The painting shows, in the middle of the foreground, the Zwarte Galei or ‘Black Galley’ of Dordrecht with the flag of Prince Maurice at the mast and on the stern the flag of Jacob Michielsz. Wip. The galley is attacked by three Spanish galleys, including that of the vice-admiral, identified by the Spanish royal coat of arms on the canvas. On the stern of the Dordt galley the red banner is brought down by a Spaniard, while from the crow’s nest of the Dutch galley the Spaniards are violently bombarded.
To the left in the background is the ship of Vice-Admiral Joos de Moor with the Zeeland flag flying. This ship is attacked by two galleys, including that of Frederico Spinola, recognizable by the Spanish royal flag on the mast. Historically this is not quite correct, because according to tradition Spinola flew his flag from the stern, unless this refers to the ship of the Spanish vice-admiral, who raised this flag on his mast after Spinola’s death. However, the Spanish vice-admiral was not involved in an attack on Joos de Moor’s ship, but was involved in the attempts to overpower the ‘Black galley’. The commander is depicted commanding from the stern.
On the far right the ‘Seyl-Hondt’ of captain Logier Pietersz. is depicted, also with the Zeeland flag. The ship is attacked by two Spanish galleys. To the right of it the Zeeland galley ‘De Flesse’, recognizable by the red flag with the Vlissingen coat of arms, is firing at the Spanish galleys attacking Jacob Michielsz.
In the background, Crijn Hendrickz.’s ship, which could not take part in the battle due to a lack of wind. In the background the Zeeland/Flemish coast with the towns of Breskens, Schoondijk, Oostburg, Cadzand, Sluis, Knokke, Heist and Damme. The crescents of galleys off the coast represent the Spanish scribes at the time they divided into two groups of four.