CAMDEN — A memorial that's been in the same spot for decades will soon be dragged out of New Jersey.

But the Battleship New Jersey won't be gone for good.

The decommissioned warship is just long overdue for some key repairs.

When is Battleship New Jersey leaving Camden?

Work to prepare Battleship New Jersey for a departure from Camden for repairs (Battleship New Jersey)
Work to prepare Battleship New Jersey for a departure from Camden for repairs (Battleship New Jersey)

The exact date of the ship's departure from Camden is still up in the air. According to CEO Marshall Spevak, the ship should leave the city in mid to late March.

Work is already underway to prepare for the big day. The mast and radar array have been removed from atop the ship, so that it can actually fit under the Walt Whitman Bridge when it's towed down the Delaware River toward Philadelphia.

And leading up to departure day, contractors will be working to ensure that the different systems that keep the ship operating as a tourist site — plumbing, electrical, and mechanical, for example — are ready for disconnection.

Why is Battleship New Jersey leaving Camden?

The Navy recommends that decommissioned museum ships be dry docked every 20 years, Spevak said. Battleship New Jersey hasn't moved since the year 2000.

"We are well past due," Spevak said. "The longer we kick the can down the road, the more and more expensive it becomes."

The cost of doing the work today is $10 million. The site is still accepting donations to reach that goal.

Battleship New Jersey
Battleship New Jersey

The major renovations involve the hull of the ship, such as repainting and corrosion prevention.

If all goes as planned, the massive museum/memorial will be dry docked in Philadelphia for 60 or so days, before coming back to the Camden waterfront.

"We think we can reopen the ship within two or three weeks once she returns," Spevak said. "We hope to be open by early June."

The maintenance should prepare the ship to last for decades, Spevak said.

Tours of the ship will not completely stall once it leaves Camden. Dry dock tours will be offered on weekends at the Philadelphia shipyard. More information on this opportunity will be released when staffers release the official departure date.

According to Spevak, a "big event" is planned for departure day. Folks can watch the ship be pulled out of the dock and start moving down the river.

"We take this obligation seriously," Spevak said. "There are thousands of sailors who sailed on here. For many, this will probably be the last time in their lifetime that they'll be able to see the Battleship move."

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