This very short and easy guide will show you how to board an enemy ship to either get all that good loot fast or to get new crew members relatively easily. Keep in mind since ships are randomly generated results will vary per player.
Guide to Effectively Board an Enemy Ship
Getting Ready and Equipping your Boarding Crew
First, you're gonna need a shuttle obviously, only one is needed.
Second, make sure you have 4 crew members to spare. Any less would make the fight a little sluggish. Bringing more than 4 is optional but not recommended as you'll see later in the guide.
Third, you're gonna want to equip all your crew with shotguns. Assault rifles might seem better because of the extra damage but ultimately shotguns win out almost every time because you shoot more projectiles and they spread out wide. This makes the enemy crew more likely to surrender, especially when there's a hail of projectiles constantly being fired at them instead of one.
Fourth, make sure you only board as soon as the crew wake up. Why? Comfort level is essentially a second health bar and when it reaches 0 your crew member will go down for a time.
Boarding a Ship and the Game's Cover Mechanics
Having radar on your ship can be used to make this next part a little easier but not required. Scan to the left or right of the enemy's airlock to find their large storage, you will be using it to your advantage.
Cover works a little weird in the game. From my experience, when a crew member is behind cover like a bed or table they almost never get hit. The problem though is that these types of cover are weak and will be destroyed very easily making them useless for cover. Large storage containers cant be destroyed though so it will be your only defense.
You can fit four crew behind the storage cover easily, three directly behind the cover with the forth behind the middle crew member. Problems do come up with more because they are very exposed to flanking enemies.
Once you're ready, draft your crew and shuttle, dock to an airlock and unload the crew. Pause the game as soon as you unload and look around for a large storage container and place all your crew behind it. While behind the storage, your crew will hardly get hit from the front if at all. You'll want to focus fire enemies who try to flank you, you can do this by selecting all your crew and right clicking on a single enemy. Eventually you'll get everyone to surrender as they get hit with waves and waves of shotgun pellets.
This method will not work 100% of the time, but this tactic will drastically change your chances of survival even when outnumbered.
Reloading several times might be required because of the random generation of ships or because you think the surrender mechanic is really broken.
Enjoy the easy loot and new recruits.