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Drowning occurs when a player's breath meter fully depletes while submerged in water or honey. While drowning, the player will take continuous damage until they are able to successfully counter it with an accessory, a potion, or a pocket of air. Otherwise, the player will eventually die. The rate at which drowning occurs cannot be slowed down nor sped up, unless the player has certain accessories equipped.

NPCs can also drown if stuck or forced underwater, making this a very effective way of killing NPCs. Notably, house validity is not affected by liquids, meaning they can be 'automatically' drowned by flooding their house. The only NPC that is immune to drowning is the Skeleton Merchant, although the Nurse can heal herself fast enough to avoid drowning.

Drowning may happen at any place with large enough bodies of water or honey to fully submerge the player, with the Ocean and Bee Hives being prime natural candidates for such an event. Equipping a Fish Bowl can be used to manually drown the player. Lava can never drown the player; it deals damage on contact instead.

Drowning time

The rate at which health is lost changes depending on which breathing equipment or potions are used. Times shown below are in real-world time (not game time).

Item Health loss rate Time till death
(from 100 HP)
Time till death
(from 500 HP)
None 17.14 HP/sec
2 HP every 7 ticks[1]
5.83 seconds 29.17 seconds
Breathing ReedBreathing Reed 8.57 HP/sec
2 HP every 14 ticks
11.67 seconds 58.33 seconds
Any of the following diving equipment:
Diving Helmet Diving Helmet
Diving Gear Diving Gear
Jellyfish Diving Gear Jellyfish Diving Gear
Arctic Diving Gear Arctic Diving Gear
(These do not stack.)
4.29 HP/sec
2 HP every 28 ticks
23.33 seconds 1 minute 56 seconds
Breathing ReedBreathing Reed
paired with any diving equipment
2.14 HP/sec
2 HP every 56 ticks
46.67 seconds 3 minutes 53 seconds
Any of the following Merfolk equipment:
Neptune's Shell Neptune's Shell
Moon Shell Moon Shell
Celestial Shell Celestial Shell
Player cannot lose
health to drowning
n/a n/a
Gills PotionGills Potion Player cannot lose
health to drowning
n/a n/a
  • Note that the Breathing Reed needs to be held in order to take effect.


  • The Flipper and its upgrades allow players to swim. This greatly aids underwater travel and usually greatly reduces the likelihood of drowning. A hook can be used alternatively, if there are other types of solid terrain nearby.
  • The Water Walking Potion or the Water Walking Boots and its upgrades allow walking on the surface of liquids, preventing accidental drowning. However it is still possible to sink.
  • Due to the reduced movement speed honey grants when players are in it, a player could get stuck and easily drown in honey if they do not have proper equipment.


  • Desktop 1.2:
    • Lava no longer causes drowning.
    • Honey introduced, and can drown the player.


  1. A tick is a time unit countable by the software. Most of Terraria's updating logic happens every tick. A tick has the length of 1/60th of a second, hence there are 60 ticks in a second and 3600 ticks in a minute.