Do you need to buy tickets to the Iron Works tour in advance or can they be purchased when we arrive?
Save your money. The Bath iron Works tour is a rip off. $15 each to watch a video in a small hot room followed by a drive bye of Bath Iron Works. They stop in the parking lot and give you some information.. Then a ride across the bridge so you can see a couple of ships. They don't stop for pictures. You can see the exact same thing when you are driving your car. Save your money.
You can buy them the day you arrive.
You can buy onsite. As noted by others, as of this year the tour no longer takes you onto the property of the Iron Works. You watch a video in a visitor center and then the tour bus drives slowly by the Iron Works buildings so you see the ship (sections) under construction at a distance. The tour then goes through Bath neighborhoods, takes the bridge across the Kennebec River and back, and ends in front of the Maritime Museum.
I'm not exactly sure of any tours inside of BWI. The tour I took was from a boat on the river. We got close but not inside. It is a highly restricted Government contract facility working on "state of the art" designs and electronics, so I doubt much access is available. I noted on their website that there are trolley tours available that probably allow you to see less than that which you can see from the water...but the water view would be my choice! Good luck...have fun!
You can buy tickets when you arrive at the museum.
We were able to purchase tickets for the Iron Works Trolley Tour when we arrived at the museum. We were there on a Monday; maybe the tours sell out on the weekends. NOTE: The trolley tour starts with a video in a small building apart from the Maritime Museum, and then only rides past the Iron Works. Due to security, I don't think any tours are allowed inside. The trolley then continues around town, giving a brief history. The trolley repeated some of the information given on the cruise, but we didn't mind. I felt both were good tours in their own way, so I recommend both. (There are several cruises available; we did the one-hour cruise and saw an eagle and some osprey!)
We were told to purchase tickets or make a reservation in advance. BUT when we got to the Museum we were told we only get to the Iron Works via a cruise on the river. The cruise takes us near the Iron Works, we can see a ship being built, but that is about all. We were told this is a Defense Plant and tours are not allowed. The cruise, to us, was a fascinating perspective. I hope this helps.
The tours sell out, so I would by it on line. It is limited and once a day. You can do it on the web site. The museum ticket lets you into the gourds for two days. We arrived in time for the tour and did the grounds on day 2.
Purchase at the door. Very helpful staff who will explain the options available viz Family, Retired, Services, add-on tour etc. Good parking available at the front. Great memories good exhibition and the tour and pre tour visual quite excellent.
Get quick answers from Maine Maritime Museum staff and past visitors.