How did Gibbs get the boat out of his basement?

Many NCIS fans have wondered how Gibbs got the boat out of his basement, a question that was finally answered during the first few episodes of season 19.

NCIS is one of the longest-running television dramas on US television. Despite a 19-season run since premiering in 2003, the show has still managed to remain one, if not the most watched television dramas on air today.

Moreover, it has retained its lead and executive producer, Mark Harmon, who plays Leroy Jethro Gibbs. Which is why fans, for more seasons than not, have seen Gibbs work on his boat in the basement of his home.

Therefore, when he finally took the boat he was working on out, people wondered how he got the boats out of his basement. A question which was only answered during the beginning of season 19.

How many boats has Gibbs worked on?

The visual trope of Gibbs working on sailboats has been used since the beginning of the show.

However, even before the beginning of NCIS, it was already suggested that Gibbs had worked on other boats before. In fact, Gibbs is believed to have worked on three vessels before the beginning of the show.

He then worked on a sailboat between season one and six, and since then, he has worked on at least one more boat, Rule 91, which was bombed for season 19’s premiere. Therefore, in total, Gibbs has worked on an average of five boats.

How did Gibbs get the boat out of his basement?

The matter of how Gibbs gets his boats out of the basement has been one of the great mysteries of the show.

Especially when his newly completed boat, Rule 91, was blown up during an assassin attack at the beginning of season 19. During the first episode of the season, the question, how does he get the boats out of his basement, was asked.

It is during the second episode when the matter is laid to rest. It is confirmed that Gibbs creates a hole in the basement wall, by removing the bricks to fit the boat. Thereafter, he uses a pulley to pull it out from the basement.

That reveal, shutdown theories of a movable wall or some magic trick that cannot be explained by a logical but labour-intensive explanation.

Boat Diane

One of the first of Gibbs’ boats to have been mentioned on NCIS was called Diane. Each boat that Gibbs works on has some kind of significance in his life. Boat Diane was named after his second wife.

However, following the end of their marriage, the boat met a similar fate as the marriage; he decided to burn the boat to the ground following the end of their relationship. A symbolic gesture affirming the end of his marriage.

Boat Kelly

The second boat, which is probably the most memorable of the boats to have featured on the show, was called Kelly. The boat was named after Gibbs’ late daughter and featured predominantly during seasons one to seven.

The Kelly also met a tragic end. After Gibbs had gifted it to his mentor, Michael Franks, it was found drifting in the sea with two dead bodies on it. In season seven, we watched as Gibbs and his team figure out who was behind the murders found on the Kelly.

Boat Rule 91

The latest of Gibbs’ boats to have featured on NCIS is Rule 91. The boat was bombed in an effort to try and kill Gibbs during the season 18 finale.

It is during the season 19 premiere of the show that we find out that Gibbs is alive, and why the boat is named Rule 91. Gibbs’ Rule 91 means, “When you walk away, don’t look back.”

The significance is that the name continues to emphasise that Gibbs might be ready to leave the NCIS and start afresh.


NCIS’ lead character, Leroy Jethro Gibbs, played by Mark Harmon, has been the show’s protagonist for as long as the show has been on air. Meaning that for 19 seasons, viewers have been engrossed by the quirky, and continually mysterious character.

One of the longest-running mysteries of the show was how Gibbs gets the boats that are in his basement out, without any damage.

It was only during season 19 that the mystery was uncovered, as Gibbs confirmed that he removed the bricks on a never seen side of the wall of the basement in order to get the boats out.