Getting the USS Yorktown ship shape

The Fighting Lady is getting a much needed face-lift

By Sonya

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) -- The U.S.S. Yorktown is a landmark and popular tourist attraction in the Lowcountry, and crews at Patriots Point are working to keep it in ship shape by giving it some much needed TLC.

The Fighting Lady, now 70 years old, is getting a much needed face-lift.

"Trying to get a little preservation on it and some cosmetic repairs to it, some metal work and a new paint job from the main deck down to the water line," said Rich Dunn, the maintenance superintendent at Patriots Point.

And painting a ship of this magnitude is very detailed -- it's a four layer process. First, there is spot primer, then primer and two layers of top coat.

It will take close to 500 gallons of paint and cost approximately $200,000, but they are saving hundreds of thousands by having their crew of eight do all the work.

Dunn is the maintenance supervisor, but for him it's more than a job.

"I feel like I'm at home here, retired Navy and I came here and went to work," said Dunn. "I'm doing the same as I did in the Navy; maintenance, taking care of the ship and it's just I feel good when I see people walk around here smiling and thanking you for taking care of the ship."

The project is expected to take about eight months, but is all dependent on the weather. The crews can't work in the rain and painting can't be done when it's too humid. Also the temperature of the steel on the ship has to be between 50 and 100 degrees.

All of the money needed to paint the starboard side of the ship has come from admissions, gift shop sales, overnight camping and event rentals. Patriots Point will have to request more money from the board next year to paint the port side.