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General information








Used by

Gordon Freeman


Gauss Cannon (originally none)

Game information



David Speyrer[1]

"Hey, Dr. Freeman, I've been hoping you'd show up. Got this airboat all gassed up and ready to go."

The Airboat, also referred to as the Mudskipper,[2][3][4] is a Resistance vessel apparently built from scrap and spare parts. Nimble, fast, and capable of traveling over both water and land, it is ideal for navigating the City 17 Canals. It is unarmed at first but is later retrofitted with a Gauss Cannon salvaged from a Hunter-Chopper, making it a very deadly threat to Combine forces.


Arlene filling the Airboat's tank. Upon closer look, she is not actually pouring any gas. The can is also quite oversized.

Half-Life 2[edit]

The Airboat is introduced to the player towards the end of the chapter Route Kanal at Station 6, which is destroyed by a Headcrab Shell bombardment as Gordon passes through it. There, Gordon is given the boat by Arlene to reach Black Mesa East faster and more safely. He then makes his way through polluted canals and wetlands and is soon spotted by a City Scanner, prompting nearby Civil Protection units to give chase. Gordon manages to evade them, until eventually a Hunter-Chopper joins the chase.

After being pursued for miles, Gordon temporarily loses the chopper in some tunnels and comes across a hidden Resistance station. There a Vortigaunt mounts a Gauss Cannon on the boat, providing a powerful offensive capability. Gordon is now able to defend himself more easily against the Metrocops, the APCs, and the Xen wildlife swarming the Canals, and destroys the chasing Hunter-Chopper near a dam right before Black Mesa East. When Gordon reaches Eli's facility, he leaves the Airboat behind. It is then presumably captured and/or destroyed by the Combine as they invade the base.


A Resistance bridge puzzle needed to be solved to proceed with the Airboat.
  • A fast and compact vehicle, the Airboat is well suited to the high-speed navigation of the Canals. Though unarmed at first, it can be used to ram any CP foolish enough to stand in the way of it. Once the Airboat is armed, however, its lethality increases significantly. The Hunter-Chopper Gauss Cannon is an extremely powerful weapon, capable of punching through the armor of both APCs and Hunter-Choppers. In addition, ammunition supply is not a problem, as the ammo 'recharges' as it is used. However, burst fire is regularly needed or ammo will run out in around two seconds.
  • Several puzzles involving Resistance installations are required to be solved to be able to proceed further. Two involve a springboard that must be raised with a counterweight. One has to be filled with any heavy props found around, the other with blue barrels.

Related Achievements[edit]

Half-Life 2
Hl2 get airboat.png Anchor's Aweigh! (5G)
Get the airboat.
Hl2 get airboatgun.png Heavy Weapons (5G)
Get the airboat's mounted gun.
Half-Life 2 (cut)
Hl2 float withairboat.png Catching Air
Float five seconds in the air with the airboat.

Behind the scenes[edit]

Main article: Jet Ski
  • The Airboat was originally a Jet Ski but did not playtest well. When the Airboat replaced it and was first tested, it caused motion sickness. If the player's view was tightly connected to the vehicle, every slight bump was magnified, making some early playtesters nauseous (Adrian Finol, programmer, even threw up after an extended playtest). A careful redesign of the handlebar, pontoon, and roll cage was subsequently made, ending with the current version.[3]
  • The Half-Life 2 leak features an earlier Airboat model, with some differences. Its hull is longer and bears the code WN1422LL, which is blank in the final game. The model's textures, though not entirely complete, are twice the resolution of that of the retail model. They allow reading the brand of the engine, "Jet Power 555".[5]
  • The 2023 repository leak revealed a number of gibs for the Airboat, hinting that it may have been destructible (or scripted to be destroyed) at some point. In Half-Life 2, only the broken engine model is used as a miscellaneous prop. The cut models include all the other parts of the vehicle, twisted and mangled.


The Airboat is almost impossible to knock over. Even executing 180° rolls will almost always result in the vessel not flipping itself. This is most likely to prevent players from being stranded with an unusable vehicle since it would be impossible to turn it over by external means, the Gravity Gun being not acquired at that point of the game.

Two Orange Box Achievements, "Anchor's Aweigh!" and "Heavy Weapons", require acquiring the Airboat and having the Gauss Cannon mounted on it, respectively. One cut Achievement, named "Catching Air", was to require floating for at least five seconds in mid-air with the Airboat.

Three Gauss Cannons similar to the one salvaged by the Resistance and added to the Airboat can be found mounted in a small tower near Gate 5 in the Canals. Gordon uses them to fire at a pursuing Hunter-Chopper.




List of appearances[edit]

Main games[edit]



  1. RPS Interview: Episode Two’s David Speyrer on Rock, Paper, Shotgun
  2. Half-Life 2 closed captions
  3. 3.0 3.1 Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar, page 92
  4. Half-Life 2 Prima Guide, page 76
  5. Half-Life 2 leak