Officials at the Battleship NORTH CAROLINA today announced the popular attraction will undergo extensive hull repairs this spring without ever leaving its spot on the Cape Fear River.
The highly decorated World War II battleship has not been out of the water in more than 60 years, and metal plates that have remained underwater are showing signs of deterioration. Work will begin next month on a two million dollar project to replace sections of the starboard side of the bow. That work will show what needs to be done on the rest of the 728-foot-long ship.
Originally, officials said the repairs would require the battleship to take a risky and expensive trip to a shipyard in Charleston, SC or Norfolk, VA, but now workers with a marine construction company will build a small coffer dam around the bow, pump water out and work in an enclosed area. The ship will remain open to tours during the repairs, and the repair work may actually become an additional attraction. The work will be patterned after hull repairs on the USS Alabama in Mobile, which included a walkway atop the coffer dam.
The Battleship NORTH CAROLINA attracts about 200,000 people a year, and has been on display in Wilmington since 1961. It is funded entirely by admission tickets, gift shop sales, donations and investments.