Owners of iconic Mission Bay boat face sudden eviction

Posted at 10:46 AM, Apr 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-02 13:53:37-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The owners of a historic riverboat say they have nowhere to go after they were suddenly given a 30-day eviction notice from the Driscoll Mission Bay Marina.

Dozens of supporters lined the docks on Easter morning waving hand-made posters that read “Save Margaritaville!”

John and Lola Murphy have owned the 1967 riverboat Margaritaville since 2012, but it has been a Mission Bay icon for much longer.

The antique has been docked at the exact same spot for 30 years.

“It means everything to us,” John Murphy said.

The retired Coast Guardsman has always lived near the water. For he and his wife, the Margaritaville is their beloved second home.

Inside is a kitchen and bedroom on the bottom floor, and a recreation room on the top floor.

The retirees always invite their friends and family, host ukulele jam sessions, and even held their wedding ceremony on the boat.

“I came in on a paddleboat. Lola came in on a speedboat,” John said, remembering the details of their 2012 wedding.

But a week ago, the Murphys received a surprising letter from the Marina owners. It was an eviction notice, demanding they leave by April 24, 2018.

Their heart sank.

“I feel like we have a gun to our head because we have three weeks left and we’re out of options,“ Lola Murphy said.

Since then, the couple has called more than a dozen marinas for a possible relocation.

But with no slip availability for a boat their size, they are stuck.

“Short of swallowing it, what do you do with a boat?” Lola asked. “And it would be a crying shame to destroy the boat.”

The Murphys said they are confused and devastated. They always pay their $750 slip fee on time, they never cause a nuisance and they have kept their boat in great condition.

The couple have no idea why they are being evicted.

They told 10News they are just a happy senior couple who want to spend their retirement on their favorite boat.

“Want more money for the slip, we’ll pay more money,” Lola said in desperation. “Want us to do something to the boat, we’ll do it. Just tell us what it is, we’ll do it.“

If the Murphys do not move their boat by April 28, 2018, they will fined more than $7,000 a month for a trespassing transient fee.

10News reached out to marina owner Jack Driscoll to ask exactly why the Murphys and the Margaritaville were being evicted.

He did not get back to 10News.