PT Boat Historical Resources

PT-658 is the only restored and fully operational PT boat in the United States.

WoodenBoat magazine No. 251 (July/August 2016) includes an article on PT-658, a 78′ Higgins motor torpedo boat built for the U.S. Navy during World War II. A group of PT Boat veterans banded together to restore her between 1995 and 2005, and the boat is now fully functional and afloat as a museum ship in Portland Oregon. Powered by three working 1,850-hp Packard V-12 gasoline engines, PT-658 is today the only fully operational World War II-era PT Boat.

The following is a list of resources for those who wish to explore PT boats in more depth.


Books and magazine articles

  • At Close Quarters: PT Boats in the United States Navy, by Robert J. Bulkley, Military Bookshop. An extensive history of the craft, crews and operations in World War II.
  • They Were Expendable, by W.L. White, Naval Institute Press. This best-seller about Douglas MacArthur’s escape from the Philippines inspired the John Ford/John Wayne movie.
  • PT–109, by John F. Kennedy, William Morrow. The president at war in the Solomon Islands.
  • “Design and Development of the PTs,” by Jonathan Klopman. WoodenBoat No. 129, March/April 1996.

Other Media

  • McHale’s Navy. The much-loved American sitcom about PT-73 in the South Pacific, starring Ernest Borgnine; it aired 138 half-hour episodes in the 1960s.
  • “PT Boat PT–658 Deck and Interior Walkthrough Sept 2012 ...” This video is the gateway to five videos about the only fully restored and functioning American PT boat.
  • The website is a valuable resource site for models and historians. There are links to detailed plans for both Elco and Higgins boats.
  • Fleet Obsolete; Four PT-boats (the largest collection of survivors) in various stages of disrepair and restoration at Kingston, New York. Some are for sale.
  • Devil Boat: The Saga of PT–658. A DVD by Timeless Media Group.