The floating Dupree family
It’s amazing how thirsty these plants get,” said Eric Dupree, a maritime attorney, as he watered the dozen planters around the top deck of his
two-story, 54-foot houseboat. The boat
is tucked into a double-wide slip in a
cozy bay just off San Diego’s busy ship
channel, and Dupree’s garden deck has
privacy but enjoys 360-degree views.
To starboard and astern are downtown’s glassy skyscrapers and gray U.S.
Navy ships rounding Coronado Island.
To port, over the barbecue, are a few
marinas and the business end of Driscoll’s
Boatyard. Forward of the upper lounge,
the posh homes of Point Loma rise like
a Mediterranean village in the distance.
The houseboat was built in 1972 with
two huge fiberglass pontoons. A single
Detroit 871 provides power. Dupree said
the previous owner added a third pontoon
to increase floor space. Dupree moved
a circular stairway out to a new porch
addition, which doubles as a dinghy dock.
Louis goes aground
There are some people in this world who tell a great story. Comedian Louis“C.K.”Székely is known for his self-effacing
humor and hilarious stories pulled from
his life. A few years back, he ran soft
aground while taking his two young
daughters cruising for the first time
on his new 34-foot Meridian sedan
on New York City’s Harlem River. He
shared the tale with fellow comedian
Jerry Seinfeld during an interview on
This remodel provided the main saloon
with unobstructed views forward through
the massive windows. The galley, head,
and three staterooms are also downstairs,
making for a total of about 2,900 square
feet of living space! Dupree bought the
boat in 2006, and he and his two children,
Erin and Brett, have lived aboard most of
the last two years. His law office is just
across the bridge in Coronado.
“I really love living aboard,” said Erin.
“I tried living in a regular house for a
while, but I couldn’t sleep as well.”
Brett, who’s still in high school, says he
barely remembers a time when they didn’t
live on the boat. Besides maintaining his
36-foot Navy landing craft, he loves to
row his narrow dory around San Diego
Jerry’s online show, “Comedians In
Cars Getting Coffee.”
“It was low tide. I didn’t read the
chart correctly. I’m in mud,” Louis
remembers, still mortified. “There’s a
park 30 feet away, people barbecuing.
There’s a park ranger and he yells, ‘It’s
low tide. You’re stuck ’til, like, midnight!’”
Louis is left to deal with two crying, cold,
hungry kids. “We
can’t run the genera-
tor so we can’t cook
the macaroni and
cheese.” The quick-
sand-like mud now
surrounds his new
boat. People ashore
him. They begin
local angler casts a
fishing line from a
police boat to Louis,
who attaches a line.
They haul it back
to the police boat,
Bay. “That’s Brett’s
date boat,” says
Eric, noting the tiny
But no boat is all play, and when they
first owned the houseboat, the whole
family helped weld big towing chainplates to the hull so they could tow it
80 miles to Terminal Island, near Long
Beach, for a major refit. Six years later,
both kids helped tow their unique home
for 36 hours back to San Diego. At one
point, Erin, who was sleeping in her
stateroom on the houseboat, was hailed
on the VHF and asked to please come
help steer. She recalls hopping in the
dinghy off the stern and zooming up to
join the towing boat, which had slowed
to about 1 knot.
“Erin is the best helmsman because
she never gets seasick!” says her dad,
beaming. — PAT RAINS
and Louis hauls back
a sack containing …
food for dinner! This
keeps his scared kids
happy while they wait
… and wait … for the
tide to turn. Next, a
local liveaboard dives
in, swims over, then
crawls across the
muck to Louis’ boat.
Muddy from head to
toe, he teaches Louis how to get the boat
out using the bow thrusters. They wiggle
loose, then hightail it to deeper water.
The next day, the local newspaper runs a
photo of Louis on his stuck boat along
with some mocking description.
Throughout the drama, all Louis is
freaked about are his little girls, how
he traumatized them, and how they
now hate the boat he loves. “I say to
my oldest, ‘We have to come out on the
boat again soon, so you can have a good
experience.’ And she says, ‘We just had
a good experience.’ She was happy!”
— RICH ARMSTRONG
Want a good
out the video
of Louis telling this story.
for the link.
Comedian Louis C.K.
is like every boater
when it comes to
mud and tides.
Eric and his kids,
Erin and Brett, live
aboard their 54-foot