After the destruction of the Twelve Colonies in a devastating genocidal attack on the Colonial worlds, Commander Adama orders all survivors to find what operational ships that remain on their shattered worlds and fly them towards battlestar Galactica, the sole surviving battlestar after her sister warships are also destroyed in the two-prong Cylon attack. With nowhere else to call home, Adama decrees that the remnants of humanity will search for the Thirteenth Tribe on a planet called Earth.
Under the guardianship of Galactica, the Fleet comprises of 220 civilian ships. With the exception of Galactica, the ships are not capable of lightspeed flight. The Fleet's overall speed is limited to that of the slowest ship within the group. As all ships in the Fleet were filled to (or over) capacity, removing the slower ships from the caravan is not an option.
- Battlestar Pegasus briefly joins the Fleet in "The Living Legend, Part I" and "Part II", but loses contact with the Fleet during the Battle of Gamoray.
The Fleet is also comprised of shuttles and Colonial Vipers, which are likely not indicated in the "220 ship" figure given in "Saga of a Star World". It is indicated that there are non-military shuttles that ferry people and, possibly, supplies throughout the Fleet. One such craft is the shuttle Canaris (TOS: "The Man with Nine Lives"), in addition to the shuttle piloted by Aurora of the Celestra (TOS: "Take the Celestra").
- In the scripts for "Lost Planet of the Gods, Part I" and "The Man with Nine Lives", two ships are mentioned in scenes that were either cut or never filmed.
- The Yarborough, a freighter that sent a distress signal to Galactica in the magnetic void in a continuation of the scene on the bridge as the fleet entered in "Lost Planet of the Gods, Part II".
- The Crucible, Siress Blassie's billet ship where the residents were largely over the age of sixty yahrens and likely corresponds to the "Senior Ship" mentioned onscreen in "The Man with Nine Lives".
- A tip barge may be a place for depositing rubbish, if the word "tip" is used in the British manner.