What's a Keel-Haulers?

Updated 08/07/2018

Keel-Haulers Canoe Club, Inc. is a loose organization of some 300 families from the Northeast Ohio area who share a common interest in the out-doors in general, and boating in particular. All kinds of boating. Whitewater, Sea Kayaking, Canoeing, Rafting, and Racing. Our purpose is simply to provide the framework to enjoy these things together.

What is Keelhauling?

Keelhauling was a form of corporal punishment that was formerly practiced as a punishment in the Dutch and English navies. It was used as a way to punish members of the crew who were guilty of serious breaches of the ship's code of conduct. Keelhauling involved tying the hands of a crewmember to a rope and hauling him under the keel of the ship. If the crewmember lived he was set free. The barnacles did a job on him even if he could hold his breath for a long time. While the practice of keelhauling was formally abolished in 1853, the Keelhauler lives on.

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Why join the Keel-Haulers?

Scheduled trips.

Most Club trips are scheduled in advance and are described in the yearbook each member receives. They are continually updated in the on-line Trip Schedule. All kinds of trips--from easy flatwater to demanding whitewater, one day outings, to two week excursions to Colorado, Southeast USA, Canada or Central America. Each description includes a difficulty rating to help you decide whether you're ready for that particular river. Rate your paddling skill with our Self Rating System. Or for more personal advice, you should call the trip organizer. Read Trip Participant's Responsibilities

Unscheduled trips.

What's this? It poured rain last night and your favorite stream is runnable-but only for the next few hours. Start calling your fellow boaters, they're all listed in the yearbook and Member Directory and before you know it, you'll have a trip set up. Use the Club's Message Board to plan impromptu trips or to announce changes in trip schedule or trip organizer. KHCC now has a private group Facebook Page


We get together occasionly with a business meeting with refreshments and a program. Summer Meetings are held outdoors at various local parks. But most members prefer to just meet at a river or a swimming pool to paddle and have fun.


Maybe you need some advice on how well a particular piece of equipment works in practice or How to get into WW paddling?. Perhaps a detailed MAP would help. Or you're desperate for help on how to prepare for an upcoming trip to the Canadian wilderness. Or, what's the best place for starving grubby paddlers to Eat near your favorite river in West Virginia? Or, what trips close to home are suitable for a family campout with youngsters? To find out, just attend one of the monthly Club meetings and talk to people who have done it. Or check out a book or map from the Club Library. Can't make it to the meeting? Read the Newsletter that you can read each month with info on trips, conservation, equipment for sale, etc. Or do you just want to read about the world of paddling? Checkout all the Paddling Links. Print some Business Cards to hand out to paddlers interested in our club.

Used equipment.

There's always somebody trying to sell his old canoe, tent, paddle, wet suit, or life jacket. Not to worry, it still works. And it's an easy way to save a few bucks. Before long, that "somebody" will be you! Check out the club's Used Equipment web page which also has links to other Used Equipment sources.


Whitewater boating is a technical sport. For your own safety and enjoyment, you'd better know what you're doing. We'll try hard to teach you, in a heated pool during the winter. We run training trips on the rivers when it warms up. See Pool Training

Emphasis on safety.

Don't kid yourself, whitewater boating does have its risks. Not all of them are obvious. With proper equipment, skill and education you can reduce those risks acceptably. Ultimately, safety is each individual's personal responsibility, but we'll make sure you understand what you're in for, and try to help out when the river plays a trick on you. Take time to review the Keel Hauler Safety Code.


Scratch a boater and you find -- a teacher; a truck driver; a engineer; a housewife; a computer programmer; a carpenter; a retiree; a fireman. They're just plain folks, and every one a story teller, bursting with the tales of uncounted trips. We have over 80 club members from 18 states other than Ohio. The main reason is our extensive trip schedule. These are the Club Officers and Chairpersons

We love the outdoors.

One-by-one each of us has discovered the joy of time spent away from civilization's contrivances, in the company of moving water, rugged beauty and new friends. So few people meet the wilderness this way, on its own terms. America seems to prefer driving into it, roaring through it. Yet with only modest effort we enjoy the outdoors actively, on skis in the winter, paddling and bicycling the rest of the year.
Want to join?
Complete the application and return it with your check ($20 if sent September through June; $10 July and August) to John Kobak; 1649 Allen Dr.; Westlake, OH 44145. Or maybe you'd like to sit in on a meeting first - call John Kobak (440) 871-1758 for details.

E-Mail to John for Keelhauler Information  - keelhauler@yahoo.com

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