‘NCIS’: The 1 Question Some Fans Are Demanding an Answer To

NCIS is one of TV’s longest-running shows. The procedural drama premiered on CBS in 2003 and is currently in its 17th season. Having been on TV for over a decade, the show has earned quite a loyal following.

Fans have their favorites and know what makes each character tick. But over the years, there has been one question that has come up time and time again. It is one that has no impact on the course of the show, but one fans just can’t get over.

If you’re a fan, you’ve likely wondered, “How does Gibbs get those boats out of his basement?!”

A story about a man and his boats

Maria Bello as NCIS Special Agent Jaqueline “Jack” Sloane, Mark Harmon as NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs. | Patrick McElhenney/CBS via Getty Images)

It all began season one, episode one. After the opening credits, fans saw Leroy Jethro Gibbs sanding a partially constructed boat. Little did we know at the time that that boat, and the ones to follow would become just as much characters of the show as any living person in the NCIS. 

In a way, these boats were characters. They had names and they had stories. The show followed Agent Gibbs as he worked on the boats, named them, and as they sat as background characters throughout important storylines. You feel like you get a better sense of Agent Gibbs, his character, and his story when you see him with his boats. 

Fans want to know: How does Agent Gibbs get his boats out?

Anyone who has ever watched NCIS will tell you there is something that just doesn’t make sense about his boat projects (besides the facts that some have come to a fiery end). Fans just can’t get over where Gibbs builds his boats — the basement. 

If you think there’s nothing weird about building a boat in a basement, think about it for a minute. The problem with building a boat in the basement is that there is no way to get it out! Unless there’s a hidden trap door or mystery ramp, the boats don’t exactly fit up the basement stairs. 

Fans have been all over this dilemma for years. In fact, there are even websites devoted to this very subject. But it never fails, new fans to the series, or ones who are just figuring things out always bring up the question. A recent thread on Reddit had one fan asking how the boats find their way out with another fan responding, “Are you new?”

‘Break the bottle McGee’

It’s a reasonable question to ask, “How does Agent Gibbs get his boats out of the basement?” So, has the show ever addressed it? Of course, they have! Have they answered? Not so much.

Several characters have asked Gibbs how those boats get out. Sometimes he’ll answer with a sly smile, but other times he runs with the joke. During season five, Special Agent McGee straight out asked the question we all are dying to know the answer to. While discussing a case, Gibbs asked his team, “Any questions?” Special Agent McGee asked, “How do you get the boat out?” To which Gibbs responded, “Break the bottle, McGee.”

It’s also a running joke about how many boats the agent makes when he doesn’t seem to get that much use out of them. In a season four episode Gibbs tells Special Agent Shepard that watching the enemies could be viewed as obsessive, to which Shepard responds, “Kind of like building a fourth boat when you haven’t sailed the first three.”

Will we ever know how Gibbs gets his boats out of his basement? Many fans speculate that’s one of the secrets that the show will never reveal.