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Wheelhouse of famed boat lives on in Tiburon backyard

Updated: Apr 9, 2021

Paul Kaplan and his wife, Chris, are seen with their grandchildren Will (left) and Charlie in front of the original USS Suisun wheelhouse, which sits in the Kaplans’ backyard. (Elliot Karlan / For The Ark)

In January, the USS Suisun sank to the bottom of Richardson Bay during a violent storm. The 107-year-old wooden motor launch, once considered the height of nautical technology and luxury, was hauled off and crushed at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dock in Sausalito, a sad end for a maritime celebrity that once ferried VIPs around San Francisco Bay. However, a small piece of the Suisun survives, thanks in part to the efforts of one local resident. Thirteen years ago, boatyard owner and sailor Paul Kaplan bought the vessel’s original elegant hand-crafted wheelhouse, which had been salvaged after a 1985 fire decimated the boat, and had it lovingly restored and installed in the backyard of his Tiburon home.

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