Hyak ferry celebrates 50 years

Mar 20, 2017
Courtesy of: Washington State Ferries The Hyak ferry, built 50 years ago, briefly served the Edmonds-Kingston route.

In a year that the first Boeing 737 took its maiden flight, the ferry Hyak also took its maiden voyage to its home in the Puget Sound. Now, Washington State Ferries has painted a gold stripe on the stack of the Hyak to officially mark the vessel’s 50 years in service.

Throughout its 50 years, the Hyak has sailed on almost every WSF route, primarily serving Seattle/Bremerton.

According to WSF spokesman Ian Sterling, the Hyak served the Edmonds-Kingston route for a brief time in the 1970s.

The Hyak, built in 1967 in San Diego, is the first of the Super class ferries to reach this milestone. The Hyak’s sister ships, Kaleetan and Yakima, will receive their gold stripes later this year, and the Elwha will receive its stripe in 2018.

Construction on the Hyak began in 1966 at the National Steel and Shipbuilding Company shipyard in San Diego. Upon the Hyak’s completion in 1967, it sailed up the coast to its new home in Seattle.

In a memorable photo of this journey, the Hyak is seen passing under the Golden Gate Bridge to San Francisco Bay, taking refuge from a coastal storm.

The Hyak entered service on the Seattle/Bremerton route in July 1967. Its name, Hyak, is tribal Chinook jargon meaning, “fast or speedy.”

“The Hyak has capably served the people of Washington for the past 50 years,” said Matt Von Ruden, director of Vessel Preservation and Maintenance. “This is thanks to the tremendous efforts of the men and women who have operated and maintained the vessel over the years. It stands out as one of our most reliable ferries.”



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