Business Profile

Posted: Tuesday, April 03, 2001

Title and firm: Mike Knightlinger, skipper and owner, Klingers Charters.

Services: "Usually our customers come from cruise ships. We offer two-and-a-half-hour, four-hour and eight-hour trips. I specialize mostly in salmon fishing, although we do halibut trips," Knightlinger said. "But the distance that you have to travel for halibut is too much for most people."

His favorite part of being a charter operator is "watching clients' faces when they see a whale or catch a fish; watching parents come with their kids who have never been on the ocean before."

"Even grownups have a great time," he said. "Sons bring their dads up, and it might be their only trip to Alaska in their lives. The pleasure of watching somebody else enjoying our state is wonderful. I get chills just talking about it."

Craft: Knightlinger operates Trouble Maker, a 30-foot, 1992 Bayliner motor yacht. It is equipped with a flying bridge and a closed-in cabin, and comfortably holds six clients as well the skipper and a deckhand.

Deckhands are usually family members or local residents.

"All are on a random drug-testing program so we are safe for U.S. waters. I think everybody is more safety-oriented these days and wants to know things like that about people they go out with," Knightlinger said.

Education: Knightlinger graduated from Juneau-Douglas High School in 1973. He earned his pilot's license five years ago. Before he took out a charter license, he was a full-time auto technician. To qualify for his pilot's license, he took a course from Sea Marine Training that includes regulations, issues of survival and firefighting. To complete the course, he was required to pass a U.S. Coast Guard exam.

Background: Knightlinger was born in Bend, Ind. He first came to Juneau in 1959 with his parents. "My dad was in the U.S. Coast Guard at that time, and we were transferred back and forth between Virginia and Alaska. I have fished these waters with my dad and in-laws for many years."

Family: Knightlinger has a son, 22, with kids of his own. His step-son sometimes acts as his deckhand.

Contact: Knightlinger can be reached at 790-4867.

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