By CAROL COMEGNO
Flatbed trucks delivered two whaleboats Monday that will be
mounted on the battleship New Jersey once workers refurbish
the deck of the planned floating museum.
The Home Port Alliance, the group that won the historic
ship for the Camden Waterfront, accepted the 26-foot-long
boats from the Navy.
"We were looking for a pair because the whaleboats on the
New Jersey were taken off when she was decommissioned. The
Navy offered these and we are delighted to have gotten
them," said alliance executive director Thomas
Whaleboats, which are pointed at both ends and have a
wider center beam, are put over the side of a ship to carry
supplies to and from shore, said Joe Shields, the
battleship's boatswain. They also can be used as lifeboats
The boats got their name from the whaling industry. They
were launched from a larger vessel, carrying crew members
who hunted whales with harpoons, then followed the prey
until it died.
The two whaleboats are made of Fiberglas-reinforced
plastic, unlike the original wooden whaleboats that were
put aboard the New Jersey when it was built during World
War II. Wooden whaleboats are no longer available.
Seigenthaler said these boats came off the USS Seattle, a
decommissioned supply ship in Philadelphia.
The boats were stored at the Inactive Ships Maintenance
Facility at the former Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. They
were trucked to New Jersey separately on Monday and then
taken off flatbeds by South Jersey Port Corp. cranes at the
Broadway Terminal for storage until they are needed.
One whaleboat will be mounted on each side of the 887-foot
battleship, one of the most highly decorated in the Navy
and fought in four wars or conflicts.
The New Jersey, undergoing a $7 million refurbishment at
the terminal, ultimately will be docked at a pier to be
built behind the E-Centre. Alliance officials hope to open
the attraction on Sept. 2.
The Navy awarded the ship to the Camden group a year ago
this month after an intense competition for the historic
vessel with the state battleship commission, which wanted
the ship in Bayonne.
Seigenthaler said the alliance also is searching for two
personnel boats, one measuring 33 feet long and the other
44 feet long. They will be mounted on the ship in the same
area as the whaleboats. Anyone who can assist in locating
them is asked to call the alliance office at (856) 966-
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