Book Tour Book Ride
 

PT-305 IS READY FOR LAUNCH!

CLIMB ABOARD THE WORLD's ONLY FULLY RESTORED OPERATIONAL COMBAT-VETERAN PT BOAT

Book Tour Book Ride
 

BOOK A TOUR OR RIDE

Don’t miss your chance to experience history—reserve your spot today!

Experience history like never before aboard PT-305! Fast and maneuverable, Patrol Torpedo boats were a unique and essential tool for US naval forces during World War II. See and feel the PT boat experience and learn about the service of the men who called them home with PT-305—the world's only fully restored combat-veteran PT boat in operation today!

Active-duty military in uniform save 50% on rides.


Tour Details

  • Offered on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The last tour begins at 3:00 p.m. each day.
  • Lasts approximately 45 minutes.
  • $15 per person; $12 for seniors, children ages 12–17, military, and Museum Members.
  • The boat is not ADA accessible.
  • Children under 12 are not allowed on the boat.
Book Tour

Ride Details

  • Only offered on Saturday, limited availability. We highly recommend purchasing tickets in advance to assure your spot on the boat.
  • Children under 12 are not allowed on the boat.
  • Lasts approximately 90 minutes.
  • $350 per person; $305 for seniors, children ages 12–17, military, and Museum Members.
  • The boat is not ADA accessible.
  • Exclusive charters are available. Please contact our Travel & Conference Department for further details.
Book Ride

Liability waiver must be signed on-site on the day of your ride. Review in advance here.

FAQs

Expand to get the answers to frequently asked questions about touring and riding PT-305.

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Are there group rates?

Yes. Groups that wish to charter PT-305 for a private experience may do so, based on availability. Please contact the Museum’s Travel & Conference Department for more information and special pricing.

Do you offer a shuttle from the Museum campus to the boathouse?

Yes, a shuttle is available from The National WWII Museum’s campus to Southshore Harbor where the boathouse is located for $29 per person round-trip. This is approximately a 30-minute ride each way and will depart from the Museum 45 minutes prior to the scheduled ride time. This service must be prebooked with PT-305 ticket purchase.

How is seating assigned?

PT-305 can accommodate up to 18 guests on specially designed “ammo cases” that provide seating for up to two guests each and are equipped with handles for safety.

Do I have to purchase my tickets in advance, and if so, how far in advance?

Tickets for rides aboard PT-305 must be purchased in advance online or in person at the Museum. We expect the first year of operation tickets to go quickly, so guests should plan early and reserve as soon as possible.

What do I wear?

We suggest guests wear sturdy shoes with little or no heel and comfortable casual clothing. On occasion, the deck and gangway may be slippery and necessitate shoes with traction to avoid slipping. We do recommend sunscreen as PT-305 does not provide cover. Should there be light rain or mist, we will provide ponchos. Umbrellas are not allowed on board.

What will the ride feel like?

PT-305 is a wooden-hull vessel designed for military use. On occasion, water conditions may determine how smooth the cruise experience may be. Headphones will be provided to buffer noise from the engines and also provide information during your ride.

What safety precautions are taken?

There will be an informative safety video shown in the boathouse, as well as further safety guidance once aboard PT-305.

Is there a minimum age?

Yes. Children must be 12 or older.

How long does the experience last?

We ask guests to arrive no more than 10 minutes prior to their scheduled ride. We anticipate the experience to last approximately 90 minutes, including time in the boathouse.

Who will be aboard PT-305 when I ride?

PT-305 is staffed with a crew of five maritime industry professionals, including a captain, engineer, and three deck-crew members who have all undergone thorough training on safe operation.

May I take pictures during my ride?

We require guests to remain seated at all times. Hands must be free to hold on to safety handles. Safe storage for purses and other belongings will be provided by staff in the boathouse during your ride.

What kind of still photos can I expect?

Upon departure, a group photo will be taken on board PT-305 and will be available for purchase at the completion of your ride.

What if weather and/or water conditions don’t allow for safe operation of PT-305?

Guests who have purchased tickets will be notified no less than two hours prior to scheduled ride time in the event weather or water conditions do not allow for safe operation of PT-305.

The makeup date is exactly 24 hours after the scheduled ride time (Sundays). Should you wish not to participate on the alternately scheduled ride time, a full refund will be provided to the original form of payment used for ticket purchase.

 

SUPPORT PT-305

Drafts For Crafts

Celebrate PT-305’s relaunch at the fourth annual Drafts for Crafts, presented by the Museum’s Young Benefactors on Saturday, March 25, 2017. Drafts for Crafts 2016 helped fund the final push to restore PT-305. In 2017, the party moves to PT-305’s new boathouse on Lake Pontchartrain to salute the crew of Young Benefactors, restoration volunteers, donors, and supporters who made this awesome project a reality. Proceeds will support PT-305’s operation in her first year on the water. Purchase your tickets today!

PURCHASE TICKETS

KEEP PT-305 RUNNING EVEN AFTER THE LAUNCH

Please consider supporting PT-305 so we can keep it in good working condition. If you would like to donate to help defray the operational costs of running this historic vessel, please donate an amount of your choice to our Launch PT-305! Campaign.

At the bottom of the form, next to the question, “Is There a Particular Campaign You'd Like to Support?” choose “Launch PT-305! Campaign.” Thank you for your support!

I SUPPORT PT-305 Custom boathouse on Lake Pontchartrain: The future home of PT-305.
 

History

Built in New Orleans by Higgins Industries, the patrol-torpedo (PT) boat PT-305 was a critical asset for the US Navy during World War II, serving in European waters from 1944 to the end of the war. Heavily armed, equipped with advanced technology, uniquely maneuverable, often ingeniously modified, and reliant on cooperation and teamwork, PT boats were a perfect naval expression of the American Spirit at war. With small crews within collaborative 12-ship squadrons, they were also the home to a colorful collection of Navy sailors and a dramatic backdrop for moving personal stories of war, including the trials of cramped quarters, the terrifying thrill of combat, and humorous tales of shore-leave escapades.

Following her wartime service, PT-305 served as a New York tour boat, a fishing charter, and an oyster boat, undergoing modifications along the way: new, less-costly engines; several new paint jobs; and a dramatic reduction in length. When she was acquired by The National WWII Museum, PT-305 was in dry dock in Galveston, Texas, and in serious disrepair. In April 2007, accompanied by Museum curators, PT-305 found her way back to New Orleans, where The National WWII Museum became her home on land until she could be restored to her former glory.

View slideshow of historic photos of PT-305. Start Slideshow
 

Restoration

PT-305, in bad repair and far from seaworthy, resided at Back Bay Boat Yard in Galveston, Texas, when she was acquired by The National WWII Museum. Tom Czekanski, the Museum's senior curator and restoration manager, led the trip to Galveston Island to retrieve her in April 2007. But despite PT boats' wartime reputation for being swift and agile, her trip home to New Orleans was anything but: The entourage was not considered safe on the interstate; instead, it followed a circuitous route along small state highways. Czekanski accompanied the boat every mile, in the driver's seat of the rear "wide load" truck—a vantage point from which, during the first 100 miles of the trip, he watched with trepidation as every bump shook loose parts of PT-305's ramshackle deck.

The decade that followed brought hundreds of volunteers, millions of dollars in monetary and in-kind donations, and dramatic changes to PT-305: the addition of hull length that had been lost during PT-305's postwar years (13+ feet), engine and electrical work (12,000+ feet of cabling and wiring), caulking (3 miles worth), woodwork (13,000+ board foot), painting (300 gallons), and over 105,000 volunteer hours from restoration volunteers, including WWII veterans, father-and-son teams, naval engineers, electrical engineers, retired Coast Guard captains, motor ma-chinists, parts scroungers, historians, students, servicemembers, and many others.

Thanks to an overwhelmingly generous effort from supporters, the Museum was able to raise the funds necessary—via a successful Kickstarter campaign—to make PT-305’s future possible. We started with a goal of $50,000 for the campaign to #Launch305, and, in a month’s time, we saw $205,506 in donations.

View slideshow of the restoration of PT-305 at The National WWII Museum. Start Slideshow
 

Stories

Veterans

James Nerison
veteran of PT-305, Squadron 22

Jim Nerison joined the US Navy on November 2, 1942, at the age of 17. After boot camp in San Diego and additional training in Rhode Island, he arrived in New Orleans to train with Ron 22 on Lake Pontchartrain. Nerison’s detailed written account of his time on PT-305 (in the Museum’s collection), from his beginnings as a Seaman Recruit to his discharge as First Class Torpedoman, Petty Officer, includes descriptions of combat, shore-leave hijinks, and impromptu modifications to the vessel—including the addition of portholes salvaged from damaged yachts in the South of France.

Joseph Brannan
veteran of PT-305, Squadron 22

Joseph Brannan credits a rabbit’s foot for his good luck on PT-305, on which he served in the Mediterranean, under commanding officer Allan Purdy, beginning in December 1944—the time period on which PT-305’s restoration is based. Along with his lucky rabbit’s foot he carried with him a 35mm camera throughout his service, documenting the daily life of PT-305’s crew in the nearly 200 photographs, which he has shared with the Museum to assist in the restoration effort.

Jack Madden
veteran of PT-304, Squadron 22

Part of the second crew of PT-304, Jack Madden arrived aboard in December of 1944 and finished the war on PT-304. He was on board for four of the boat's six kills. After the war, he went to Siena College on the GI bill to study accounting. He earned his MBA at the same school, going on to work as an accountant for GMAC. His love of learning continued later in life, when he attended St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry for a masters in Theology.

Museum Staff

Tom Czekanski

Currently the Museum’s senior curator and restorations manager, Tom began working at The National D-Day Museum in October 2000, shortly after it opened. He has held a number of positions over the past 15 years, supervising the growth of the collections as the Museum transformed into The National WWII Museum. A US Army veteran, he received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio and a master’s degree from Texas Tech University. Tom started his museum career at the Texas Transportation Museum in San Antonio.

Bruce Harris

A master carpenter and boat builder, Bruce is the current project manager of the PT-305 restoration project. He has been involved in Museum restoration effort since the LCVP was built in 1995.

Josh Schick

A project historian for the PT-305 restoration, Joshua has been working with the Museum’s Higgins restoration volunteers since 2003, starting with the crew during the restoration of the Museum’s Landing Craft Personnel (Large) boat. While working on the LCP(L) and PT-305, Josh earned a bachelor’s degree in history at Louisiana State University and a master’s degree in history at the University of New Orleans.

Kali Martin

A project historian for the PT-305 restoration, Kali has been a volunteer on the project since January 2011. Kali joined the restoration project while completing a master’s degree in history at the University of New Orleans.

Restoration Volunteers

George Bennedetto

George is PT-305's lead volunteer, and has been involved in the Museum and its Higgins collection since the Museum's LCVP ("Higgins boat" landing craft) was built in 1995. He has a lifelong interest in boats, particularly racing boats.

Jimmy Dubuisson

WWII veteran Jimmy Dubuisson started his own boat-building company, Halter Marine, after the war, and came to the project with invaluable technical knowledge—as well as fascinating first-person experience: Jimmy recalls that during his childhood, while Higgins was testing PT boats on Lake Pontchartrain, he would go out on the lake in a small pirogue given to him by his father to watch.

Jerry Strahan

This student of Museum founder Stephen Ambrose is the author of the definitive book on Higgins: Andrew Jackson Higgins and the Boats that Won World War II. In addition to his work locating plans, salvaging parts, and helping to restore PT-305, he also helped to build the Museum’s replica LCVP in 1995.

Robert “Bob” Stengl

Bob joined the PT-305 restoration team in 2009 and has been a key member of the volunteer crew over the years. Aside from general help, Bob documented all donations and supplies delivered for the boat, taking pictures of everything from refrigerators to fuel tanks.

Mark Masor

A full-time naval architect, Mark has used his free time to volunteer on PT-305 ever since he first spotted the project when walking past the Museum on the way to his offices nearby. His knowledge of naval engineering and modern safety standards and his experience working closely with the Coast Guard has proved invaluable in the process of marrying authentic restoration with modern safety standards.

Destrehan High School & North Park High School Students

Students studying engineering at Destrehan High School drew up plans for the lifeline stanchions to be installed on PT-305. Students from technology-focused North Park High School in Maryland manufactured the stanchions.


Do you have a PT-305 Story?

We are always looking for more stories from those who were there. Anyone interested should fill out this form and our historians will contact you.

 

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