"They're painted with pine tar," he said. "That helps preserve the wood from the elements and bugs."
The ships are somewhat cramped, and crew members in the 15th century would have been forced to sleep on the deck wherever they found space, Stephen said.
A senior crew member and a pilot would have been lucky to sleep under the roof of the aft castle, a structure at the back of the ship that covers the space where the pilot would steer.
The captain would have been the only one with a room in the bowels of the ship. The captain's quarters would be sparse, and in a ship the size of the Nina, only about 4 feet high, Stephen said.
Modern day crew members have it much easier.
They get to sleep in quarters where the cargo would have been placed in the 15th Century ship.
A tiller, not a wheel, is used to steer the ship, Stephen said. Wheels were not used on ships for about 100 years after the original Nina and Pinta were constructed, he said.
A tiller is a lever that is moved side to side to operate the rudder, which actually steers the ship. It is a little harder to steer a ship in high winds and rough seas with a tiller instead of a wheel, Stephen said.
Although the crew members are not subjected to the same rigors as the original sailors who set out with Columbus, riding on the replicas does have its challenges.
"It gets cold on the ships," Morgan said with a laugh.
The ships will be open for tours from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. starting today. The price is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors 60 and older and $6 for children 5 to 16. Children under 4 will be admitted for free.