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Keelboat has two distinct meanings related to two different types of boats: one a riverine cargo-capable working boat, and the other a classification for small- to mid-sized recreational sailing yachts.

Historical keel-boats

A Keel boat, Keelboat, or Keel-boat 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, and sometimes canals that were commonly used in America including use in great numbers by settlers making their way west in the century-plus of wide-open western American frontiers. They were also used extensively for transporting cargo to market, and for exploration and trading expeditions, for watercraft transport was the most effective means to move bulk or weight before the advent of the modern post-world war II transportation networks.

Keelboats were similar to riverboats, but like other barges were unpowered and were typically controlled with oars or poles—usually the latter. Keelboats have been used for exploration, such as the Lewis and Clark Expedition, but were primarily used to transport cargo or settlers in the...
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