Founded in 1858, the Schuylkill Navy of Philadelphia is the oldest amateur athletic governing body in the United States. At the first organizational meeting in October, 1858, the following clubs were represented: America, Camilla, Chebucto, Falcon, Independent, Keystone, Neptune, Pennsylvania, and University. Nautilus and Quaker City joined later that month. Half those clubs went out of existence during the Civil War.
Today, the Schuylkill Navy comprises the clubs of Boathouse Row and its newest member, Gillin, the boathouse of St. Joseph's University and St. Joseph's Prep:
By charter, "its object is to secure united action among the several Clubs and to promote amateurism on the Schuylkill River." Each club sends a delegate to the monthly meetings and the clubs elect the officers of the Schuylkill Navy at the January meeting. The present officers are:
The Schuylkill Navy conducts four regattas annually.
The Schuylkill Navy also runs the annual Schuylkill Navy Run (or Turkey Trot) on Thanksgiving Day. The 2013 edition of this 5 and 5/8 mile run will be the 108h annual running. The first race, in 1899, was won by C. T. Barrow of the Pennsylvania Barge Club in a time of 34:10.
In 1938, Louis Heiland, then Secretary of the Schuylkill Navy, published "The Schuylkill Navy of Philadelphia, 1858 - 1937". While the book is out of print today, portions of it have been published here. "The Schuylkill Navy of Philadelphia, 1838 - 1958", by Charles F. Cain, Vice-Commodore, 1955 to 1957, was published in 1960.