Historical North American keel-boats. A Keep boat, Keelboat, or Keel-boat is a type of usually long, narrow cigar-shaped riverboat, or unsheltered water barge which is sometimes also called a poleboat —that is built about a slight keel and is designed as a boat built for the navigation of rivers, shallow lakes,...
On boats and ships, the keel is either of two parts: a structural element that sometimes resembles a fin and protrudes below a boat along the central line, or a hydrodynamic element. These parts overlap.
Brackenridge's Journal of a Voyage up the Missouri River in 1811. At the mouth of the Kaw we shipped on steamboat to St. Louis. The keel-boats were made in St. Louis. They were rib-made boats, shaped like the hull of a steamboat and decked over. They were about 8 or 10 feet across the deck and 5 or 6 feet below deck.
Mike Fink Keel Boats. The original boats were the actual boats used in the filming of the Davy Crockett programs, quickly converted to have seats and two windows on each side. These boats were replaced by higher-capacity boats with three windows on each side.
THE IMPORTANCE OF KEEL. The keel is often a structural beam that runs in the middle of the boat from bow to stern. The purpose of the keel is to help give the boat greater stability and control while moving forward. Without the keel, a boat might slip or skim on the water which is often common in vessels with an entirely flat bottom.