Nostalgic mariners, your dream boat awaits. Buy two if you’ve got the crew.
Washington State Ferries is auctioning off a pair of vessels recently retired from its fleet, the 162-foot MV Hiyu and 310-foot MV Evergreen State. The Hiyu is the state’s smallest ferry and the Evergreen State, which launched in 1954, is its oldest.
Both had storied careers. In recent years, the two boats had been serving as backup vessels when other ferries went out of service.
Bids begin at $300,000 for the Hiyu and $450,000 for the Evergreen State.
In an assessment, both ferries got high marks and were determined to have received above-average care during their time in the state’s hands, though the Hiyu could use a good scrub for barnacles and both vessels are familiar with rust.
If scrapped, the Hiyu could be expected to fetch $167,000 and the Evergreen State $295,000. New vessels would cost tens of millions of dollars to build.
The Hiyu serviced routes from Point Defiance and Vashon Island, a well as serving as a fill-in when other ferries needed emergency repairs.
Buyer beware, however. Old ferries seem to find haunting fates as often as they find caring homes.
Take the beloved art-deco Kalakala, which was auctioned off in 1967 for a little more than $100,000. The boat was used as a crab-processing facility in Alaska until Seattle artist Peter Bevis mounted a campaign to return it to Washington.
But Bevis was not able to raise enough money to restore the craft. It changed hands several times and languished in Tacoma, until it was unceremoniously scrapped.
Other ferries have fared worse.
The Vashon ran aground and sank in 1986. The Klahanie, retired in 1972, ended up rotting in the Duwamish River.
An attempt to convert the wooden ferry Kehloken to a restaurant was thwarted by an arsonist who burned the boat to the waterline on Lake Washington in 1979.
The MV Skagit was sold and relocated to Tanzania. It capsized off that country’s coast in a wreck that killed at least 146 people.
There are several success stories, too. The MV Skansonia calls the north shore of Lake Union home, and is used for weddings and other events.
Others, including the MV Enetai, have migrated south to San Francisco. The Enetai is anchored at Pier 3 and features a ballroom and a full bar.
Certainly, there are worse destinies than hosting parties in San Francisco Bay.