USS Constitution, the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world, became America's official “Ship of State” when President Barrack Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 on October 28th.
The designation allows the president, vice president, executive branch officials, and members of Congress to use the ship to host visiting heads of state, to sign legislation relating to the armed forces, and to sign maritime-related treaties. USS Constitution's primary mission will remain education and public outreach and any Ship of State functions will be secondary, according to Section 1022 of the Act (click on the link below for more information).
Built in Boston between 1794 and 1797 and launched in 1797, USS Constitution is currently undergoing what the Navy calls “pier side repair availability” – major renovations that will restore the ship to its 1812 configuration in time for the War of 1812 bicentennial commemoration.
USS Constitution's last major overhaul was conducted from 1992 through 1996 in historic Dry Dock 1 in Boston National Historical Park, which allowed the ship to sail under its own power for the first time in 116 years.