Float back in time on M.V. Hyak, State's retro ferry

EAGLE HARBOR, Wash. -- M.V. Hyak, Washington State Ferries' oldest vessel, is marking its 50-year milestone this year.

According to Washington State Ferries, the Hyak sailed into Seattle from a San Diego shipyard in 1967 and has been serving Northwest passengers ever since.

The 382-feet ferry has sailed two major runs: Seattle to Bremerton and Anacortes to the San Juans.

"A 50-year milestone is significant for any vessel," Matt Von Ruden, director of vessel engineering and vessel maintenance, said. "There's a sense of nostalgia in the passenger cabin and as well as below."

The vessel was built in 1966 and looks no different than it did 50 years ago. For example, chairs in the cabin are designed to move so passengers could square dance.

"The fact that this vessel was built in 1966, you can feel that, you can sense the history," said Von Ruden.

Staff Chief Engineer David Knutsen said the Hyak was built to last. It's worked 22 hours each day, nearly every day of the year for half a century.

Just last year, the ferry surpassed enough sailing miles to circle the globe twice.

"It's never missed a trip because of a mechanical issue, and it's made every sailing," Amy Scarton, director of Washington State Ferries says.

In 1986, the Hyak ran aground in Anacortes - damage that cost $250,000 dollars to repair.

The Hyak was soon back in action, though, standing the test of time, and continuing to serve the people of Puget Sound.

Take a ride on the Hyak when it's back in service on the Seattle-to-Bremerton run on May 1.

The vessel is scheduled to be decommissioned in 2018.

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