What Is The Keel Of A Boat?

What Is The Keel Of A Boat?

The keel is the backbone of a boat. It’s important for two reasons – it provides structural support and stability, and it also helps to stabilize the boat so that you can steer more easily.

What is the keel of a boat?

Keel is a longitudinal structural member of a ship or boat, running lengthwise along the center of the hull on which it is mounted and to which support structures are attached.

Freeboard draft keel of a boat
Freeboard, draft and keel of a boat/ Image: Boat Ed

Why is it called keel?

If you’re curious about the name of this part of the ship, it’s called keel because that is where a boat or ship gets its stability and shape. The word “keel” comes from Old English cēol, Old Norse kjóll = “ship” or “keel.”

Why is it important?

There are many types of boats with multiple different types of keels, but all serve roughly the same purpose – to provide stability and support for the boat. For that reason, it’s important to choose a good-quality keel when you’re building your boat or ship.

What type of boat keels are there?

There are many different types of keel, for different types of boats. The main three types are:

  • Flat keel
  • Bar keel
  • Duct keel

The most common type of keel is the flat plate keel, which you’ll find on almost all ocean-going vessels.

A smaller version called a “bar keel” is fitted in trawlers, tugs, and smaller ferries.

A duct keel is a clever way to provide additional buoyancy for your vessel, as well as an excellent passageway for cables and pipelines running fore-aft.

You’ll also find twin keels fitted to larger modern ships, especially cruise liners, battleships, and aircraft carriers.

How do you know if your keel needs fixing

Don’t let your boat keel get damaged. When the keel starts to wear out, it can cause a number of problems – including increased fuel consumption and more vibration when you’re traveling at speed. That’s why we recommend you take care of your boat by getting this problem fixed as soon as possible.

You can’t be too careful with your boat. The keel is the most important part of a boat, and it needs to be in good shape for safety reasons. While keel bolts can last for decades, they do eventually need to be replaced.

The galvanized steel in the bolt will start to rust after 15 years of service and corrode completely within 25-30 years, so it’s important to check them every five years for corrosion or wear.

Keel repair is a common solution for many types of problems. Whether your keel needs to be repaired from corrosion, grounding, or an old-fashioned lead casting problem that has been going on for years, you can count on Shipkeel’s team of professionals to do the job right and get you back in the water as soon as possible.

The future of the keel in modern ships 

Technology is taking over boat building, and it’s no different when it comes to keels. Dual keel technology is now being used on cruise ships – this allows for plenty of room in the hull so that more passengers can fit into larger, more luxurious cabins.

The benefit of this type of keel design is that it can make the boat more stable in rough seas.

Do all boats have a keel?

The simple answer is yes. Every ship or boat that is built to travel on the water needs a keel – it’s one of its vital parts. Every vessel requires a stem, sternpost, and keel.

What’s the difference between hull and keel?

Hull is used to referring to the whole structural element of the watercraft. The hull is made up of several components which include decks, framing, bottom plating, etc. Keel is a longitudinal structural member of a ship or boat, on which the boat is built, on which the weight is supported.

Boat terminology
Boat terminology/ source: pages.nxtbook.com


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