What would you do with an old Washington state ferry?

Oct 8, 2016, 2:10 AM | Updated: 10:20 pm

Washington is unloading two of its ferries from its fleet this month. One ferry for sale is the fleet’s smallest, and the other is the oldest. And for at least $300,000, one of them can be yours. The only question left then is what to do with it.

Ferry for sale

The Evergreen State ferry has been retired and is up for auction for $425,000. (State of Washington)

Washington State Ferries is selling the Hiyu and the Evergreen State. The Hiyu is the fleet’s smallest at 150 feet — it can hold 34 cars. It was built in 1967, and is going for $300,000. The Evergreen State ferry for sale, on the other hand, is 297 feet and was built in 1954. Its drive motors — named “Nadene” — are surplus from a WWII destroyer. Its price tag is currently $450,000.

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So what to do with an old ferry for sale? There are plenty of options. Here are a few from the MyNorthwest staff. Have a better idea? Leave a comment below.

What to do with a ferry for sale?

Nightclub: The MV Skansonia was builtin 1929 and served Puget Sound commuters until 1967. It has been moored in Lake Union since 1971 and currently serves as a venue — there are many weddings there. But it is also rented out for a variety of parties and events.

Home sweet home: Living aboard is not new to Washington waters. But imagine what you can do with a ferry between 150-297 feet! The MV City of Seattle was built in Portland in 1888 and was immediately used as a ferry in Seattle. But newer ferries soon left the City of Seattle in their wake. After helping the WWII war effort, the boat was retired. Today, however, it’s at home in San Francisco. The Hiyu, even the Evergreen State, is more modern than an 1888 model. In fact, you could likely rent out half of the ship to off-set your costs. Talk about high ceilings.

Start your own ferry service: Before Washington state took on the duties of ferrying people around Puget Sound, the area was served by mosquito fleets – privately run ferries that were heavily relied upon for transportation of people and goods. The remnants of the fleets’ docks can still be found on Bainbridge Island and other shores. Foot ferries have been discussed in various Kitsap County communities — some are highly in favor of them, others aren’t.

Negligently let it rot: With a stylish art-deco look, the Kalakala was once the pride of the Washington ferry system. It ended service in the ’60s. After that, it never quite got back up to speed, slowly degrading over time. It was stripped of much of its value over the decades. The owners eventually stopped paying moorage fees, and it was scrapped in 2015.

Change careers: Washington State Ferries had problems selling the MV Rhododendron in 2013. Like the Hiyu, it was smaller — 227 feet. It was originally sold at auction for the same asking price of the Hiyu — $300,000. But the sale fell through and the state had to let it go for the lower price of $275,000. It now assists with oyster farming in Fanny Bay, B.C.

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What would you do with an old Washington state ferry?