ByChristopher GatesANDMike Floorwalker/March 18, 2020 9:48 to be EDT/Updated: Dec. 18, 2020 1:33 pm EDT
Like most of the NCIS crew, mark Harmon"s Leroy Jethro Gibbs is a quirky dude. He stays by a collection of self-made rules, which contains nuggets choose "Don"t ever accept one apology from who that just sucker-punched you" and also "Never go almost everywhere without a knife." he likes to host impromptu meetings in the elevator. He resents modern electronics, sleeps on his couch rather of in his grasp bedroom, and also builds boats in his preventive time.

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Not just any kind of boats, either. As committed NCIS fans know, Gibbs can frequently be uncovered in his basement functioning away on full-sized sailboats, sometimes with a baseball game playing in the background. The doesn"t use power tools, however instead assembles each wood craft by hand. That doesn"t have to sail them. He just likes do them. Gibbs" boat-building habit was part of the very an initial episode that the show, and also it has ongoing throughout its 17-season operation (interestingly, Harmon is also an achieved woodworker, although the doesn"t build watercrafts himself).

Over NCIS" lengthy run,Gibbs has developed at the very least five watercrafts that we know of. According to NCIS, Gibbs made 3 vessels prior to the display began, functioned on one more from periods one through six, and also has operated on at least one much more since. In countless ways, Gibbs" watercrafts are choose extra members of the NCIS cast. No, lock don"t aid Gibbs and also the remainder of NCIS" star-studded cast solve mysteries, yet it wouldn"t be NCIS without them.


Obviously, the boats in Gibbs" basement are really important to the character. ~ above NCIS, Gibbs is a relatively straight-laced guy, and boat-building seems to be among the couple of ways that he relaxes. Woodworking is an intimate, meditative activity, and also Gibbs" choice of pastime uses a lot of insight into the character.

But Gibbs" connection to his boats goes deeper than a just hobby. See, Gibbs has actually a habit that naming each of his boats after who close to him, frequently with devastating results. Sure, naming one of his watercrafts after his second wife, Diane, seemed favor a sweet gesture at the time. ~ the marriage fell apart, though, Gibbs only had one choice: He had actually to burn the boat to the ground.

The watercraft that Gibbs was structure during the very first six periods of NCIS was a an especially personal job for the Navy special agent, as it was named after Gibbs" daughter, Kelly. In NCIS lore, Kelly and also her mother, Gibbs" an initial wife, Shannon, were eliminated in a vehicle accident after their driver to be shot by a medicine dealer.

The Kelly was supposed to be a tribute to Gibbs" late daughter, but ended up conference a grisly fate that its own. In the season 7 episode "Outlaws and In-Laws," the Kelly — i beg your pardon Gibbs perfect off-screen and gave to his mentor, Michael Franks — was found drifting at sea through two dead body on board. One ominous sign for sure, yet thankfully, the NCIS crew was on the case.


NCIS is a present full the mysteries — together a procedural, there"s a brand-new case to settle every mainly — yet one in particular has vexed fans since the an extremely beginning: how does Gibbs get his substantial sailboats the end of his basement? As much as we"ve seen, there"s only one door come the secret workshop, and also it"s no nearly large enough for a full-sized watercraft to right through.

For his part, Gibbs appears to like maintaining everyone in the dark. Once one personality asked Gibbs just how he gets the boats outside, Gibbs quipped, "Break the bottle," referencing the comparable (but easily-solved) secret about how model ships acquire in bottles. Another time, Gibbs referenced knocking out a wall and building a ramp, yet the logistics of removed an underground wall surface remain unexplained. Occasionally, Gibbs answers questions about his watercrafts with his signature steely stare. Intimidating? Yes. Informative? not so much.

As a result, pan have started coming up through their very own theories. There"s some proof that Gibbs build his watercrafts in pieces and also takes them exterior for final assembly (the Kelly"s hull is being developed in periods one, two, and also three, while occupational on the cabin starts in season four), however even those smaller sized chunks wouldn"t fit v Gibbs" basement door. One wall of Gibbs" basement isn"t ever shown, definition there could be an opening we"ve never seen, although it would have to be awfully big.

The one thing we do know? NCIS probably won"t let us in top top the truth. Only one various other character, the fan-favorite forensic scientist Abby Sciuto, has identified the an enig — and, like Gibbs, she refuses to tell.


Officially, the Kelly to be a Glen-L Amigo, a 22-foot sailboat the Glen-L explains as "a heavy boat capable of significant long-distance offshore and coastal cruising."

According to Glen-L, NCIS" producers got to out come Glen-L directly around featuring the Amigo on the show however required a very quick turnaround time. That brought about a flurry that negotiations between Glen-L and the NCIS production crew, eventually resulting in the unfinished vessel featured in NCIS" early on seasons. However, once it to be time for the Kelly to collection sail, production couldn"t discover a finished Amigo to film, so they swapped in a different kind of boat and also hoped pan wouldn"t notice.

Later, Gibbs started working top top a Glen-L Barrelback, which isn"t a sailboat however a wooden motorboat. In the 2014 NCIS episode "Honor your Father," it"s revealed the Gibbs and his father made a little Barrelback named Chickadee once Gibbs to be still a child. After Gibbs" dad pass away, the NCIS investigator secured plans because that a similar boat and quickly obtained to work, continuing Gibbs" tradition of using his boats to respect members that his family.


All of this argues a question: will NCIS fans ever before get to check out Gibbs sail away, perhaps right into retirement, on the boat he built? Well, Gibbs (and Harmon) are getting on in years, and operating in a demanding, stressful job for rather some time. In the season 16 episode "Lost Time," Gibbs addressed the opportunity of retirement through his therapist — and he didn"t seem as well psyched around the idea.

"What"s your end game, anyway?" the therapist want to know. "If not prison or retirement, then exactly how do you desire all this to finish for you? once will girlfriend ever have the ability to say, mission accomplished?" Gibbs had actually no answer; he just responded the he owed too lot to his team to depart. Harmon, though, has actually sung a different tune.

In one interview every the means back in 2010, the star said, "From the beginning here, I constantly thought that part of his path in dealing with his team is come prepare them because that a time as soon as he"s no here. So, I could see a time absolutely in the future where they take the project over and they relocate on, and also Gibbs it s okay on his boat and sails away" (via CheatSheet).

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That would definitely be a fitting end to an iconic character — let"s just hope his team doesn"t mean Gibbs, before he sails off right into the sunset, to let on as to exactly just how the hell he got the boat out of his basement. We have a feeling that"s just something that they, and NCIS" fans, will have to keep on wondering.