The MV Hyak is a Super-class ferry that was operated by Washington State Ferries. Built in 1966 at the National Steel and Shipbuilding Company shipyard in San Diego, the ferry began service on July 20, 1967 and normally ran on the Seattle–Bremerton route or the Anacortes–San Juan Islands run.
Hyak is chinook jargon for “speedy”.
The Hyak was built by the National Steel and Shipbuilding Company of San Diego, California in 1966, at a cost of $6.5 million. It was launched and christened by Nancy Evans, wife of Governor Daniel J. Evans, on December 17, 1966. The vessel traveled north along the Pacific Coast in June 1967, but was delayed by a severe storm near San Francisco, California when it broke a temporary breakwater. She arrived in Seattle on July 4, several days later than scheduled, and was moved to the Todd Shipyards for repairs. The word Hyak is chinook jargon for “speedy”.
The ferry was not able to enter service after arrival because of an ongoing labor dispute with the local chapter of the International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots. The union argued that the wage agreement it signed with Washington State Ferries did not cover new, larger vessels like the Hyak. The dispute reached the King County Superior Court, where a judge signed an injunction ordering the ferry to be manned on its first run on July 19. The Hyak entered service that afternoon, and was assigned to the Seattle–Bremerton route, cutting the crossing time from 65 minutes to 45. The next day, the ferry made its first scheduled run and nearly rammed Pier 52 in Seattle after an engine failure. During the 90’s she was on the Edmonds-Kingston route and she would fill in there and the Seattle-Bainbridge route during the last few years of her service life.
Unlike her sisters, the Hyak did not have her cabin refurbished. In June 2015, the Hyak was replaced by the MV Samish in the third sailing spot in the San Juans. It was moved to the Seattle–Bremerton route for the remainder of its life, but returned to the San Juan route several times to replace vessels undergoing maintenance. The Hyak primarily served as a standby vessel for the rest of the fleet and was considered for experimental conversion to use hybrid diesel-electric generators until the plan was scrapped in 2015. The retirement of the Hyak, originally anticipated for the arrival of MV Samish, was delayed into 2019 after MV Suquamish replaced it as a relief vessel.
The Hyak had a $37 million maintenance backlog that was left unaddressed by the state legislature, which allocated $2 million in supplemental funds to operate the ferry until June 2019. The supplemental funds were not extended in the 2019–21 transportation budget, signaling the vessel’s retirement. On June 30, 2019, the Hyak made her final run on the Seattle–Bremerton route; the vessel’s retirement caused schedule modifications on several routes to accommodate the downsized fleet. The Hyak will be stripped of her usable equipment and prepared for sale as surplus property. The vessel’s horn was donated to Climate Pledge Arena, where it is used by the National Hockey League‘s Seattle Kraken every time they score a goal during home games.