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Bill Capo / Eyewitness News
Email: bcapo@wwltv.com | Twitter: @billcapo

NEW ORLEANS -- The huge PT-305 nearly fills the World War II Museum's Restoration Pavilion.

The four-year restoration project is 80 percent complete as volunteers carefully restore each piece.

PT 305 was built at Higgins Industries in New Orleans in 1943. It sank two enemy crafts in the Mediterranean during World War II.

When the restoration is complete in about a year, she'll be launched in Lake Pontchartrain.

'As I understand, they go 50 knots, and quite honestly, I've never been 50 knots on the ocean. I can't imagine what it's going to be like,' said museum curator Tom Czekanski.

The museum is outfitting the PT 305 to carry passengers.

'And we'll do high speed maneuvers, and they'll get the feeling of what it was like to stand on this boat during the war,' said PT 305 Restoration Project Leader Bruce Harris.

'The only boat that's got all its engines, a completely restored hull,' said Czekanski.

'They'll get to hear the sounds and feel the waves. It's going to be quite an experience,' said Harris.

Donations have supported the restoration, and there are still financial needs.

'We're constantly going to plumbing stores, electrical stores,' said Harris.

'We need sponsorships to help make the operation of this boat a reality, to help cover the costs of fuel, maintenance,' said Czekanski.

All of them are having fun. But in order to meet the financial needs, there's a new committee set up by the museum of young professionals, and they've set up a gala on Friday, March 21, and it's called Drafts For Crafts.

'They will be serving food and beverages from around the city,' said the Museum's Gala Coordinator Jessica Skelly. 'We're going to have entertainment from the Roots of Music and Flow Tribe.'

Tickets cost $65. For details, call the National World War II Museum at 528-1944, or visit the gala website here.

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