Restoration of the Wavertree Historic Vessel
New York City
Best Project

Key Players
Project Owner/Developer: NYC Dept. of Design and Construction
General Contractor/Construction Manager: Caddell Dry Dock & Repair Co.
Lead Design Firm: W Architecture & Landscape Architecture
Consulting Engineer: AENY

The Wavertree historic vessel is a rare example of a 19th-century British three-mast full-rigged ship and one of the few remaining riveted wrought-iron vessels in the world. For its renovation, the 132-year-old ship was transported to a controlled dry environment where blasting of existing corroded finishes occurred. In addition, a new protective recoating was applied on the exterior and interior surfaces to prevent future deterioration and to ensure long-term preservation of the hull. Cathodic protection, a restoration method using an electric current that was not available when the ship was built, was also used to remove corrosion.

The vessel was lifted with special cranes to conduct the structural restoration, which would have been impossible had the ship been docked on water.

Structural repairs included stiffening and bracing of the hull, replacement of the main and tween deck with metal decks and replacing the ballast system. The construction team also installed a new lighting system within the ship.

Currently docked at Pier 15 at the South Street Seaport, Wavertree will function as a public maritime museum vessel when completed.

“The restoration of the Wavertree was a unique project for the [NYC Dept. of Design and Construction] as it required us to simultaneously create an interactive museum space and preserve the ship’s traditional maritime look and feel,” says Ana Barrio, acting commissioner for the NYC agency. “We’re proud to have successfully been involved in what was an unprecedented project.”

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