Gas vesicles encoded by gvp genes provide buoyancy in many prokaryotes. In a recent Trends in Microbiology article entitled ‘Gas vesicles in actinomycetes: old buoys in novel habitats?’ van Keulen et al. documented the occurrence of gvp genes in soil-inhabiting actinomycetes but questioned whether any of them produce gas vesicles. We suggest that the protein encoded by gvpA in actinomycetes might be incompatible with the structure of the standard gas vesicle. Perhaps it has another role associated with the air–water interface.