World War Two PT boat makes a splash on the New Orleans lakefront

WWII Museum PT boat

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A moving museum, PT-305 pulls away from its new boat house on the New Orleans lakefront.

Patrol Boat 305 is the only PT boat that saw combat duty in World War Two and is again operation, according to the National World War Two Museum.

It sank three enemy vessels in the Mediterranean.

"We have over 120,000 volunteer hours in the restoration of PT 305," said Tom Czekanski, Senior Curator and Restoration Manager at the museum.

"It's been a labor of love for a long time, 10-plus years," said George Benedetto, Senior Captain and volunteer.

PT boats were the fastest vessels in the U.S. Navy in WW II, packing torpedoes and guns designed to engage and kill enemy vessels operating in coastal waters

"It's been said that for its size, it's the most heavily-armed vessel in the Navy," Czekanski said.

With the exception of a couple minor safety requirements from the U.S. Coast Guard, the boat appears just as it did in the 1940s.
The original crew gave PT-305 the nickname, U.S.S. Sudden Jerk.

"They were going a little too fast and, of course, there are no brakes on boats and they ran into the dock with a sudden jerk," Czekanski said.  "The name stuck."

The boat began life over 70 years ago at the old Higgins Shipyard in City Park.  The Navy sold it as surplus after the war for $10.

Having a post-war purpose probably saved her, according to curator Josh Schick.

The boat operated for another half a century in a number of roles, from commercial fishing vessel to tour boat.

"The hull was kept in good enough condition rather than sitting around," Schick said.  "But also, she's a beast. She's built heavy and strong."

At the end of a brief media cruise Thursday, the boat lived up to her name, coming in a little fast and taking a bite out of the dock.

Beginning next month, the National World War Two Museum will offer rides on the boat for $350/ticket with discounts for museum members, children, seniors and military personnel.  Regular tickets to tour the boat will run $15 for general admission and $12 for members seniors, military and children.

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