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Skuldelev 5 was a warship, but smaller and more slender than Skuldelev 2. It had an overall length of 60 feet, but was only 8 feet wide. The ship is made of oak, except for the three side planking strakes which are of ash, and turned out to be resued planking from another ship.

Unlike Skuldelev 2, this warship was not designed primarily for military transport, but rather for swift raids, including into very shallow waters.

The ship was rowed by 24 rowers, with more room allotted between floors. The rowers could take longer strokes, and could thus go faster.