Portland PT boat back in the water again

PORTLAND, Ore. - The world's only operational PT boat was back on the water Tuesday.

Or, more specifically, it was on the back of another boat, then back on the water.

PT-658, which has spent the better part of 20 years near a Coast Guard dock on Swan Island, was transported by barge to its new home at a boathouse at Vigor Shipyard.

Veterans and volunteers have spent years restoring the boat.

"It was in all areas of conflict during World War II," said Wally Boerger, who has worked on the boat. "It was in the Aleutians. It was in the Mediterranean. It was protecting the flanks at the D-Day invasion.

"It's like I said - it's the only operational one and it's pretty well fully restored to what it looked like when it came out of the factory."

The boat has been on a dry dock for the past 12 months undergoing further repairs.

It turns out, restoring a decades-old boat is neither cheap nor easy.

"A boat is never done," Boerger said. "As they say on Pawn Stars, boat stands for "bust out another thousand."

Boerger said the boat is now fully repaired and will be on the water for years to come.

It gives Portland a unique piece of World War II history. Designed to quickly strike at vessels as large as battleships with torpedoes, PT boats are a dying breed. There are only a handful left, and PT-658 is the only one in the world that's seaworthy.

"We have four Mark 13 torpedoes, we have a 40 millimeter (gun), we have two 20 millimeters," Boerger said. "For its size, it was the most heavily armed boat in the U.S. Navy during World War II."

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