The U.S. Navy’s oldest commissioned warship is now in dry dock for three-year renovation, the service said on Tuesday.
USS Constitution — commissioned in 1798 — entered Dry Dock 1 at the Charlestown Navy Yard early Tuesday where the ship will be renovated for a scheduled maintenance availability originally scheduled in March but delayed due to the severe winter weather on the Northeast in the earlier part of the year.
“We couldn’t have asked for better weather or better support from the dedicated team of professionals who helped with the docking,” said Cmdr. Sean Kearns, USS Constitution’s 73rd commanding officer in a statement.
“We’re now positioned to carry out the restoration work which will return Constitution to the water preserving her for the next generation of Americans to enjoy and learn about our nation’s great naval heritage.”
The $12 to 15 million restoration will preserve and repair the 2,286 ton ship from the upper masts to the waterline and is scheduled to be completed by 2018.
“The ship was made famous in the War of 1812 following several engagements with the Royal Navy earning Constitution the nickname ‘Old Ironsides’,” USNI News wrote last year following the ship’s last underway before the repairs.
“Since then the ship has remained in commission undergoing several renovations and crewed by about 50 active duty U.S. Navy sailors.”
The work to be conducted on the ship, according to the Navy includes, includes:
* replacing lower hull planking and caulking,
* removing the 1995 copper sheathing and replacing it with 3,400 sheets of new copper that will protect the ship’s hull below the waterline,
* replacement of select deck beams,
* on-going preservation and repair of the ship’s rigging, upper masts, and yards.
Visitors will be able to visit the ship while in dry dock starting in June.