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: 20 Max Passengers: 1782 Max Vehicles: 144 City Built: San Diego Year Built/Re-built: 1967
Name Translation: Chinook jargon: "fast" or "Speedy."
The Hyak sailing in her usual stomping grounds, the San Juan Islands in 2012. Photo courtesy of Brandon Swan
| 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 recent work done on the boat, including getting the refurbished engines from the Jumbo Class and an elevator being installed, have extended the first Super Class ferry's life, which was originally scheduled to be cut short in 2008. After the car tab tax was cut in 1999, the money to do a true mid-life upgrade on the Hyak vanished. Over the next ten years the ferry was patched up, cleaned and kept in service, with still the eye toward retirement.
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 has acted and has 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.
The first of the Super Class will now be the last retired--reversing the order in which they came. As it currently stands, the Elwha, last of the Supers to arrive, will go first, followed by the Kaleetan, Yakima and finally the Hyak--all assuming the state can get new vessels built to replace them.
The Hyak has been homeported in Anacortes and can most frequently be found working either the San Juan Islands, though she still will sit in down at her original route--Seattle-Bremerton. It was there she started back in 1967 when she retired the Kalakala.
When she will get in for her upgrades is not known. The ferry system has absolutely no back up ferries and is likely not to have any for several more years. It is possible that the Hyak won't get in for her full MLU which will drastically shorten her career. The ferry is rapidly approaching the tipping point where it will be cheaper to replace her rather than rebuild her. Given the stability issues the entire class has, her age, and her thirst, it might be in the best interest of the state to consider retiring the Hyak first rather than last.
|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.|
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.