SS Jeremiah O'Brien Needs Your Help

Riding the ferry into San Francisco, as you look along the waterfront just west of Pier 39, you'll see the SS Jeremiah O'Brien berthed at Pier 45.

Photo by Joel Williams


Published: May, 2017


Riding the ferry into San Francisco, as you look along the waterfront just west of Pier 39, you’ll see the SS Jeremiah O’Brien berthed at Pier 45. This living piece of history is now asking for the help of the maritime community to stay sailing.


More than 70 years ago, the Jeremiah O’Brien was here in San Francisco loading cargo for the far-flung theaters of World War II. The ship eventually became a veteran of D-Day at Normandy and the South Pacific theater. Without her and her sister ships supplying the troops, the story of WWII might have had a very different ending.


Liberty ships like the Jeremiah O’Brien were “built by the mile and cut off by the yard”—meaning that they were built quickly in emergency shipyards by men and women from all walks of life who, while they had no shipbuilding skills, wanted to do what they could in the battle against tyranny. The ship is a living symbol of the remarkable American spirit that helped secure the Allied victory in World War II.


Today the Jeremiah O’Brien is one of two remaining Liberty ships still operating, and she is open for visitors every day. But she is more than just a piece of history, having operated as a nonprofit educational museum since 1979. Public contributions and visitor and cruise revenue have helped restore and keep the ship alive since she left the Mothball Fleet almost 40 years ago.


Now, however, she is in need of your help. U.S. Coast Guard regulations require that the ship be drydocked once every five years to inspect her hull and seaworthiness. This year, 2017, she is due to be drydocked.


Keeping a 74-year-old ship cruising is neither easy nor inexpensive, even with the dedication of her volunteer crew. So the Jeremiah O’Brien is asking the maritime community and lovers of history for help in keeping this unique American treasure alive and sailing. You can really make a difference and become part of the Jeremiah O’Brien’s amazing story with a tax-free donation, which can be made at the website Any amount will help.


If you are interested in finding out how you can cruise or become a member of the O’Brien volunteer crew, please visit