Historic Navy Ship Baylander Shortly Open to New Yorkers

By George Backwell
Thursday, July 17, 2014
ex-USS Baylander: Photo credit Baylander

An historic U.S. Navy vessel that was originally deployed during Vietnam and later used to train U.S. helicopter pilots will temporarily dock at Pier 5 of Brooklyn Bridge Park (BBP) and for the first time be open for public tours. Free walk-up tours of the 'Baylander' are currently scheduled for weekends from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. beginning July 26 through Labor Day, inform the owners, the Trenk Family Foundation.

In advance of construction of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Marina, the Baylander IX-514 will open for tours as part of a larger program designed to highlight the history of the ship and its extraordinary background, as well as facilitate the Marina's community boating program.

In addition, the developers of Brooklyn Bridge Park Marina, the largest recreational marina to be developed in New York Harbor in 50 years, say they are excited to announce an array of programming goals for the summer of 2014 associated with the arrival of the Baylander, which will further BBP's goal of promoting recreational boating and on- water educational programming, and provide New Yorkers even more opportunities to actively connect with their waterfront.

The development team currently anticipates an open date of April 2015 for the marina. Prior to the start of construction, it is bringing the Baylander to BBP to serve as the platform for other vessels to access the park.  These will include, amongst other historic vessels, the Lettie G. Howard, a wooden Schooner built in 1893, owned by South Street Seaport and operated by the Urban Assembly Harbor School, as well as the John J. Harvey a retired FDNY fireboat built in 1931.

The Baylander IX-514 is a 131-foot vessel  that began its service in Vietnam in 1968.  In 1986 the Baylander was transformed into a helicopter trainer for the U.S. Navy, Marine, Air Force, Coast Guard and National Guard. For more than 10 years the ship provided a cost-effective training platform for single-spot deck landings, covering both day and night operations.  Since 1986 the ship completed 120,000 error-free helicopter landings with a record of 346 landings in one day in June 1988.

Source: Trenk Family Foundation

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