The Battleship New Jersey museum could be towed from the Camden waterfront to a dry dock on the Delaware River in February for maintenance that is expected to take at least two months to ensure the viability of the more than 80-year-old ship, according to an update on the project.
“The Battleship is still working on scheduling the dry docking of the ship for preventive maintenance,” Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial public relations coordinator Jack Willard told NJ Advance Media on Wednesday. “As of now, it’s looking like we may dry dock in mid-February, but this is not confirmed yet.”
The organization announced the maintenance plan in August to move the 887-foot ship across the river to the Navy Yard in Philadelphia.
The maintenance work will be done where the Iowa-class battleship was built, Dry Dock Number 3.
Gov. Phil Murphy announced $5 million in funding from the New Jersey Historical Commission to contribute to the ship’s reconditioning in August.
The total cost of the project is expected to be $10 million. Some of the work includes removing marine growth on the hull, repainting the hull, inspecting the through-hull openings and the ship’s zinc anodes. The Big J, as it is also known hasn’t been repainted or dry docked in 20 years.
Willard said Wednesday that the Home Port Alliance received money from Camden County for the dry docking, but the nonprofit still needed to fundraise to close the budget gap.
“New Jersey is rich with many historical sites that have shaped our prominent history, including the Battleship New Jersey, which saw many victories in her heyday,” said New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy in a press release on Aug. 2.
The ship also received a $4 million new deck, a massive undertaking to rip up the old teak boards and replace them.
Willard said Wednesday that the Home Port Alliance continues to fundraise in order to cover the rest of the vessel’s reconditioning, a sum he said was roughly $2 million Wednesday.
“We are still fundraising to support the dry dock program,” Willard said. “We are planning on several events and initiatives surrounding the dry dock to raise money for this project.”
The USS New Jersey is one of the most decorated battle ships in U.S. military history with over 19 battle stars and five decades of service. The ship was built from 1940 to 1943 and served in World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam and several other conflicts around the world before its retirement in 1991.
The ship was donated to the Home Port Alliance on Oct. 15, 2001, and has been docked along the Camden waterfront for 22 years serving as a museum. The ship is typically open for self-guided tours every day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Guided tours are also available.
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