Keeping boaters safe earns two awards

Posted on: November 5, 2015 | Bob Frye | Comments

Blog--Awards--Delesandro 2From left are Fish and Boat Commission president Ed Mascharka, Jim Delesandro, his wife Pat, and commission executive director John Arway.

Two employees of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission were singled out for honors by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators.

The association named Jim Delesandro of Greensburg as its boating educator of the year.

The award was developed in 2011 “to recognize those who excel at engaging students and boaters, raise awareness, and make boating education initiatives relevant, thorough and exciting.”  Delesandro has taught 122 boating education courses, as well as numerous boating and water safety awareness classes.

“Class participants often remark at Jim’s enthusiasm and ability to make an 8-hour classroom course both interesting and engaging,” said Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission executive director John Arway. “The knowledge and stories Jim shares with his students are captivating, yet extremely effective, in relaying crucial information, information that may someday save a life.”

The commission honored Delesandro with an award of its own in honor of his national recognition.

Delesandro retired from GTE as manager of customer service several years ago and now works as a seasonal educator in the commission’s southwest region office. He’s also a past president of Pennsylvania Chapter of the BASS Federation and current president of the Friends of Keystone State Park.

Blog--Awards--Johnson 2From left are Fish and Boat Commission president Ed Mascharka, John Hopkins, an assistant supervisor in the agency’s southwest region office, Mike Johnson, Corey Britcher, director of the commission’s bureau of law enforcement, and John Arway.

The commission also recognized waterways conservation officer Mike Johnson, who works in Allegheny County, for being named the National Association’s 2015 Butch Potts boating officer of the year.

The award “recognizes officers from around the country for their efforts in keeping our waterways and the boaters that use them safe.” Johnson led the southwest region in days spent on the water patrolling for boating under the influence cases, Arway said, and made seven arrests and assisted on two others. He’s also been active in coordinating boating safety classes and worked closely with other agencies to promote safety.

“This relationship has enabled the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission to ensure safe boating on the busy Three Rivers, especially during the many marine events that take place in Pittsburgh annually,” Arway said.

Bob Frye is the editor. Reach him at 412-838-5148 or See other stories, blogs, videos and more at

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