Business profile : Kerry Kirkpatrick

Posted: Monday, June 16, 2003

Title and company: Owner, Alaska Boat and Kayak

Services: Alaska Boat and Kayak rents kayaks and outboard boats to Juneau residents and visitors between late April and the end of September. It also has a kayak retail store and offers kayaking lessons and guided trips.

This is the first year the company has offered guided trips, Kirkpatrick said.

"It's amazing how many people have asked for it," she said.

The half- and full-day trips leave from Auke Bay, Amalga Harbor or Berners Bay. The trips are limited to six people per trip, and are booked on an "on-demand" basis, Kirkpatrick said.

Kayak rentals include an overview of kayak safety and some lessons in paddling technique.

"We make sure that they're comfortable in the boat and we're comfortable with their basic abilities before we let them go out," Kirkpatrick said.

Kayaking classes in Auke Lake are offered about twice a month.

Biographical information: Kirkpatrick was born in California and lived in Washington state and Petersburg before moving to Juneau nine years ago.

"I kind of worked my way up the coast," she said.

In Washington, Kirkpatrick worked as a landscape architect. She visited Petersburg for a city planning project 24 years ago and decided to move there.

Kirkpatrick kayaked for the first time in the Sea of Cortez in 1984. She "fell in love" with the sport, she said, and grew to love it even more when she moved to Alaska.

"It's such a quiet way to go," she said.

During the 13 years she lived in Petersburg, Kirkpatrick worked as news director for the public radio station there, as a commercial fisherman with her husband, Mike Pilling, and as owner of a landscape design business.

She moved to Juneau when Petersburg "started to feel too small," she said. She commercial fished with her husband here for three years, then bought the Juneau Outdoors Center in Douglas from Maridon Boario.

Three years ago, Kirkpatrick bought Alaska Paddle Sports, which also is in Douglas, and incorporated that business into the Juneau Outdoors Center. In October 2001, she bought Auke Bay Kayak Rentals. After running the Auke Bay and Douglas operations, the company changed its name and moved to Auke Bay this year.

Kirkpatrick runs the business with her husband, who continues to fish commercially. The couple spend two months of the off-season in Mexico, and the other downtime doing maintenance work.

Family: Kirkpatrick lives in Juneau with her husband.

Quotable: "What tends to drive the way I deal with people is making sure that they're going to be safe back there so I don't have to worry about them," Kirkpatrick said. "If they're not feeling safe, they're going to have a lousy time."

Contact information: Alaska Boat and Kayak is in the parking lot of the Auke Bay harbor. The phone number is 789-6886, and its Web site is at

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