Forget Sea of Thieves' boats and check out Pillars of Eternity 2's! They're a whole new feature in the sequel and there's a lot more to them than I expected.
Your boat is a mobile home and your way around the Deadfire archipelago, although you have to keep an eye on resources you gobble while you explore - it's quite expensive in that regard.
Boats are operated by a crew you collect on your journeys around the world and they occupy positions on your ship according to their proficiencies, which seem to be Boatswain, Helmsman, Navigator, Cannoneer, Surgeon, Cook and Deckhand.
As Cannoneer suggests, boat battles are a thing. There's a bespoke turn-based strategy game with a storybook presentation built especially for it. When battling, you and an enemy ship jockey for position and shoot at one another in an effort to either have them to surrender, flee, or get near enough to board. Once you board, it's Pillars of Eternity 2 combat as normal, with characters on deck and two ships side by side.
Obsidian has even gone as far as to rewrite and record - with a choir - sea shanties for your crew to sing, providing their morale is high enough. Morale can be affected by special events like storms, which occur while at sea, and how you deal with them. Again, this is done in a storybook presentation.
There will be several kinds of boats to choose from and customise, and you can swap between them easily. All of the above is shown in a video featuring game director Josh Sawyer and producer Katrina Garsten who have inexplicably - but brilliantly - been turned into puppets.
The boats are also now live in the Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire backer beta, which you can join for $20 if you didn't pledge way back when. Alternatively wait - it's not long now. Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire comes out 3rd April on PC, Linux and Mac. Console versions - even Switch - will follow later in the year.