The World War II aircraft carrier USS Yorktown has been on display as a tourist attraction on the Charleston harbor since it was decommissioned in 1975. After 36 years, the carrier is in need of repairs.
Director Mac Burdette says they are in the beginning phase to see what it will take to get things fixed.
“This is a long-step process and one of the things that we are putting together right now is a proposal to have a structural assessment and a restoration assessment done of the Yorktown so we will know what needs to be done and what it will cost. In order for a consultant to do that work, we have to give them some real good baseline to start with so they can give us a price.” says Burdette.
Burdette says one question brought up with this proposal: Where would the repairs take place?
“Is it going to be hauled off to a shipyard in Virginia or is going to be done right here in Charleston in place? We have provided information that the Corps of Engineers has given to us that uses a cofferdam system around the Yorktown, or an affordable cofferdam system that would allow us to do that restoration work right in place–right where she sits right now today–which would allow the museum to remain open, and revenue coming in, etc.” says Burdette.
A cofferdam would serve as a barricade to get the water out of the way for engineers to work on the ship.
However, Burdette says they’ll make a decision after the assessment.
“Once we hire a consultant and he completes the complete assessment of the Yorktown, they will answer three questions for us. One, what needs to be done to the Yorktown? Two, when does it need to be done? Some things need to be done sooner than other things. And, three, what’s it going to cost?” he explains.
After the assessment comes the challenge of paying for the repairs:
“We won’t even start working on solutions to the funding until we get the study back. We know it will be multiple sources. It will be everything from ongoing operational accounts, to the possible leasing of property, to working hopefully with the Department of Defense to look at some of the issues they may have left us with when they brought the ship here, things like that.” says Burdette.
Burdette says it will take about a year to complete the study of the needed Yorktown repairs.