Honoring Capt. Mike Keating

Mike Keating
Captain Mike Keating
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On July 3, 2024 the sportfishing community…and the world…lost a good man.

I was just as shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of Mike Keating as anyone. But this man will always hold a place in my personal history.

My first meeting

I first met Mike (and his boss Joe Dunn) at the end of March 1985 at a boatyard in San Pedro.  I was 17, about to graduate from high school, and looking to step up in the sportfishing world before beginning college in the fall.

Mike Keating
Captain Mike Keating in the late 1980s

Joe had hired Mike to help convert a dive charter boat to a luxury long range sportfisher and then run most of the scheduled trips.  In addition to his extensive on-the-water resume, Mike had previous experience in refrigeration systems, so he was up to the task.

SOA Brochure
SOA Brochure

The beginning of a lasting legacy

The Spirit of Adventure began operations with passengers in June and my first trip on the boat was a 4-day trip that departed June 30, 1985. 

We returned to the dock on July 4th with 245 albacore and I found a new “home” in San Diego.  More importantly, I found a mentor, teacher, boss, and role model in Mike Keating. 

I was fortunate enough to have worked a total of 3 summer seasons for Mike on the Spirit:  1985, 1987 & 1990.  To say I learned a lot during that time is an understatement.

SOA 1985
Chris (right) on SOA, 1985
Chris (Left) on SOA, 1987

Mike’s passion for being on the water began at an early age.  He worked on 1/2 day boats out of Mission Bay in high school.  That passion never seemed to fade with time.

His love of the sea and respect for the ocean and its resources were only topped by his work ethic and similar expectations of his crew.  Bottom of the ninth, 11th hour, the very end of the trip, Mike never gave up until we were back at the dock.

Mike Keating
Captain Mike Keating at work

I wish I’d had the opportunity to work the extended natural history/whale watching trips down the Baja coast.  While trolling the offshore grounds he’d often exclaim “Baird’s beaked whale!” or “that’s a Minkie whale!” 

Yes, he seemed equally enthused by the wildlife and time on the water as the catching of fish. 

Mike was well respected by the San Diego fleet, those who worked under his guidance, and anyone who fished with him over 5 the decades he ran boats. 

Fair seas and rest in peace Mike Keating…

Spirit of Adventure

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