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Welcome to Rivet City. Please wait while the bridge extends.Rivet City guard

Rivet City is a city located inside a decaying aircraft carrier in Washington, D.C., in Fallout 3. It is the largest settlement in the Capital Wasteland.


Before the war, the ship that ultimately became Rivet City was a massive, dry-docked aircraft carrier.[Pub 1] Starboard aircraft elevators allowed for easy stowage and deployment of these aircraft from the sizable hangar located below the deck. In addition to a sizable fleet of fighters, the carrier was also equipped with desalinization facilities and onboard hydroponic farms.[1] However, the ship was abandoned in the wake of the Great War. Since then, the bow section has crumbled, allowing mirelurks to infest the ship's lower sections.

Around 2237, remnants of the Naval Research Institute under the leadership of Horace Pinkerton were looking for new lab space and found the ship, establishing the Rivet Station Science Outpost after clearing out the mirelurks.[2] For years to come they would use the intact science bay as the nucleus of their science efforts.[2]

By April 2239, a burgeoning civilian settlement sprung up around the station on the carrier.[3] As a result, on April 25, Rivet City was formally established by Pinkerton, Annette Holmes and Brad Danvers to better protect and organize this growing community.[4] Governance of the city was relegated to a three-person council, staffed by one representative from each group on board the ship including scientists, civilians, and security personnel.[5]

The settlement prospered and Pinkerton held his seat on the council as science officer until 2258 when Madison Li and her science team arrived at Rivet City after abandoning Project Purity.[6] Li took over Pinkerton's science teams, with the prospect of reactivating Project Purity as an incentive.[6] Furious, Pinkerton left the city into self-imposed exile in the broken-off bow.[6] Pinkerton shares his frustration with the shift in focus preventing work on more meaningful projects, such as defensive systems or making the carrier seaworthy.[7]



Its inhabitants live in individual rooms and enjoy relative safety and security inside the aircraft carrier. A number of guards rotate 24 hours a day to protect the ship from Raiders, Super Mutants, Mirelurks and any other threats to the city and its inhabitants. Rivet City includes a shopping area, as well as an American history museum, science lab, church, clinic, bar and hotel.

Rivet City is also a supplier of edible, non-irradiated food in the Capital Wasteland, trading it for essential raw materials with other communities.[8] Its scientific prowess is thanks to its aggressive reclamation efforts: anything useful is snatched up and brought to the city.[9] Attempts at instituting a bridge tax or exploiting their position by raising prices on exports (such as fresh produce by 50%) were repeatedly voted down, keeping the city open to traders and outsiders and fostering a healthy population level.[5] However, it refrains from recruiting scientists from outside settlements, such as the Underworld or Tenpenny Tower, as the vote proposed failed.[5] The security force is trained in combat by veterans Lana Danvers and Harkness and equipped with military-grade combat armor alongside automatic weapons.[8]

Challenges facing the settlement include respiratory ailments among city residents caused by rust and the need for constant maintenance.[10] The science lab and hydroponic farms also require resources and oversight.[5] In addition, a social class system causes conflict, with two distinct groups including the hangar deck and upper deck citizens.[Pub 2]

Following the conclusion of the conflict and the activation of Project Purity, Rivet City gained prominence as the Brotherhood of Steel's first trading partner. In return for a share of weapons and other technology salvaged from the Enclave, the Rivet City police force provided protection for water caravans the Brotherhood could not protect themselves.[11] The exchange was mutually beneficial at first, but the increased number of caravans eventually stretched Rivet City's military power to its limits, especially as raider attacks became more organized due to the leadership of Split Jack.[12] Eventually only one in four caravans made it back intact, quickly draining Rivet City's resources and ranks of veteran security officers.[13][14] The losses caused by the raider attacks have led to officers in charge questioning Lyons' policy of giving the water out for free, instead of selling it so that caravan drivers can use the markup to pay for protection.[15]


Rivet City lies in the most southeastern part of the map, near Anacostia. It can be reached by following the eastern side of the Potomac, crossing near the tepid sewers or at the Citadel or by swimming across from Arlington Library. It is also a short walk from the Jefferson Memorial.


On the steel structure across from the aircraft carrier itself (near Carlos the beggar), there is an intercom box that must be used to extend the bridge. After a brief conversation with Harkness, the chief of security, he will grant entry to Rivet City.

Northwest of Rivet City is a super mutant camp. There may be Super Mutants and sometimes a captive that can be rescued. There is a Lying, Congressional Style skill book by some sleeping mats near several boxes of ammunition. South of Rivet City, there is a shipwrecked boat surrounded by radioactive waste. The boat contains ammo boxes and a locked first aid box.


On the upper deck the Lone Wanderer can rent a hotel room for 120 Caps from Vera Weatherly or her robot. After purchasing the hotel room, the player character can access it for free thereafter. This room comes with a bed, which grants the Well Rested bonus effect of +10% experience. If the player character didn't rent the room, they can pick the (Very Hard) lock without losing Karma. Even though the bed inside is called "My Bed," the player character can't use it until they've rented the room.

When the player character gets to the upper deck of the carrier, they can get a look at the aircraft that still remain. These are the same Fighter Jets that are used in the Operation: Anchorage add-on. The exterior doors in the bridge tower lead to catwalks on the outside of the tower, most of which have either an Ammunition Box or a First Aid Box.

The broken bow of the ship was separated from the main carrier hull and half-flooded. The lower levels are inhabited by mirelurks or mirelurk hunters (depending on level), while the upper levels contain Pinkerton's laboratory and home. Pinkerton has set up numerous traps throughout the bow, such as rigged shotguns, Frag Mines, explosive gas and a rigged terminal placed near the heavy door to Pinkerton's lab.

Rivet City contains several interior locations including:


Former residents

¹After successfully opening Vault 101 to the outside world.
²After successful completion of Those! if he was brought to Vera.
³After successfully completing the unmarked quest Cherry's Freedom.
*0-1 ordinarily, 3-4 if Modified FEV was used during Take it Back!Broken Steel


Related quests


  • Rivet City has no holding facilities for criminals and zero tolerance for crime.[16]
  • Staying in the marketplace after hours can cause the guards to become hostile.
  • Many citizens and security guards will comment about a citizen dying from drinking river water and then comment that the city's water isn't any better.[17]
  • One can overhear some non-player characters talking about a child falling off of the deck.[18]
  • If Raven Rock is destroyed as a part of The American Dream quest, the people in Rivet City will talk about the disappearance of the Enclave Radio station, saying that maybe it was caused by an "explosion from the horizon."[19]
  • There is a baseball diamond set up on the flight deck that James Hargrave and CJ Young use.
  • If one is caught killing or enslaving anyone from Rivet City, upon re-entering, the guards will have unique dialogue regarding their actions.[20]
  • It is one of the locations shown in the Bradley-Hercules targeting data, but cannot be fired upon.
  • According to some of its residents, Rivet City is prone to causing red lung.[21]
  • If one inserts the modified FEV Virus into Project Purity, Rivet City appears in the ending with casualties, but upon returning, none are present.
  • Frequently a group of Regulators and Talon Company Mercs spawn near Rivet City at the nearby Anacostia Crossing Station.
  • Pre-War fighter jets have fallen off the bow of the non-city area of the aircraft carrier. Some can still be seen on the flight deck if the player character chooses to visit the front of the ship.
  • If Allistair Tenpenny is killed by a shot in the head during You Gotta Shoot 'Em in the Head, the residents and guards will converse about how he was shot in the head.[22]
  • The location is mentioned in Point Lookout.[23]
  • In Fallout Shelter, it is mentioned in the description for military grade duct tape and occasionally a question in the weekly quest Game Show Gauntlet.
  • Paladin Danse mentions opening his own junk stand in Rivet City when he was younger. It was at that time he befriended a man named Cutler, and together the two scraped by as traders. They later joined up with the Brotherhood of Steel when they made a recruitment run through Rivet City.[24]


Rivet City appears only in Fallout 3 and is mentioned in Fallout 4.

Behind the scenes

  • Concept art by Craig Mullins was published on May 15, 2007, showing a city with ruined skyscrapers and an aircraft carrier that is connected to shore by bridge.[Dev 1][Dev 2]
  • During development, there was a quest in which the Enclave would attack Rivet City, and the player character would be tasked with escorting the inhabitants to the Citadel. However, it was vetoed out of the game by Todd Howard, who considered the mission too complex.[Dev 3]


  • PCPC Playstation 3Playstation 3 Xbox 360Xbox 360 After reaching the end of the Rivet City bridge, and jumping down to the platform below it, there is a place where you can fall through the boat. When jumping off on the right side (or left, but go to the right side) there will be an open "room" with a first aid box and two ammunition boxes. Should you go to the corner past the leftmost ammunition box, you fall through the boat and land in the water. Fast travel to a different location or reload an older save to fix this problem.
  • PCPC Playstation 3Playstation 3 Xbox 360Xbox 360 Dogmeat or his puppies will glitch and land on a catwalk that is inaccessible if you tell it to find anything on the outside of the aircraft carrier.
  • Xbox 360Xbox 360 Jumping on the bridge before it stops moving will cause it to clang loudly and move in jumps.
  • Xbox 360Xbox 360 Sometimes the entire boat- including people- will become non-collide-able, making it impossible to enter the city. To fix this simply save, back out to the main menu, and load the save.
  • Xbox 360Xbox 360 Rarely, when you fast-travel to Rivet City, a friendly Enclave soldier will spawn next to you but will automatically disappear when you enter the city. If you try to speak to them, they will either greet you or threaten you verbally.
  • PCPC Playstation 3Playstation 3 Xbox 360Xbox 360 If Broken Steel is installed, the player may experience crashes near Rivet City after completion of the main quest.
  • Playstation 3Playstation 3 After completing the main game, walking or fast traveling to Rivet City or the surrounding area will freeze the game.
  • PCPC Going to the Rivet City Market or other areas may cause instant crashing. It can be due to Gary Staley trying to interact with Angela Staley if she is missing (enslaved, disabled via commands). The solution is to disable Gary Staley through commands or respawn and re-enable Angela Staley if possible. This may occur for other NPCs.



  1. Rivet City terminal entries; Doctor Li's terminal, Hydroponics Progress
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Lone Wanderer: "Setting the record straight is exactly my goal."
    Horace Pinkerton: "For that, you have to go all the way back to when remnants of the Naval Research Institute cleared the Mirelurks off this wreck about 40 years ago. We were looking for new lab-space, and this bucket of bolts just happened to have a well-preserved science bay on it. Everything else just grew up around that lab once we got it up and running. The science team was led by one "H. Pinkerton.""
    (Horace Pinkerton's dialogue)
  3. Rivet City terminal entries; Pinkerton's private computer, City Founders Log
  4. Rivet City historical record
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Rivet City terminal entries; Bannon's Terminal, Council Meeting Minutes
    Rivet City terminal entries; Doctor Li's Terminal, Council Meeting Minutes
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 The Lone Wanderer: "So, you used to be in charge? How did you end up here?"
    Horace Pinkerton: "That lasted until 'bout 18 years ago, when those ambitious backbiters like Li and her little team showed up. She came in with her big "Purity Project" pipe dream, and my whole staff started working with her, those traitors! She even took my seat on the council. By then, I was glad to leave it behind. But hell if I'm leaving the city I made great!"
    (Horace Pinkerton's dialogue)
  7. Lone Wanderer: "What do you know about Project Purity?"
    Horace Pinkerton: "Who cares? It's some hydroponics pipe dream that Li's been working on forever. Waste of time and effort, I say. Apparently, though, my teams cared more about it than they did about little things like defense systems or making this ship float again. Treacherous bastards, all of them."
    (Horace Pinkerton's dialogue)
  8. 8.0 8.1 Rivet City terminal entries; Bannon's Terminal, Council Meeting Minutes
    Rivet City terminal entries; Doctor Li's Terminal, Council Meeting Minutes
  9. Lone Wanderer: "You know who might have a Lipoplasticator or Micro Dermal Graftilizer?"
    Doc Church: "Probably down at Rivet City. Anything that has any use out here, they snatch up for themselves. That damn Pinkerton don't share nothin'."
    (Doc Church's dialogue)
  10. Rivet City terminal entries; Rivet City Clinic Patient Data System, Regional Health Hazards
  11. Lone Wanderer: "So you guys have something set up on the side?"
    Scribe Bigsley: "We do what we can. Take, for example, this ghoul Griffon. He wanted to PURCHASE a bunch of water. What the hell does that droopy irradiated fool need with pure water? Thinks he can sell it in Underworld. Moron. But, he's the only one who's offered to PAY for water, in caps AND technology. And what Lyons doesn't know won't hurt him. There's plenty of water to go around."
    (Scribe Bigsley's dialogue)
  12. Lone Wanderer: "I thought Rivet City security was a police force, not a military organization."
    Officer Lepelletier: "Heh. Tell me about it. It's enough trouble just keeping the miscreants on that leaky boat under control. But the Brotherhood needs help delivering all that water. But I'm not getting the support I need. There's been an increase in attacks on the caravan. And they don't seem random any more. To make matters worse, I'm running out of resources and I'm down to my greenest men."
    (Officer Lepelletier's dialogue)
  13. Lone Wanderer: "You're not trying to stiff me, are you?"
    Officer Lepelletier: "Nothing of the sort! How dare you even suggest such a thing. Look around for Godsake. Do you see a mountain of bottle caps? A stash of weapons? Only a quarter of the escorts have returned! Those poor boys are likely dead, and sadly for you, they took the last of our resources with them. No. You will just have to pry a reward from the Brotherhood. Speak with Bigsley at Project Purity. I'm sure he'll be able to offer you a reward. Now, if you'll excuse me..."
    (Officer Lepelletier's dialogue) Note: This line can be attained only at the conclusion of quest Protecting the Water Way.
  14. Lone Wanderer: "What's Rivet City getting out of helping the Brotherhood?"
    Officer Lepelletier: "At first it was a win-win. They paid us and shared their technology with us. The spoils of their war with the Enclave were particularly enticing. However, with all the recent attacks, the "extra" resources end up being used just protecting the caravans from being exterminated."
    (Officer Lepelletier's dialogue)
  15. Lone Wanderer: "I still don't understand why the Brotherhood isn't just selling the water."
    Officer Lepelletier: "You'd think that'd be the smart thing, right? Then the caravan drivers could use the markup to simply pay for their own security. Wouldn't need us. Maybe it's an indirect marketing campaign for the Brotherhood. Considering the war with the Enclave, they might need new recruits. Whatever the case, as long as they keep paying us in caps and tech, we'll keep escorting the water."
    (Officer Lepelletier's dialogue)
  16. Fallout 3 loading screen: "Rivet City has no holding facilities for criminals, and zero tolerance for crime."
  17. Rivet City guard: "One of the new immigrants died of radiation poisoning last week."
    Rivet City guard: "Yeah. I heard she was drinking river water."
    Rivet City guard: "The ship's water isn't much better. If we don't get fresh water soon, we'll all end up like her."
    (Rivet City guard's dialogue)
  18. Rivet City guard: "I heard that the City Council is debating putting railings on the flight deck."
    Rivet City guard: "Well, I hope they do something. Remember that child that fell off the deck last year?"
    (Rivet City guard's dialogue)
  19. Rivet City guard: "Hey, have you noticed that Enclave radio is off the air?"
    Rivet City guard: "Remember that big explosion on the horizon? I bet that's what happened to it."
    (Rivet City guard's dialogue)
  20. Rivet City guard: "I oughta toss you off this ship for what you did, but the boss says Rivet City has to forgive and forget. Still, I'm watching you."
    (Rivet City guard's dialogue)
  21. Rivet City terminal entries; Rivet City Clinic patient data system, Regional Health Hazards
  22. Rivet City guard: "You know Tenpenny Tower, right? Well, Allistair Tenpenny was killed."
    Rivet City guard: "I heard about that! He was shot in the head like he was some sort of zombie. They say that's how you kill a Ghoul too."
    (Rivet City guard's dialogue)
  23. Marcella's journal
  24. Sole Survivor: "You're beating around the bush. Is there something you're trying to tell me?"
    Paladin Danse: "Is it that obvious? I've... never been very good at these things. Let me start at the beginning. I grew up alone in the Capital Wasteland. Spent most of my childhood picking through the ruins and selling scrap. When I was a bit older, and had a few caps to my name, I moved into Rivet City and opened a junk stand. While I was there, I met a guy named Cutler. We got along pretty well, watched each other's backs and kept each other out of trouble. When the Brotherhood came through on a recruiting run, we felt like it was the best way out of our nowhere lives, so we joined up."
    (Danse's dialogue)
  1. Fallout 3 Official Game Guide Game of the Year Edition p.408: "9.15: RIVET CITY (LAT 18/LONG -17)
    General Notes
    Rivet City is a massive, dry-docked aircraft carrier, now the largest wastelander residence around and home to a large number of odd, interesting, friendly, and strange characters. Access Rivet City from the rusting platform on the north, using the intercom to request the drawbridge. Inspect the deck for some items and a rather impressive Plasma Rifle that Security Chief Harkness is carrying. You'll need to figure out his secret to retrieve it."
    (Fallout 3 Official Game Guide/Tour of the Capital Wasteland)
  2. Fallout 3 Official Game Guide Game of the Year Edition p.76: "Harkness
    Rivet City's hard-nosed security chief, 35-year old Harkness is a good guy and a good friend, despite his demeanor. What he doesn't know is that he isn't even human; he's a sentient humanoid robot who escaped from his creators and had his mind wiped. Harkness is extremely fair-minded. He treats Hangar Deck citizens with the same regard as Upper Deck citizens. As a result, he is very well liked by the Hangar Deck residents."
    (Fallout 3 Official Game Guide/Wasteland Census)
Developer Statements