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 in both literal and symbolic twilight, taken in September of 2016. 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.
Ever the workhorse, the Hyak, despite having a lot of
work done on it in recent years, still suffers from being the
least attractive ferry in the fleet--as least as far as her
interior goes. The last work done on the boat 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. After the car tab tax was eliminated in 1999, the
money to do a true mid-life upgrade on the Hyak
vanished. Over the following years the ferry was
patched up, cleaned and kept in service, with the eye still
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 approval and construction of the
Suquamish it is likely that 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, 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.
Some new tile, some new upholstry, 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.