Maritime Museum of San Diego in time crunch to restore Vietnam-era swift boat

Maritime Museum hopes to restore boat for reunion

CHULA VISTA, Calif. - The Maritime Museum of San Diego is working to restore a vessel linked to the Vietnam War.

Vietnam veteran Tom Matyn is helping the museum restore a vintage 1968 swift boat, and he said, "There's a long road ahead to get her ready."

The 50-foot long boat never sailed in the war, but was used in Coronado to train swift boat sailors before they went to war.  

In the hands of Malta as a patrol boat for decades, the Maritime Museum brought it back last September.  

"Cosmetically, it was OK, but there is a lot of work to do," said Mark Gallant, the project director for the museum's restoration effort.  

It took roughly $120,000 just to get the boat to San Diego, and Gallant said another $100,000 to get it back in working order, especially the engines, but time is of the essence.  

"We have about 400 to 500 swift boat sailors coming to San Diego in May for their bi-annual reunion and we've already received cancelations as some have passed away," Gallant said.  

The goal, if donations come through, is to not only get the vessel back in working order for the reunion, but also to eventually be able to take paying passengers out to the Navy's amphibious base on the bay to see where the ship was housed and used for training.

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