This past April, divers from Seaward Marine Services, Inc. stopped by the Charlestown Navy Yard to clean USS Constitution‘s hull below the waterline in preparation for her restoration. These skilled divers, many of whom served in the U.S. Navy, braved frigid water temperatures to scrape twenty years of seaweed and mollusk build-up from “Old Ironsides.” Cleaning the hull helps remove excess weight before the ship is floated into dry dock.

A diver of Seaward Marine Services, Inc. scrubs the hull of USS Constitution, April 6, 2015,. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
A diver of Seaward Marine Services, Inc. scrubs the hull of USS Constitution, April 6, 2015,. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
Seward Marine Services, Inc. divers pose in front of USS Constitution after working on her hull. [Courtesy Seaward Marine Services, Inc.]
Divers from Seward Marine Services, Inc. pose in front of USS Constitution after working on her hull in April 2015. [Courtesy Seaward Marine Services, Inc.]
Several divers spent nearly six hours a day for two days scrubbing the hull with large bristled brushes specially designed for cleaning ships.

Large bristled brushes used by the divers to scrub the hull of USS Constitution below the waterline. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
Large bristled brushes used by the divers to scrub the hull of USS Constitution below the waterline. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
In addition to carrying an emergency oxygen tank on their backs, each diver wore a wetsuit and helmet hooked up to three tubes: one to provide oxygen, one with a wire used for communication, and one pumping a constant stream of hot water to keep them comfortable in water temperatures below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

Employees of Seaward Marine Services, Inc. connect air and water tubes and communication wires to a diver's helmet, April 6, 2015. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
Employees of Seaward Marine Services, Inc. connect air and water tubes and communication wires to a diver’s helmet, April 6, 2015. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
A diver climbs down a ladder into Boston Harbor on April 6, 2015. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
A diver climbs down a ladder into Boston Harbor on April 6, 2015. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
A diver with Seaward Marine Services, Inc. prepares to enter Boston Harbor to clean USS Constitution. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
A diver with Seaward Marine Services, Inc. prepares to enter Boston Harbor to clean USS Constitution. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
A diver climbs down a ladder into Boston Harbor on April 6, 2015. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
A diver climbs down a ladder into Boston Harbor on April 6, 2015. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
A diver swims toward USS Constitution to clean her hull, April 6, 2015. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
A diver swims toward USS Constitution to clean her hull, April 6, 2015. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]

 – K. Monea

The Author(s)

USS Constitution Museum