Super-class ferry

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Super class vessel Yakima on approach to Orcas Island
The Yakima arrives at the Orcas Island ferry terminal
Class overview
Builders: National Steel and Shipbuilding Company
Operators: Washington State Ferries
Succeeded by: Jumbo class ferry
Built: 1967-1968
In service: 1967-present
Planned: 4
Completed: 4
Active: 4
General characteristics
Class and type: Super Class auto/passenger ferry
  • 2,704 gross-tonnage
  • 1,214 net-tonnage
Length: 382 ft 2 in (116.5 m)
Beam: 73 ft 2 in (22.3 m)
Draft: 18 ft 6 in (5.6 m)
Decks: 2 auto decks/2 passenger decks
Deck clearance: 14 ft 5 in (4.4 m)
Installed power: Total 8,000 hp from 4 x Diesel-Electric engines
Speed: 17 kn (31 km/h)
  • 2500 passengers
  • 144 vehicles (originally 160; maximum commercial vehicles 30)

The Super-class ferries are 144-car (originally 160) class ferries operated by Washington State Ferries. In addition, they can carry up to 2500 passengers.


The Super class ferry was designed to supplement the Evergreen State Class ferry, as well as to replace the aging Kalakala. The design of the Super Class Ferry was done in Seattle by W.C. Nickum and Sons, a Naval architectural firm, and the Washington State Ferries. Funding for the Super Class ferry design and construction was made available by the United States Housing and Urban Development agency, and state and federal funds. Once the design was complete, a low bid was accepted by National Steel and Shipbuilding company in San Diego, California, which constructed all four vessels over a period of two years.


The design of the Super class was to accommodate the rapidly expanding population growth in Puget Sound, especially the Seattle/Bremerton/Bainbridge Island areas. Each vessel was to be rated at 20 knots top speed, which was relatively unheard of in large ferries at the time. All four vessels in the class feature a split-level passenger deck and a vast sun deck with full access via sheltered outdoor stairwells at both ends of the vessel, indoor staircases via both passenger decks, and elevators which were later added to meet ADA requirements. The first ferry to enter service, in 1967, was the M/V Hyak, which replaced the aging Kalakala on the Bremerton/Seattle run. The new 20-knot speed enabled the 16-mile crossing to be made in 45 minutes, as opposed to an hour and fifteen minutes on the Kalakala which traveled at a maximum of 12 knots. Second to enter service, on the Seattle/Bainbridge Island route was the M/V Kaleetan in 1968. The last two were the Yakima (Bremerton/Seattle) and Elwha (Seattle/Bainbridge), which entered service later that year.


There are four ferries in the Super class. They are:

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