ByChristopher GatesANDMike Floorwalker/March 18, 2020 9:48 to be EDT/Updated: Dec. 18, 2020 1:33 afternoon 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 like "Don"t ever accept one apology from who that just sucker-punched you" and "Never go all over without a knife." the likes to organize impromptu meetings in the elevator. That resents modern-day electronics, sleeps top top his couch rather of in his master bedroom, and also builds boats in his preventive time.

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Not just any type of boats, either. As committed NCIS pan know, Gibbs can often be found in his basement working away ~ above full-sized sailboats, sometimes with a baseball video game playing in the background. The doesn"t usage power tools, but instead assembles each wooden craft by hand. The doesn"t have to sail them. He simply likes making them. Gibbs" boat-building habit was part of the very first episode that the show, and also it has continued throughout that is 17-season operation (interestingly, Harmon is additionally an completed woodworker, although he doesn"t build watercrafts himself).

Over NCIS" lengthy run,Gibbs has constructed at the very least five watercrafts that we understand of. Follow to NCIS, Gibbs made three vessels before the present began, functioned on one more from periods one v six, and also has worked on at least one more since. In countless ways, Gibbs" watercrafts are favor extra members of the NCIS cast. No, lock don"t help Gibbs and also the remainder of NCIS" star-studded cast solve mysteries, but it wouldn"t it is in NCIS without them.


Obviously, the watercrafts in Gibbs" basement are an extremely important come the character. ~ above NCIS, Gibbs is a relatively straight-laced guy, and boat-building seems to be one of the couple of ways the he relaxes. Woodworking is an intimate, meditative activity, and also Gibbs" selection of pastime provides a many of understanding into the character.

But Gibbs" connection to his boats goes deeper 보다 a only hobby. See, Gibbs has actually a habit that naming each of his watercrafts after who close come him, often with destructive results. Sure, naming one of his boats after his second wife, Diane, seemed prefer a sweet gesture at the time. After the marriage dropped apart, though, Gibbs only had one choice: He had to burn the watercraft to the ground.

The watercraft that Gibbs was building during the first six periods of NCIS was a particularly personal job for the Navy special agent, together it was called after Gibbs" daughter, Kelly. In NCIS lore, Kelly and her mother, Gibbs" very first wife, Shannon, were killed in a car accident after their driver was shot through a medicine dealer.

The Kelly was an alleged to be a tribute to Gibbs" late daughter, yet ended up conference a grisly fate of its own. In the season 7 episode "Outlaws and In-Laws," the Kelly — i m sorry Gibbs perfect off-screen and also gave to his mentor, Michael Franks — was discovered drifting at sea through two dead body on board. An ominous authorize for sure, but thankfully, the NCIS crew to be on the case.


NCIS is a display full the mysteries — together a procedural, there"s a brand-new case to fix every mainly — yet one in specific has vexed fans due to the fact that the very beginning: how does Gibbs gain his substantial sailboats the end of his basement? As far 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 fit through.

For his part, Gibbs seems to like keeping everyone in the dark. As soon as one personality asked Gibbs how he it s okay the boats outside, Gibbs quipped, "Break the bottle," to express the similar (but easily-solved) an enig about how model ships gain 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 answer questions about his watercrafts with his signature steely stare. Intimidating? Yes. Informative? no so much.

As a result, pan have begun coming up through their own theories. There"s some proof that Gibbs builds his watercrafts in pieces and also takes them outside for final assembly (the Kelly"s hull is being built in seasons one, two, and also three, while occupational on the cabin begins in season four), but even those smaller sized chunks wouldn"t fit through Gibbs" basement door. One wall surface of Gibbs" basement isn"t ever shown, meaning there might be an opening we"ve never ever seen, although it would need to be awfully big.

The one thing we perform know? NCIS more than likely won"t let united state in ~ above the truth. Just one various other character, the fan-favorite forensic scientist Abby Sciuto, has identified 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 defines as "a heavy boat capable of significant 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 however required a an extremely quick turnaround time. That resulted in a flurry the negotiations between Glen-L and also the NCIS production crew, ultimately resulting in the loose vessel featured in NCIS" early seasons. However, once it was time because that the Kelly to collection sail, production couldn"t uncover a finished Amigo to film, for this reason 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, i m sorry isn"t a sailboat yet a wood motorboat. In the 2014 NCIS illustration "Honor thy Father," it"s revealed that Gibbs and also his father made a little Barrelback called Chickadee when Gibbs was still a child. After ~ Gibbs" dad happen away, the NCIS investigator secured plans because that a comparable boat and also quickly obtained to work, continuing Gibbs" tradition of utilizing his watercrafts to respect members the his family.


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

"What"s your finish game, anyway?" the therapist want to know. "If no prison or retirement, then how do you desire all this to end for you? as soon as will friend ever have the ability to say, mission accomplished?" Gibbs had actually no answer; he simply responded the he owed too much to his team come depart. Harmon, though, has sung a various tune.

In one interview all the means back in 2010, the star said, "From the beginning here, I always thought that part of his way in handling his team is to prepare them because that a time when he"s no here. So, I could see a time certainly in the future wherein they take the project over and they relocate on, and Gibbs it s okay on his boat and also sails away" (via CheatSheet).

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That would definitely be a fitting end to one iconic character — let"s just hope his team doesn"t suppose Gibbs, before he sails off into the sunset, come let on regarding exactly how the hell he got the boat out that his basement. We have actually a emotion that"s simply something that they, and NCIS" fans, will have to keep top top wondering.