What Is The Ship Keel?

In today’s post about “what is a ship keel”, we are going to talk about the important aspect of naval architecture and ship design, namely the ship’s keel.

Hull Crosssection

Hull Crosssection

The structural ship keel is the beam around which the hull of the ship is built. The keel is the beam that runs from the bow of the ship to the stern of the ship. You can see the beam when you board a ship. You can only see a part of the beam as most of it will be underwater.

This makes it one of the most important parts of a ship. It can also be called as the spine of the ship. Like a man’s backbone it supports the whole structure of the ship. It is the first part of the ship’s hull. The day it is placed in the ship it is supposed to be a big day for the ship construction team.

This day is a significant step in the ship building process. Even today the ship builders celebrate this day. You can imagine the ship like a human body. The ship keel is the backbone and the ribs come out of it to make the structure of the ship.

You must have often heard the phrase to lay the keel. This means to start a new venture. The most common method of placing the keel is called the flat plate keel. This is the keel that you will find in big ocean vessels. Small vessels or boats mostly use bar keel. The flat plate keel supports ships that are closed. For an open boat the bar keel is required and used. Duct keel is also used in some ships.

These run from the forward engine room to the collision bulkhead. It is also used in double bottom piping. When the ship enters rough waters due to continuous hammering by the waves the ship’s keel may break. This is when they say that the back of the ship was broken. If this does happen the whole ship may fall apart. It is as good as rebuilding the whole ship again.

This means that the ship is now on its way to the junkyard. It is the keel of the ship that takes the maximum pressure in times of bad weather. The ship is inspected to assess the damage that was done to the ship keel. The insurance company has to pay a huge claim in case the ship keel is damaged.

Non sailing keels are keels that help the ship to move forward. Sailboat keels are used to generate a lift to counteract the force of the wind. The concept of ship keel has been there since the first ship was constructed. The ship keel has evolved as the ship building process has evolved over the years. As it is an integral part of the ship.

Construction of the ship keel is not easy. It requires specialized skills and expertise to build a ship keel. Today the ships are huge and are very complex. This is exactly why there are many types of ship keels that are used as per the ship. We have tried to cover a few varieties of ship keel in this article. There are many more that we could not cover.

We expect that in the future we will get to see even better ship keels. A lot of attention is paid to build the ship keel. This is the most vital part of the ship. Any damage to the ship keel can bring down the whole ship.

We hope that you now have a good idea of what is ship keel. Next time you happen to see a ship I am sure you will instantly understand what the keel of the ship is.

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