Bill Kettner (fireboat)

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San Diego's first fireboat, the Bill Kettner.[1]

The Bill Kettner was San Diego, California's first fireboat.[1][2][3] She was a 59 ft (17.98 m) and staffed by a crew of seven. She was named after William Kettner, who was then San Diego's Congressional Representative.

The San Diego fire department's history asserts that the Bill Kettner was the first gasoline-powered fireboat in the world.[1] Her pumps could project 6000 gallons per minute. She served from 1919 to 1961.

The vessel was wooden-hulled.[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Department History, San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. Retrieved on 2015-06-28. “In 1919, the San Diego Fire Department christened the first gasoline powered fire boat in the world. The boat, the "Bill Kettner" was built from the keel up at the San Diego Fire Department shop, by firefighters.”
  2. Peter Corona (2009). Little Italy: The Way It Was. Trafford Publishing, 107, 202. ISBN 9781426919572. Retrieved on 2018-07-29. 
  3. Michael P. Rich (2014). San Diego Harbor Police. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 9781439648520. Retrieved on 2018-07-29. 
  4. Jack Williams. Robert Ely, 92; 'a fire service guru', San Diego Union Tribune, 2003-11-21. Retrieved on 2018-07-29. “He then redesigned the carburetor and ignition systems of the department's wooden-hulled fire boat, the Bill Kettner.”