The Dawn Treader was a ship in the Narnian Navy during the reign of King Caspian X. It was this ship that picked up Lucy, Edmund and Eustace when they traveled to Narnia, during Caspian's voyage to the Eastern end of the world.
The ship was needed for a quest to find the Seven Lost Lords, supporters of King Caspian IX that Miraz had sent to explore the Great Eastern Ocean in order to clear the way to seize his older brother's throne. When Caspian X came to power, he swore an oath to personally search for the Lords for a 'year and a day'.
The Dawn Treader was commissioned by Caspian X. Shipbuilding had completely died out in Narnia during the Telmarine occupation (therefore the seven lost lords had to buy a Galmian ship), but Caspian had begun to teach the Narnians to be once more sea-faring folk, and the Dawn Treader was the finest ship he had built yet.
It was a beautiful ship, almost a work of art. Despite this, it was only a shadow of the great Narnian ships, such as the Splendor Hyaline, that sailed in the Golden Age. The Dawn Treader was, at the time of its construction, the grandest ship built in Narnia for many hundreds of years. Although the ship is driven by sail, she could also be rowed using great oars.
The Great Journey
According to the Dryad who spoke to King Caspian, the journey to search for the Seven Lords would take a year and a day, across the Great Eastern Ocean. The journey started at the island of Cair Paravel and headed north-east to Galma. On the sovereign island of Galma, the king had a tournament in which Caspian competed and won. The ruler of Galma offered his daughter to him as his prize, but Caspian kindly refused and so the voyage continued south-east to Terebinthia.
On Terebinthia the Dawn Treader was attacked by pirates, in which they narrowly escaped and headed north-eastwards once more to the Seven Islands. Here they docked at the main island of Brenn and feasted with the natives in the capital city of Redhaven and some time after sailed far south-eastwards to the Lone Islands (the end of the known Great Eastern Ocean).
It was during this leg of the journey that Lucy, Edmund, and Eustace fell into the Narnian world and were rescued by the crew of the Dawn Treader. During the children's time on the Dawn Treader, they saw Caspian abolish slavery on the Lone Islands, find the Seven Lost Lords and come of the end of the world. Caspian also met the woman who would be his wife while on his journey.
The castle of the prow of the Dawn Treader was shaped like the head of a dragon; a person could keep watch from its mouth. Reepicheep liked to sit in the dragon head and sing. The stern was a dragon tail, and nearby was the rudder.
In the centre beneath the hatchway was a place where, when it was necessary and the wind wasn't blowing, oars from both sides of the boat were used. The rowers would sit on benches while rowing, and in the middle was an area containing food and drinks for the rowers. Hams, meat and onions as well as hammocks hung from the roof as well.
The Dawn Treader lost its mast during a storm while on Caspian's journey. The ship made it to Dragon Island by using the jury-mast, which is the bowsprit set upright and lashed to the stump of the old mast. On the island, the crew felled a tree and lopped it into a new mast.
A Sea Serpent attacked the ship after leaving Dragon Island. The crew barely managed to get away by pushing the ship out of the loop the serpent formed with its body, but not before it snapped off the gilded Dragon's Tail. It was repaired magically by Coriakin, a magician who lived in the Land of the Duffers.