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Inactive Ships

Ship Donation

Currently, the Navy does not have any ships available for donation.

The Navy's Ship Donation Program has served the interests of both the Navy and the public since its inception in 1948, providing a tangible reminder of the U.S. Navy's role in American history. Through the authority of Title 10, U.S. Code Section 8676, selected naval vessels, which have been determined to be historically significant are available for donation to any State, the District of Columbia, any Commonwealth or possession of the United States, or any municipal corporation or political subdivision thereof or any nonprofit entity, for use as a museum or memorial for public display in the United States.


  • Promote public interest in the defense of the nation,
  • Commemorate naval history and heritage, and
  • Safeguard the preservation of donated ships for future generations.

Ship donation process overview:

Once a ship is placed on donation hold status, SEA 21I publicly announces the ship's availability for donation via a notice in the Federal Register. The Navy's minimum requirements for ship donation and other ship donation application information are available by clicking on "Ship Donation Application Info" on the right side of this web page. The ship donation application process is a three-phase process:

  1. Phase I: Applicants have 60 days from the date of the Federal Register notice to submit Phase I application requirements which consists of a Letter of Intent and an Executive Summary.
  2. Phase II: Applicants have 12 months from the date they are told to proceed to submit Phase II application requirements which consists of a Business/Financial Plan and Environmental Plan.
  3. Phase III: Applicants have 6 months from the date they are told to proceed to submit Phase III application requirements which consists of Mooring, Towing, Maintenance and Curatorial/Museum Plans.  

If the application meets the Navy’s minimum requirements for donation, a donation recommendation is made to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition (ASN RD&A).

If approved by ASN RD&A, the applicant and Navy complete the remainder of the package, including completing the National Historic Preservation Act requirements and Polychlorinated Biphenyl compliance agreements with the Environmental Protection Agency and the package is then forwarded to the Secretary of the Navy for final transfer approval. If two or more applications meet the minimum requirements for donation, Navy will choose the best applicant.

Upon execution of a donation transfer, the Donee assumes title to the vessel and all ownership costs of restoration, preservation, maintenance, operation as the static ship museum/memorial for public display, periodic dry-docking and ultimately ship disposal. Transfers are made “as is, where is.”

The contractual requirement that donated vessels be maintained in a condition satisfactory to the Secretary of the Navy pertains to the use of the vessel in a manner that does not disrespect the veterans that served on these ships or the proud traditions and heritage of the U.S. Navy. Donation transfer contracts between the Donee and the Navy also require the Donee to obtain the Navy's consent to further transfer the vessel or to dispose of the vessel at the end of its useful life as a museum/memorial. This is necessary because demilitarization of warships by complete destruction, usually by dismantling, is postponed when the vessel is donated for museum/memorial use. The Navy's consent is required to ensure that the Donee properly demilitarizes the ship at the end of its useful life as a museum/memorial.

  • Ship Donation