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USS Constitution Enters Dry Dock for Three Years of Repairs

USS Constitution prepares to enter dry dock on Monday. US Navy Photo

USS Constitution prepares to enter dry dock on Monday. US Navy Photo

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.

USS Constitution passes by downtown Boston during the ship's Independence Day underway. US Navy Photo

USS Constitution passes by downtown Boston during the ship’s Independence Day underway. US Navy Photo

“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.

  • Curtis Conway

    One of the nations first and Real Frigates. Check out the guns.

  • Secundius

    (34) 24-pdr. and (20) 32-pdr., not to mention 2-pdr. “Swivel Wolves”. Super Frigate…

  • publius_maximus_III

    What a beautiful ship. I hope Old Ironsides will be open to the public at some point during her three year refurbishment, as Charleston is not that far away.

    • Secundius

      @ publius_maximus_III.

      I agree, There are Only a few Ship’s in the World that are National Treasures like USS. Constitution. And unfortunately that Number is getting Smaller with ever passing year. I’ve never seen HMS. Victory, would like to before I die…

      • old guy

        We have the USS Constellation in Baltimore harbor. She was on active duty through WW2, as a command office. I helped a bit in her restoration and have a 20″ long, 1 1/4″ D. copper rivet marked 1797, to show for it. She was 3Kts faster than the USS Constitution, but more lightly armed.

        • Secundius

          @ old guy.

          (20) 32-pdr. Carronades and (28) 18-pdr. Long-Guns plus 2-pdr. “Swivel Wolves”. In February 1800, she “took-on” the French Frigate La Vengeance (52) guns and WON. Sinking her…

          • old guy

            The 1797 hull rivet that I have belies the unsubstantiated claim that this is not the original Constellation, but it’s not worth the fight.

          • Secundius

            @ old guy.

            No, it’s the Original Ship, Sir. The Problem was, the Language got “Lost In the Translation”. In August 1785, the Continental Navy was Disbanded, just to be Reactivated in 2 January 1794 as the Naval Act of 1794. The United States Navy entered the scene in 27 March 1794, and all Continental Naval Ship’s of the Line. Got Recommissioned into the United States Naval Ship’s of the Line. Essentially they got a New Birth Certificate with New Commissioning Dates. Also, they got a 18th Century Version of a “Flight/Block” Conversion/Face Lift by have there Collective Keel Copper Bottoms Replaced,

            That’s probably why the Date Stamp on the Copper Hull Rivet. Everytime the Copper Bottoms got replaced a New Date Stamped Rivet was used. The Original Commissioning Date September 1797, Sir…

          • old guy

            YOU ARE AMAZING. I originally had 3 rivets but I cut the other two to make retirement mementos for some of my friends. I saved one for me, but will probably donate it to the ship for their museum.

          • Secundius

            @ old guy.

            If you don’t mind me asking, how did you acquire them.

            My German Uncle was a Second Officer on a Kriegsmarine U-Boot, during WW2. And gave me a Multi-Functional Torpedo Run Time Stopwatch/Ship’s Navigation Chronometer Clock that small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. And is Extremely Accurate even by today’s standards…

          • old guy

            In the late ’50s the restoration of the Constellation was being done by private volunteer groups, here in Baltimore. They included unions, clubs and singles. I volunteered to help and the rivets were among some items which were discarded. Other pieces in the junk pile were sheaves, eyes and copper scrap. Later, enough funds were donated to put her in dry dock and get her properly fixed.

          • Secundius

            @ old guy.

            Must have been a Treasure Trove worth of History. TTYL…

          • old guy

            If I were smarter I would have carted off a good deal of the discarded stuff. As it was, it was all jumked

          • Secundius

            @ old guy.

            I’m going to try like the new guy on the Block and try the Website for any “Forgotten History Pieces”, after that there’s website where can get Technical Specifications (White Print’s) of various Ship classes in history…

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  • James Boudreau

    Would it be possible to purchase some of the copper being removed from the bottom of the USS Constitution? Respectfully submitted from former Marine who would like to do a special montage with the copper. Thanks.

    • Secundius

      @ James Boudreau.

      If you look into the USNI News website, about Sunk, Sold and Scrapped Aircraft Carriers. I answered that very question with an information Packet, to a Woman who seeker a piece of her fathers past. If you don’t what too, I can get that information to by sometime tomorrow. I have file away, but unfortunately not in my computer…

      • James Boudreau

        Perfect, I’ll look up the website and wait for your information package. Thanks a lot.
        James

        • Secundius

          @ James Boudreau.

          Found the Information. The Organization is called: DLA (Defense Logistics Agency) Disposition Service in Battle Creek, MI. “Usable” Division, ask for form DD Form 134-1a, ETID, eDocs (www . dispositionservices . dla . mil)

          Sorry about the format, but the first few times I try to post this address it got Redacted…

          • James Boudreau

            Thanks a million.
            James

          • Secundius

            @ James Boudreau.

            Your welcome, Man. Glade I could help out…
            Sec.

  • Secundius

    FYI: USS. Constitution

    Is being Refitted and Restored, at the Charleston Navy Yard – Dry Dock 1
    1360 Truxtun Avenue, Suite 200., North Charleston, SC. 29405. Operated by the Noisette Company. Television Companies authorized to CCTV and Video the project are as follows:

    1. Green Tea Halozat TV.
    2. Hearst Television LAKANA – CNN Weather Underground.
    3. Lin Television Corporation.
    4. Sunbeam Television Corporation.

    You might also try and of the Ethernet Search Engine Providers and YouTube…