MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Mobile’s old battleship is getting a new look. The main deck at the USS Alabama is being replaced for the first time since World War II.  A giant white tent covers much of the port side of the ship. It is where the next section of the battleship deck is being replaced. The main deck is the first thing people see when they come aboard.

“You’re not going to spend a lot of time effort and money putting in new carpeting, new drapes if the roof leaks and for the vast majority of exhibit space on this ship this is the roof,” said Battleship Curator Shea McLean. While the wood is new, there are still bumps and other access points that were preserved to keep the ship historically accurate.

“Some of which could be turned over and used as padeyes to lash down equipment, and of course this deck would have been covered with all kinds of military equipment,” said McLean. If you want to have a piece of WWII history, those old deck pieces are being collected to be used as souvenirs.

“It may be through a certain type of merchandise, it may be the teak itself but we’ve had many inquiries about people that want a piece of history,” said USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park Executive Director Janet Cobb.

This section above the main deck will remain unchanged. It shows how much the deck aged–and the random patches of metal used to keep it together.  This is part of a five-phase, $8.5 million replacement project and may be complete by October of 2024.

Take a live look at the USS Alabama. This is one of WKRG’s many live weather cameras that give you a real-time look all across the Gulf Coast.