dot. Hovering the mouse over these will display the name of the Mineral. Collectable plants, such as Sea Yeast Shroom, will not be detected by the Mineral Scanner.

Sonar Installations

Handheld Sonar

Visible Objects


Destructable Terrain

Artificial Structures

Sonar Disruption

Appearing as orange dots on the sonar, disruption occurs when something is obstructing the sonar's scanning capabilities. Can be caused by a multitude of different factors, such as Sonar Flora, Volcanoes, or EMP effects, like the attacks from a Black Moloch. When inside a sonar disruption field, it will be more difficult to navigate the submarine as terrain will improperly appear on the sonar, or not at all.

Ballast Flora

The parasitic Ballast Flora will appear as tiny blue specks.


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

Game Mechanics
Game Modes