1797 navy ship tours Boston harbor again
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Old Ironsides is about to enter a three-year restoration project.
Built in Boston and launched in October 1797, the USS Constitution or "Old Ironsides" is a ship that was commissioned by the U.S. Navy following the Revolutionary War. Its mission was to protect American merchant ships off the northern coast of Africa.
It earned the nickname "Old Ironsides" after winning numerous battles during the War of 1812 against Great Britain. Over the years, the ship has held a variety of roles in the Navy. Today with an all active-duty Navy crew, it is a major tourist destination in Boston. More than 500,000 visitors come aboard each year.
The Constitution is the world's oldest commissioned warship still afloat. During its restoration, its upper masts will be removed and the ship's long guns will be taken off. The three-mast frigate still will be open for public tours and officially enters dry dock in March 2015.
Workers are expected to re-copper the ship's hull, replace worn riggings and change out old planks on the gun and berth decks. General repairs will be made to the stern, bow and captain's cabin.
By spring or summer 2018 it should return to its familiar spot on Pier 1 at the Navy Yard.
Critical thinking challenge: How does the U.S. benefit by keeping such an old ship in its active fleet?