On Sunday, May 17, 2015, Dry Dock 1 in the Charlestown Navy Yard was flooded in preparation for USS Constitution‘s entrance on Monday night, May 18, 2015.  Flooding began at 8:00 AM Sunday morning and took about two hours. After the dry dock was flooded, the caisson (floating gate) was removed and tied up behind the ship at Pier 1 East.

Dry Dock 1 is flooded on May 17, 2015. [Courtesy U.S. Navy. Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Peter Melkus]
Dry Dock 1 is flooded on May 17, 2015. [Courtesy U.S. Navy. Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Peter Melkus]
A series of docking lines will be used to warp and position Constitution into Dry Dock 1. The orange line bow line, shown in the foreground of the image below, is run from the ship to the capstan at the head of the dry dock.

Dry Dock 1 filled with water, on May 18, 2015. USS Constitution is tied up in the background. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
Dry Dock 1 filled with water on May 18, 2015. USS Constitution is tied up in the background. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
The capstan is the principle mechanism for pulling Constitution into Dry Dock 1. Today it is powered by an electric motor and was recently refurbished in preparation for the ship’s dry docking. The capstan will winch, or warp, the ship into position as it floats into dry dock.  The original capstans, installed when the dock opened in 1833, were man-powered.

Capstan at the head of Dry Dock 1. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
Capstan at the head of Dry Dock 1. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
To help center Constitution while entering the dry dock, additional docking lines will run outboard, starboard and port.  They will be manned by the staff of the Naval History & Heritage Command Detachment Boston, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, and crew from Constitution.

USS Constitution tied up at Pier 1 East on May 18, 2015. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]
USS Constitution tied up at Pier 1 East on May 18, 2015. [Courtesy USS Constitution Museum]

 – M. M. Desy & K. Monea

The Author(s)

USS Constitution Museum