Duck boat

Cook Street

While Newfoundland and Labrador has quite the history of boat building and design, there’s perhaps not a boat around quite like this one. Shawn Pumphrey owns a duck boat. Rather, it’s a fishing boat. That looks like a duck. (Take a stroll down Cook St. one afternoon and it’s hard to miss its big red grin.)

Pumphrey purchased the converted cabin cruiser from a family in Holyrood about 3 years ago. He estimates that its design is from the 1960s or 1970s, and was a small fishing vessel for many years before he acquired it. Not a sailor himself, the boat is actually a prop for a television pilot he is self-producing. “It’s a sitcom on the Newfoundland revolution and its place in Canada,” he says, “but presented in a hilarious fashion.”

He’s even converted his greenhouse out back as a set location—the headquarters of the ‘Newfoundland Independent Revolution Party’. “The ripple of revolution through happy-go-lucky Newfoundlanders!” Pumphrey exclaims.

The show will be a fictional account of post-confederation times, reflecting daily life while highlighting topics like our natural resources and local cottage industries. Parts of the pilot have already been filmed, with other location shoots happening this summer.

Pumphrey is currently fixing up the inside cabin of the duck boat so he can go out to film and fish. He is still learning about bodywork, engine repair, and nautical safety, and hopes the duck boat can be in the water later this summer.

His kids—Olivia and Luke—helped him paint the big happy face on the boat sometime last year. It had the “spirit of a duck trapped in fibreglass,” claims Pumphrey. They are hoping to add a tail soon—perhaps that of a mermaid. “I never gave it a thought that it was anything peculiar,” he says of the giant friendly-looking boat moored in his driveway, “but it does get a lot of looks!”

(If you’d like to contact Shawn about helping with the show, email

—Erin McKee
Suggestion for a nook?


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