Brown Water Navy patrol boat getting repairs in North Charleston
MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV/AP) - One of the last remaining river patrol boats used by America's so-called Brown Water Navy during the Vietnam War is heading to dry dock.
A mammoth crane lifted the river patrol boat onto a flatbed truck at the Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum in Mount Pleasant on Tuesday.
The boat is being taken to a boat yard in North Charleston from the Patriots Point display of a Vietnam river support base. Officials at Patriots Point say the MK1 River Patrol boat is one of only two that are known to survive.
"It's a rare piece and what it represents," said senior curator Dave Clark.
The Vietnam vessel will be repaired through the several local businesses volunteering time, labor and funds.
Dave Coker, general manager at Pierside Boatworks, spearheaded the volunteer project after coming to the museum to give an estimate.
"I went back to the president of our company and said hey if you volunteer on the labor, I will go to all my suppliers and I will find somebody to donate everything," he said.
Coker said everyone reacted positively towards the whole idea.
"They basically said love to do it count us in. everyone was very anxious to get on board," he said.
Patriots Point says the month-long project wouldn't be made possible without the support from Pierside Boatworks, volunteers from Allstate Crane, and Lemmond's Marine Transport, Interlux, Engineered Marine Coatings, Reg Brown, The Royal Touch Marine Services and West Marine.
Renovating the Patriots Point boat will take about a month and cost $30,000.
Clark says the boat has been the main attraction at Vietnam exhibit.
"It will continue to be the centerpiece as we continue to expand and enhance our Vietnam experience," Clark said.
The vessel is expected to be back at Patriots Point by May 1.
A second generation of the patrol boats, the MK2, was also used in Vietnam. About a dozen of those are thought to still be around.