The vaults found in the hearts of Sea of Theives' skeleton forts contain a huge amount of treasure — over ten thousand gold coins worth of chests, skulls, and artifacts, to be specific. However, getting into the vault is not an easy task. You'll need to sail your way through heavy cannon fire to even get to the island, and once there, you'll need to fight your way through 15 grueling waves of skeleton enemies.

A pirate crew prepared with a plan, though, can complete this gauntlet much easier then a crew that isn't. Here's three tips that will help you conquer skeleton forts and take all the loot within.

Sail at full speed towards the fort

Since forts are protected by gun emplacement towers that will lace your vessel with cannonballs, it may seem like a good idea to pepper them with your own weaponry to destroy them before moving in. This won't help — the AI skeleton gunners are deadly accurate at any range, and it can be difficult to line up a good shot on the top of the towers with your cannons. Any errors in your crew's play and you'll be meeting a watery grave.

Instead, turn your ship to directly face the fort and go full speed, making sure to keep your sails in the wind if possible. You will get hit a few times, but getting right up to the island puts your ship in the cannons' blind spot, meaning your ship is no longer in danger. An added bonus of not fighting the tower gunners is that you'll hear them start shooting ships of other players if they approach, warning you of their presence.

Cutlasses are your best friend

Firearms are great, but unfortunately for you, ammunition for them is scarce during raids. There's only one ammo box at each fort, and they're usually in dangerous places near where enemy skeletons respawn. For this reason, you would be wise to bring along a cutlass in place of one of your two handheld guns.

Not only do cutlasses not require ammo, they're also a great weapon for taking on hordes of foes because of how fast you can swing them. A group of players with cutlasses can cut down over a dozen skeletons in seconds, so there's no better weapon to bring with you.

Lure skeletons into cannon sightlines

While it's true that cannons are primarily meant for ship-to-ship combat, their ability to decimate infantry on land should not be underestimated. A well-aimed cannonball can kill a large group of foes, so if your crew is starting to get overwhelmed, it may be wise to use them during the raid to do some heavy damage.

The skeleton enemies will mindlessly chase players everywhere except into deep water, so luring them all to the beach where you anchored your ship is a good idea. They can't follow you through the water, and they'll be left wide open to your vessel's cannonball barrage. If your ship isn't in a good position for this, then you can employ similar tactics in the forts by baiting them in front of the cannons in the fort's center area. Don't hit a powder keg with one while a teammate is near, though, or else they'll be instantly killed.

Your thoughts

Do you have any strategies for raiding skeleton forts? Let me know in the comments.

Read: Sea of Thieves buyer's guide

Sea of Thieves is available now for $59.99 on Xbox One, or you can play it as part of the $9.99/mo Xbox Game Pass.