Keelhaul

What does the nautical term “Keelhaul” mean and what is it’s origin?

Dennis, Jeff and Anthony are all dead on–so to speak.

According to the navy, a naval punishment on board ships is said to have originated with the Dutch but adopted by other navies during the 15th and 16th centuries. A rope was rigged from yard arm to yard arm, passing under the bottom of the ship, and the unfortunate delinquent secured to it, sometines with lead or iron weights attached to his legs. He was hoisted up to one yard arm and then dropped suddenly into the sea, hauled underneath the ship, and hoisted up to the opposite yard arm, the punishment being repeated after he had had time to recover his breath. While he was under water, a “great gun” was fired, “which is done as well to astonish him so much the more the thunder of the shot, as to give warning until all others of the fleet to look out and be wary by his harms”. 

 

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