New in patch 1.05 are Mercenary Navies. These fleets sail from the merchant republics, and can provide 100 ships to the Realm that hires them. The costs, it should be noted, are high.
Mercenary Navies appear in the Mercenary tab just as normal mercenaries do.
Mercenary Navies follow the same rules for hiring and maintenance as normal mercenaries, so you’d better have a full bank account if you want to hire them.
NOTE: The information below is no longer accurate. After investigating this with commenter Zack (Thanks for the help, Zach!), it appears that mercenary navies will now always start with a commander, and the Titular titles cannot be usurped as was the case immediately after v1.05′s release. It is likely, though untested, that these leaders can still be vassalized in the same manner as other mercenary leaders and Holy Orders can be vassalized. I could delete it, but then this page would be very short.
Titular Naval Titles
The above “No character” label tells us that the new Titular Titles for these Navies have not yet been claimed. If you own the home county of a Mercenary Navy, then you will have the opportunity to create or usurp a Duke-level title tied to the Mercenary Navy there. You will have an alert box indicating that these titles are available – clicking it, and cycling through to the naval title will give you this pane:
This Titular title counts as a Duke-level title for opinion effects. If you hold two duchies, and a naval title, you will get the -10 Too many held duchies opinion penalty.
Holding a Naval title will change the economics of hiring your navy, in a good way. How does free with 20% maintenance sound?
While the title is held, the army is not hirable by others. This screenshot was taken from the King of Croatia…
These titles can be granted as any other, and will provide an opinion bonus (+60 Granted a…)equal to the Duke level titles.
Once you have granted a Naval title to a vassal, you will still see a reduced fee for hiring the navy.