Retired Ferry Gets a New Lease on Life

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

February 7, 2017

  • Hiyu (Photo: Washington State Department of Transportation)
  • Hiyu (Image: Washington State Ferries)
  • Hiyu (Photo: Washington State Department of Transportation) Hiyu (Photo: Washington State Department of Transportation)
  • Hiyu (Image: Washington State Ferries) Hiyu (Image: Washington State Ferries)

A 50-year-old retired Washington State passenger ferry will get a refit, and with it another life as a floating entertainment space.

Washington State Ferries (WSF) has sold its smallest retired ferry, Hiyu, for $150,000 to Menagerie Inc., who plans to repurpose the vessel as a floating entertainment venue.
“We make every effort to keep our retired ferries operational, instead of being sold for scrap,” said WSF Chief of Staff Elizabeth Kosa. “I’m pleased the Hiyu will continue to serve Washingtonians on the water in her second life as a floating entertainment locale.”
At 162-feet-long, the ferry is considered to be the among "cutest and most cherished" in Washington history, WSF said, but with only a 34-vehicle capacity, lack of ADA accommodations and high maintenance costs, Hiyu outlived her usefulness to move people and goods across the Puget Sound, making her final sailing on July 23, 2015.
The 1967-built Hiyu, which in the Native American language Chinookan means “plenty”, has served several different routes over the course of her 50-year career, most notably the Point Defiance/Tahlequah and San Juan Islands inter-island routes. After being put in storage in the late 1990s for over a decade, the Hiyu reemerged in recent years as a relief vessel and has become known and loved as “baby Hiyu.”
Now the 50-year-old ferry is due to officially change hands Wednesday, February 8, when it will be towed from the Eagle Harbor maintenance yard. Hiyu will travel through the Lake Washington Ship Canal and the Chittenden Locks in Ballard on its way to its new home on Lake Union.
Hiyu is one of two WSF vessels retired and put up for sale in 2016. WSF said it is in negotiation with parties interested in purchasing the second ferry, Evergreen State, however no firm sale agreements are in place yet.
Type: Auto/Passenger Ferry
Length: 162'
Beam: 63' 1"
Draft: 11' 3"
Displacement (weight in long tons): 621
Max Passengers: 199
Max Vehicles: 34
Tall Deck Space: 12
Auto Deck Clearance: 15'
Engines: 2
Horsepower: 860
Propulsion: Diesel
Speed in Knots: 10
City Built: Portland, OR
Year Built: 1967
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