Official Number: 508160 Call Sign: WX9439 Length: 382' 2" Beam: 73' 2" Draft: 18' 6'' Auto Deck Clearance: 16' Horsepower: 8,000 Speed in Knots: 17
Max Passengers: 2000 Max Vehicles: 144 City Built: San Diego Year Built/Re-built: 1967
Name Translation: Chinook jargon: "fast" or "speedy."
The Hyak sporting her gold stripes for fifty years of service. Photo courtesy of Brandon Swan.
Here's an interesting picture of when the Hyak ran around in
Anacortes on April 14th, 1986. All 250 people on board were
safely evacuated. The Coast Guard determined that a
navigational error caused the accident. About $200,000.00
damage was done to the ferry.
These days, she's called the "time capsule boat", her
vintage interior making her somewhat of a floating
museum of the late 1960's.
Ever the workhorse, the Hyak, reliable to the last, has the
distinction of becoming an inadvertent curiosity due to
lack of funds in the late 1990's resulting in her not getting
a mid-life refurbishment. The gutting of WSF's budget in
the wake of car tab tax elimination in 1999 meant they
Hyak wouldn't get the same make over as sisters Yakima
and Kaleetan. Over the decade and a half, the ferry was
patched up, cleaned and kept in service, with the eye still
toward retirement. The last major work done on the ferry
included getting the refurbished engines from the Jumbo
Class and an elevator installed extended the first Super
Class ferry's life, which was originally scheduled to be cut
short in 2008.
Several things happened in the fleet, including the
sudden withdrawal of the Steel Electrics in 2007. Plans to
retire the Hyak quietly vanished.
Realizing that the Hyak could be fully refurbished for an
additional twenty years of service, the legislature
budgeted in $20 million to finish the work on the ferry that
has been coming in fits and starts over the
years--including a much needed interior updating. Bit by
bit, the money vanished, as did the idea of a custom
hybridization of her propulsion system.
The Hyak is now past tipping point where, in the long
run, it will be cheaper to replace her rather than rebuild
her. With the Suquamish coming online, the Hyak or
one of the other Super Class ferries is going to be put
into "relief" status and not see steady work. Given the
precarious state of the drive motors of the entire class,
and the continuing issues with deteriorating steel, this is
probably the best thing that can be done to extend the life
of at least three of the Supers--though at this point it is
any one's guess as to which of the four will be sidelined
first. Ironically, the Hyak, being the least-altered for the
four, seems to perform the steadiest.
The Hyak had been homeported in Anacortes, but as of
the summer of 2015 she was displaced by the brand
new Samish. She has more or less taken up residence
where she began her life back in 1967, on the
Seattle-Bremerton route, where she retired the Kalakala.
It just might be the route she is working on when the
mighty Hyak is retired herself--and possibly as early as
Some new tile, some new upholstery, but all in the original color scheme. The Hyak
looks almost the same today as she did in 1967. One notable change--the lighting.
The old "egg crate" style fixtures were all replaced, as they rattled horribly. Photo
courtesy of Matt Masuoka.