The airboat can be entered and abandoned using the "use" key; if Gordon is dragged out by a [[Barnacle]], the airboat will not be taken with him. Steering the airboat is controlled by the movement keys; the player can look around independently of the boat's movement. Late in chapter 4, the craft is outfitted with a rapidly firing gun-like apparatus of [[Vortigaunt]] origin that has infinite ammunition but requires recharging after 100 continuous rounds. The gun recharges quite quickly when not being fired. It has a limited range; the yellow reticle will turn red when the player is aiming outside of it.
In [[Half-Life 2]], the resistance provides [[Gordon Freeman]] with an airboat so that he can escape [[City 17]] after difficulties with a teleportation device force him to exit on foot. In order to escape, Gordon drives through a heavily polluted canal, occasionally having to hop out of the airboat to open gates and clear paths to pass through. After battling through multiple [[Combine]] checkpoints along the canal and being chased continually by a large chopper, Gordon arrives at a resistance checkpoint, where the airboat is equipped with a [[Vortigaunt]] weapon in order to defeat the chopper. Gordon leaves the airboat behind upon accessing [[Black Mesa East]].
As with most of [[Half Life 2]]'s other assets, the airboat can be spawned in [[Garry's Mod]].