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.
She was called the "time capsule boat", her vintage
interior making her somewhat of a floating museum of the
Ever the workhorse, the Hyak, reliable to the last, had 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 the
Hyak wouldn't get the same make over as sisters Yakima
and Kaleetan. Over the next 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 to extend 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
had 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.
With the Suquamish coming online, the Hyak was quickly
(but not quietly) shuttled into retirement, her last service
day coming June 29, 2019 serving her original
communities of Seattle and Bremerton. Fans and long-
time commuters gathered aboard the venerable ferry that
had become a floating museum to take “one last ride.” As
she crossed Puget Sound the for the last time under her
own power, the traditional three prolonged blasts of the
whistle—the Mariner’s Farewell—was offered by each
fleet mate she encountered and returned by the Hyak.
Upon completion of the day’s service the Hyak slipped
quietly out of Bremerton and tied up at the Eagle Harbor
Maintenance Facility, the telegraph being set to “Finished
With Engines” at 12:16 AM on June 30.
The Hyak now sits in Eagle Harbor (2019). She has been
stripped of equipment usable by other vessels in the fleet,
including a spare drive motor for her sisters. She awaits
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.
BUILT: 1967, National Steel & Shipbuilding Company, San Diego, CA
OFFICIAL NUMBER: 508160 CALL SIGN: WX9439
L/B/D: 382 x 73 x 19 GROSS/NET TONS: 2704/1214 PASSENGERS/AUTOS: 2000/144 cars
PROPULSION: Diesel Electric, 8000 HP SPEED: 17 knots
NAME TRANSLATION: Chinook jargon: "fast" or "speedy."
FINAL DISPOSITION: Retired 30 June 2019; stripped for parts at Eagle Harbor
The Hyak making one of her final crossings to Bremerton, 30 June 2019. Photo courtesy of Matt Masuoka.