In the original Don't Starve and Reign of Giants (RoG) content, the Ocean acts as a barrier, and during Winter, a place for Pengulls to spawn before they hop onto shore. No living thing can cross the ocean, even flying mobs like Batilisks. Flotsam can be found in the ocean, and it is the only object the player can interact with on the ocean.
Objects that are situated on the coast very close to the ocean may drop their items in the ocean, and aside from bugged objects, they will fall into the water with a splash.
In the Shipwrecked DLC, the ocean plays a much larger role in the player's everyday life. It is accessible by boat or raft, and is commonly divided into several sections: Ocean (Shallow), Ocean (Medium), Ocean (Deep), and Coral Reef.
Some items, instead of sinking, will stay afloat. Unless the item sunk in Deep Ocean, the sunken item will periodically create bubbles, indicating its location. Within 2 days from the time the item sunk, it can be retrieved by sailing over it while using a Trawl Net. If the item is not retrieved during this time, it will be lost forever. Items that sink in the Deep Ocean tiles are immediately lost and cannot be retrieved.
- Light blue terrain.
- No waves (present waves will disappear once they reach the edge).
- Mussels, Wobster Dens, Dogfish, and Seaweed are found here.
- Surround all islands, but may extend out.
Ocean (Medium & Deep)
- Light/dark patchy blue when being next to shallow ocean, or solid dark blue terrain for the most distant from land.
- Waves form and travel here.
- Stink Rays, Suspicious Bubbles (Whales), Shoals, Swordfish, and Volcano are found here.
- Seagulls will land here during Mild Season.
- Never touches an island - it indicates empty aquatic space in-between.
Ocean (Ship Graveyard)
- Small patches of dark colored areas in the Deep Ocean.
- Wrecks and Watery Graves can only be found here. Commonly contains Shoals, Seaweed and Swordfish.
- Can be next to Medium Ocean, but not Shallow Ocean or islands.
- The Strange New Powers update added Pengulls that initially spawn in the ocean before moving onto the shore in Winter.
- Shadow Creatures are able to cross into and out of the waters as they please, but will stay to run to the player on land should they be aggressive towards them.
- Players using console commands can get over the ocean but going too far will cause the screen to turn black, only showing the player character, HUD, the Crafting Tabs, the Day-Night Indicator and the Inventory. Going further will cause the game to crash.