The USS Yorktown is getting its first coat of fresh paint in nearly two decades.

Patriots Point is repainting the World War II-era aircraft carrier to update its appearance and protect the metal from further deterioration, according to a release.

The paint job, which began two months ago, is expected to take about eight months and 500 gallons of paint.

Painters began with the starboard side of the ship, which will cost Patriots Point Development Authority about $190,000. The first half of the project is entirely funded by gift shop sales, admissions and other visitor-related revenue.

The Development Authority will consider using funds from its operating budget to paint the port side of the ship in its next fiscal year, which begins in July.

The Yorktown’s starboard side hasn’t seen a fresh coat of paint since the mid-90’s, according to the release. But that’s not the only update the aging warship requires.

The ship, which is the main attraction at the seaside tourist spot, is in need of structural repairs that could cost as much as $100 million.

Shaw Environmental Inc., which conducted an environmental assessment of the warship last year, said the ship would need extensive cleaning before repairs could begin, and estimated that the cleanup project would cost about $4.4 million.

Patriots Point aims to raise funds for the repairs by drawing more visitors to the attraction and by bringing in high-profile tenants to its vacant plots on the property, which offer a combined 50 acres.

The paint job is a short-term effort to protect the metal from aging any further.

“We’re doing this job as efficiently as we can,” said Bob Howard, Patriots Point Operations Director. “To clean the ship to bare metal and apply a new coating system would cost well over $3 million. While that’s ideal, funds that large simply aren’t available. We chose an alternative that would help preserve the metal and make the ship look better for a few years while we identify the funding needed for the long-term solution.”

Reach Abigail Darlington at 937-5906 and follow her on Twitter @A_Big_Gail