Contributed photo/Washington State Department of Transportation

Fifty-year-old ferry retires to become entertainment vessel

  • Mon Feb 6th, 2017 4:50pm
  • News

Submitted by Washington State Department of Transportation

Washington State Ferries announced today the sale of its smallest retired ferry, Hiyu, to Menagerie Inc. The 50-year-old ferry officially changes hands Wednesday, Feb. 8, when it will be towed from the Eagle Harbor maintenance yard. The new owner 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 only 162-feet-long, the Hiyu is considered by many to be the among cutest and most cherished ferries in WSF history. She had a good run from 1967 until 2016, but with only a 34-vehicle capacity, lack of ADA accommodations and high maintenance costs, the Hiyu outlived her usefulness to move people and goods across Puget Sound.

The Hiyu has served several different routes, 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.” The Hiyu’s last sailing was July 23, 2015.

“Baby” Hiyu is scheduled to be towed from WSF’s Eagle Harbor shipyard at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 8. The public can see the ferry 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 state ferries retired and put up for sale in 2016. She sold for $150,000. WSF is in negotiation with parties interested in purchasing the second ferry, Evergreen State, however no firm sale agreements are in place yet.

Washington State Ferries, a division of the Washington State Department of Transportation, is the largest ferry system in the U.S. and safely and efficiently carries 24 million people a year through the most majestic scenery in the world. For breaking news and the latest information follow WSF on Twitter.