USS Constitution


USS Constitution

Charlestown, MA

About this Project

The USS Constitution is berthed at Pier 1 in the Charlestown Naval Shipyard which is part of the National Park Service. The Navy determined that repairs are needed to the Pier 1 fender system.  The USS Constitution is a commissioned vessel in the US Navy, therefore her care and the care of her berth fall to the Navy.

FST performed field investigations (above and below water with divers) documenting the location and extent of the deterioration of the fender system.  A report was prepared evaluating repair alternatives and their costs. A comparison was made between peeled oak and greenheart fender piles. Although greenheart piles have twice the expected life (25-30 years) the additional material cost (3-4 times that of oak) was not justified for a 5-10 year design life.

Once a repair alternative was chosen FST prepared contract documents, including drawings, specifications and estimate.

FST prepared documentation to acquire the necessary environmental permits from Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Wetlands and the City of Boston Conservation Commission. FST attended the Conservation Commission hearing on behalf of the client.

FST conducted a routine waterfront facilities inspection (WFI) at the finger pier in Charlestown Navy Yard at the USS Constitution berth. The inspection included an underwater and above water inspection of the finger pier. The facility inspection covered steel pipe piles, steel beams, steel pile caps, timber piles, timber pile caps, timber stringers, concrete decks, and fender systems.

The Finger Pier is comprised of 2 sections: a steel and concrete section (walkway) and a timber and concrete section (timber pier). There is a fender system for the timber pier to protect it from wear and impact from the camels used to breast the USS Constitution.

The inspection and assessment results for the facility were presented three ways:

1) an engineering assessment rating;
2) a condition index (CI) rating; and
3) an operational capability rating.

Overall, the finger pier is in fair condition; the operational capability rating is C3 and the overall condition index for this facility is 60. The concrete deck on the timber pier was replaced circa 2007 and is in good condition. The steel bracing on the walkway was also replaced circa 2007 and is in good condition. The finger pier requires rehabilitation to regain full function. The finger pier is scheduled for replacement in 2015 and the recommended repairs to maintain the structure until that time are:

  • Repair concrete deck of walkway
  • Repair Guard Rail on Walkway and Timber Pier


More Information

Owners: US Navy and National Park Service

Location: Charlestown, Massachusetts

Highlights: The USS Constitution is a wooden-hulled, three-masted heavy frigate that was named by President George Washington. The boat is the world's oldest commissioned naval vessel afloat.