Nova Scotia's heritage minister says the Bluenose II will undergo sea trials within the next month to ensure the famed schooner is seaworthy after an extensive, multimillion-dollar restoration.

Tony Ince said the tests will determine when the iconic vessel, which is based in Lunenburg, will be ready for public tours.

The Bluenose was expected to undergo sea trials and begin hosting public sailings this past summer, but work has continued on the wooden vessel.

Ince says dock trials, which began earlier this fall, have been completed and were successful.

The minister said the project remains within its budget of about $16 million, but he isn't ruling out additional labour costs depending on the results of the sea trials.

"Now there may be some additional costs in terms of labour but I can't really speak to those until after the sea trials have been conducted," he said. 

The restoration project has been ongoing for more than three years and is being carried out by the Lunenburg Shipyard Alliance.

The Bluenose II, launched in 1963, is a replica of the original Bluenose, a Grand Banks fishing schooner that won worldwide acclaim for its graceful lines and speed.

With files from CBC News