Live like a sailor in Battleship New Jersey’s overnight program

Powering across the Pacific Ocean, the USS New Jersey carried her crew of nearly 3,000 officers and sailors into battle against Imperial Japanese forces, helping lead and support victories at Leyte Gulf, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. The Iowa-class battleship not only served in World War II, but later the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War and conflicts in the Middle East, making it the most decorated battleship in U.S. Navy history.

Today, your Scouts can live aboard this storied vessel as part of the Battleship New Jersey’s overnight program.

Aboard the USS New Jersey

The battleship’s overnight program offers an opportunity for groups to take a guided tour throughout the “Big J,” seeing the Combat Engagement Center, the navigation bridge, the Officers’ Wardroom and more. At 887 feet long (that’s three football fields!) and 45,000 tons, the USS New Jersey and three other Iowa-class battleships – ranked as the longest battleships ever built — gave the Navy a powerful weapon for the Pacific Theater, equipped with nine 16-inch guns, powerful enough to reach land targets nearly 23 miles away. As you board, you will meet a “watch officer,” whose main task is to keep your group safe as you explore the massive ship.

After receiving safety instructions, you will find your bunk – the same type of bunks sailors who served in the 1980s slept in. Then, it’s time to eat. Scouts spending the night will be chosen to help serve the meals with assistance from the ship’s staff in the galley. Everyone eats in the geedunk, adjacent to the crew’s mess. This area is also open until 11 p.m., in case you and your Scouts want to grab a snack or drink.

After dinner, you will go on a guided tour. Tour routes vary, but generally your group will get to go places not usually open to the public. The ship stands at 11 stories high with each level filled with educational opportunities for your Scout to learn what life was like aboard the ship and its role during different conflicts.

Before bedtime, one Scout will get the chance to pull the trigger and fire from the ship’s 40mm saluting gun.

Morning colors are raised at 8 a.m., following breakfast. Afterwards, you can go on a self-guided tour throughout the rest of the morning. Your tour guide will direct you on where you can visit.

Book now

The overnight experience costs $85 per person. The overnight program accommodates a couple hundred Scouts over the weekend. All encampments must be booked in advance by contacting the Battleship New Jersey at or calling 1-866-877-6262 ext. 203.

The USS New Jersey is anchored along the New Jersey-side of the Delaware River just across from Philadelphia. The battleship is currently closed for dry dock maintenance; however, you can still make reservations for the overnight program for this summer and fall. After dry dock maintenance is completed, you will also be able to buy tickets for daily tours ($30 for adults, $23 for children), which include self-guided tours, guided tours and evening guided tours.

About Michael Freeman 446 Articles
Michael Freeman, an Eagle Scout, is an associate editor of Scout Life and Scouting magazines.