ByChristopher GatesANDMike Floorwalker/March 18, 2020 9:48 am EDT/Updated: Dec. 18, 2020 1:33 pm EDT
Like many of the NCIS crew, mark Harmon"s Leroy Jethro Gibbs is a quirky dude. He stays by a set of self-made rules, which contains nuggets favor "Don"t ever accept one apology from someone that just sucker-punched you" and "Never go everywhere without a knife." that likes to organize impromptu meetings in the elevator. He resents contemporary electronics, sleeps on his couch instead of in his understand bedroom, and builds boats in his spare time.

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Not just any boats, either. As devoted NCIS pan know, Gibbs can often be discovered in his basement functioning away top top full-sized sailboats, periodically with a baseball game playing in the background. That doesn"t use power tools, however instead assembles each wooden craft by hand. That doesn"t necessarily sail them. He simply likes make them. Gibbs" boat-building habit was component of the very very first episode of the show, and it has ongoing throughout that is 17-season operation (interestingly, Harmon is additionally an accomplished woodworker, although that doesn"t build watercrafts himself).

Over NCIS" lengthy run,Gibbs has constructed at the very least five boats that we recognize of. Follow to NCIS, Gibbs made three vessels before the display began, worked on another from seasons one with six, and has worked on at the very least one an ext since. In countless ways, Gibbs" boats are prefer extra members of the NCIS cast. No, they don"t help Gibbs and the rest of NCIS" star-studded actors solve mysteries, however it wouldn"t be NCIS there is no them.


Obviously, the watercrafts in Gibbs" basement are really important to the character. On NCIS, Gibbs is a relatively straight-laced guy, and boat-building appears to be among the couple of ways the he relaxes. Woodworking is one intimate, meditative activity, and Gibbs" selection of pastime offers a lot of of understanding into the character.

But Gibbs" connection to his boats goes deeper than a just hobby. See, Gibbs has a habit of naming every of his boats after who close to him, often with damaging results. Sure, naming among his watercrafts after his second wife, Diane, seemed prefer a sweet gesture in ~ the time. After the marriage fell apart, though, Gibbs only had one choice: He had to burn the boat to the ground.

The watercraft that Gibbs was building during the first six periods of NCIS was a specifically personal task for the Navy special agent, as it was called after Gibbs" daughter, Kelly. In NCIS lore, Kelly and also her mother, Gibbs" very first wife, Shannon, were killed in a automobile accident after your driver was shot by a drug dealer.

The Kelly was claimed to be a tribute to Gibbs" so late daughter, but ended up conference a grisly fate of its own. In the season seven episode "Outlaws and also In-Laws," the Kelly — which Gibbs finished off-screen and also gave to his mentor, Michael Franks — was discovered drifting at sea v two dead body on board. One ominous authorize for sure, but thankfully, the NCIS crew to be on the case.


NCIS is a display full that mysteries — together a procedural, there"s a brand-new case to solve every main — yet one in certain has vexed fans because the really beginning: just how does Gibbs acquire his substantial sailboats the end of his basement? As much as we"ve seen, there"s only one door to the secret workshop, and it"s no nearly huge enough because that a full-sized boat to to the right through.

For his part, Gibbs appears to like keeping everyone in the dark. When one personality asked Gibbs just how he it s okay the boats outside, Gibbs quipped, "Break the bottle," referencing the similar (but easily-solved) an enig about exactly how model ships gain in bottles. Another time, Gibbs referenced knocking out a wall surface and building a ramp, yet the logistics of removing an underground wall remain unexplained. Occasionally, Gibbs answer questions about his boats with his signature steely stare. Intimidating? Yes. Informative? no so much.

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

The one thing we execute know? NCIS most likely won"t let us in ~ above the truth. Just one other character, the fan-favorite forensic scientist Abby Sciuto, has established the secret — and, like Gibbs, she refuses come tell.


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

According to Glen-L, NCIS" producers reached out come Glen-L directly about featuring the Amigo ~ above the show yet required a very quick turnaround time. That brought about a flurry the negotiations between Glen-L and the NCIS manufacturing crew, ultimately resulting in the loose vessel featured in NCIS" early seasons. However, as soon as it was time because that the Kelly to set sail, production couldn"t uncover a perfect Amigo to film, so they swapped in a different form of boat and also hoped pan wouldn"t notice.

Later, Gibbs started working top top a Glen-L Barrelback, i m sorry isn"t a sailboat however a wood motorboat. In the 2014 NCIS illustration "Honor thy Father," it"s revealed the Gibbs and also his father made a tiny Barrelback named Chickadee once Gibbs to be still a child. ~ Gibbs" dad passed away, the NCIS investigator secured plans because that a similar boat and quickly gained to work, proceeding Gibbs" legacy of making use of his watercrafts to honor members that his family.


All that this suggests a question: will NCIS fans ever before get to watch Gibbs sail away, perhaps into retirement, on the watercraft he built? Well, Gibbs (and Harmon) are obtaining on in years, and operating in a demanding, stressful project for fairly some time. In the season 16 illustration "Lost Time," Gibbs handle the opportunity of retirement with his therapist — and also he didn"t seem as well psyched about the idea.

"What"s your finish game, anyway?" the therapist wanted to know. "If no prison or retirement, then how do you want all this to finish for you? when will you ever be able to say, mission accomplished?" Gibbs had no answer; he simply responded the he fan too much to his team to depart. Harmon, though, has sung a various tune.

In one interview all the method back in 2010, the star said, "From the beginning here, I always thought that component of his manner in handling his team is come prepare them because that a time when he"s no here. So, I might see a time absolutely in the future wherein they take the job over and they relocate on, and also Gibbs it s okay on his boat and also sails away" (via CheatSheet).

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That would absolutely be a fitting end to an iconic personality — let"s just hope his team doesn"t intend Gibbs, before he sails off right into the sunset, to let on regarding exactly exactly how the hell he acquired the boat out of his basement. We have a emotion that"s just something that they, and NCIS" fans, will have to keep ~ above wondering.