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How Does Gibbs Get the Boat Out of the Basement?

Written by Anthony Roberts / Fact checked by Jonathan Larson

how does gibbs get the boat out of the basement

NCIS Season 19 answered the 17-plus-year riddle, how does Gibbs get the boat out of the basement?

The answer shocked viewers for its simplicity. Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs broke down one of the walls in his basement, allowing him to remove a boat and start with a new project.

Given how he has half-jokingly given “break the bottle” as the answer to inquiries about how he got the boats out of his basement, this makes perfect sense. How else could Gibbs remove his boat from the basement?

Ways Gibbs Get the Boat Out of the Basement


NCIS Special Agent Gibbs might have the driest sense of humor in his team, but nobody questions his dedication and commitment. And when he is not out solving NCIS cases, he is busy with his chisel and other hand tools building boats in the basement.

The basement is not necessarily the best place to build a boat by hand. Notwithstanding logistical challenges, getting the watercraft out of the basement is next to impossible.

Hence, viewers were naturally curious. How did Gibbs get his boat out of the basement? For more than 17 years, NCIS fans speculated about how to remove a boat from the basement.

1. Disassemble, move, reassemble


In Season 1, NCIS chief forensic scientist Abby Sciuto theorized that Agent Gibbs painstakingly disassembles his newly-handcrafted boat, moves it out of the basement, and tediously reassembles everything outside the home.

This theory is not as absurd as it sounds. After all, Agent Gibbs was an ex-Marine sniper. These highly-trained military professionals thrive on perfection and patience. It is possible to disassemble the boat, remove the parts outside, and reassemble it in a shed before launching it into the water.

2. Movable walls and pulley systems


In Agent Gibbs’ final stint with NCIS (Episode 4, “Great Wide Open,” Season 19), Agent Nick Torres confided in Gibbs he always knew Gibbs would get the boats out of his basement.

Torres said Gibbs’s house has an underground coal tunnel network, with pulley systems and movable walls to enable Gibbs to remove his sailboat once completed. For Torres, it was the only explanation for how Gibbs get the boats out of his basement.

3. Hole in the wall


The “Great Wide Open” finally revealed the definitive answer to the nearly two-decade-long riddle. As the recently-suspended Agent Gibbs has gone AWOL, Agent Alden Parker and federal agents searched Gibbs’ house for him.

Agent Parker saw a broken down cinder block wall when he shone a flashlight in Gibbs’ cellar. On the wall is a large sledgehammered hole.

The “scene” revealed that Gibbs hammered a hole through the wall, large enough to slide the boat through. He would then cover it with new bricks and start working on a new project.

Frequently Asked Questions


How many boats did Gibbs build in his basement?

Throughout Agent Gibbs’ nearly two-decade stint with NCIS, he built around five boats – three before the show premiered in 2003, one between Seasons 1 and 6, and another from Seasons 7 to 19.

That said, the number above is just a rough estimate, as there’s a chance he has built more boats off-screen that we don’t know of.

Episode 4 of NCIS Season 19 saw Special Agent Gibbs leave NCIS and live in Alaska. Fans should not worry because, as the beloved agent said, he is not retired, just temporarily living in The Last Frontier.

What is Rule 91 Gibbs?

Gibbs Rule 91 requires anyone who walks away never to look back. Ever.

Rule 91 also happens to be the name of Agent Gibbs’ last boat he ever built and removed from Gibbs boats basement. It is an apt boat name because Gibbs had no intention of returning to NCIS following his suspension.

What happened to the boats Gibbs built?

Many folks ask, what does Gibbs do with his boats? The answer varies.

He burned his first three boats to the ground when Gibbs’ marriage (and succeeding marriages) fell apart. Gibbs’ fourth watercraft, made in honor of his late daughter Kelly, was gifted to Gibb’s mentor before it was found drifting in open waters with two corpses onboard.

Gibbs’ last boat, Rule 91, exploded.

The question, “does Gibbs sell his boats?” is unfounded and ridiculous. It is worth noting that Agent Gibbs christens his boats after the people he loves, this includes his ex-wives and deceased daughter.

What are the names of Gibbs’ boats?

Here are the five names of Gibbs boats.

1. “Shannon,” christened after Gibbs’ first wife but burned to the ground after their divorce.

2. “Diane,” after Gibbs’ second wife

3. “Rebecca,” after the agent’s third wife

4. “Kelly,” after Gibbs’ daughter with his first wife, Shannon (both of whom died in a car accident)

5. “Rule 91,” after Gibbs’ NCIS Rule 91


After nearly two decades of unfounded assumptions, we already know how does Gibbs get the boat out of the basement. Although disassembly and reassembly make sense, nothing could be more straightforward than making a hole in the basement wall and patching it up later.

Although we may never see our favorite NCIS agent again, it is comforting to know Agent Gibbs left the agency, answering one of the most enduring riddles in his 25-year career.

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