Ketterer Elected President of Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission

HARRISBURG, Pa. – As the newly-elected President of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Steven Ketterer brings a lifetime of boating and water safety experience to the board of commissioners. He intends to use this personal experience to highlight the Commission’s core messages about boating safety education, the importance of wearing life jackets and the dangers of boating under the influence.

“I grew up boating on the Susquehanna River and still dock a boat there,” said Ketterer, a Harrisburg native who also serves as the chief of Harrisburg River Rescue. “I enjoy being on the water, but I want to be safe and want my friends and family to be safe when they’re with me. That’s why I regularly participate in boating safety exercises and wear a life jacket whenever I am underway.”

Ketterer was elected to the one-year term at the Commission’s quarterly business meeting on July 17 in Harrisburg. Commissioner G. Warren Elliott, a resident of Chambersburg, Franklin County, was elected vice-president. An avid outdoorsman, Elliott joined the board in July 2009.

As part of the Harrisburg River Rescue team, Ketterer has witnessed firsthand the terrible consequences when boaters don’t follow safe boating practices and end up in an accident.

“In many ways, boats can be more dangerous to drive than cars because boats don’t have brakes,” he said. “And when accidents happen, it’s made worse because people end up in the water. I have seen people die because they were thrown in the water and weren’t wearing a life jacket. And I have seen the effects of boating under the influence, which is a crime and is the same as driving under the influence.”

Ketterer encourages all boaters to regularly review the Commission’s boating handbook before each boating season. The handbook is available online at: New boaters are reminded that boating safety education certificates are required to operate a personal watercraft. They are also required for anyone born on or after January 1, 1982, to operate boats powered by motors greater than 25 horsepower.

In his new role, President Ketterer also will continue to advance the agency’s request to the Department of Environmental Protection to list the Susquehanna River as a high priority impaired water. Adding the river would trigger a timeline under federal Environmental Protection Agency regulations for state regulators to develop a comprehensive plan to clean up the river.

Ketterer was appointed as a boating-at-large Commissioner on April 24, 2007. He is retired from the City of Harrisburg and is the owner of Ketterer’s Rescue Products. He has been an active member of Harrisburg River Rescue since 1972, and has been chief since 1986.

He has been instrumental in the development of a number of water rescue and emergency management programs, including; the Emergency Medical System for the Pennsylvania State Capitol Complex; the Commission’s Water Rescue Programs; river rescue organizations in three municipalities within the State of New Jersey; and the Pennsylvania Water Rescue Accreditation Program.

Commissioner Ketterer is a member of the Keystone Aquatic Club; Pennsylvania Boating Association, Inc.; and the Pennsylvania Water Rescue Instructors Association (board member). He was a member of the Commission’s Boating Advisory Board from 1997-2007.

He has been the recipient of a number of awards, including; the Commission’s Water Rescue Instructor of the Year Award in 1985 and 1986; National Water Safety Conference Appreciation Award in 1989; Pennsylvania House of Representatives Citation of Accommodation for Community Service in 1978; Pennsylvania State Police Heroism Award (for rescuing a person from his car which was submerged in a frozen river); Governor of Pennsylvania Award (for heroism during the flood of January 1996); and the Mayor’s (Harrisburg) Award for Valor for 2007 (for rescuing a man from the frozen Susquehanna River).

Commissioner Ketterer is a life-long resident of the City of Harrisburg, a graduate of Bishop McDevitt High School, and father of one son, Bradley.

For more information about current Commissioners, visit the PFBC web site at and select “Commissioners.”