Coxing Commands It helps if the Coxswains are consistent with their terminology. The following are what we use, however other clubs may differ slightly. If there are guest rowers it is good to clarify. The command should be clear and loud enough for all the crew to hear and also in time with the rhythm of the catch /finish of the stroke. The skiff is numbered from the bow who is 1, 2, 3 and stroke 4.
Half forward - command to get the rowers ready for rowing by sitting up, pushing's arms out at full stretch, blades above the water.
Are you ready
Row-start to row. On row do two half strokes, one three quarter then into full strokes. Less pressure on boat and oars, and enables rowers (especially novice rowers) to get in time.
Counting helps keep concentration.
Easy oars - stop rowing.
Hold water - rowers put blades in the water to break the boat.
Stroke Turn - stroke side keeps rowing; bow side stops or if commanded bow side places blade in water to help turn the skiff more efficiently.
Bow turn - bow side keeps rowing; stroke side stops or if commanded stroke side places blades in the water to help the boat more turn more efficiently.
Together - both sides join in following a turn.
Stop - emergency stop. All oars in the water safely lean over the oar with the weight of the body and hold them tight.
Back her down - row backwards.
Touch her up - (stroke/bow side) - one side takes small strokes to straighten boat or command either 1,2,3 or four to straighten the boat.
Hard/light - amount of effort in the stroke, not the rating.
Easy on stroke/bow - both sides row, one side eases off slightly.
Hold the water in the oars - encouraging rowers to keep their blades in the water to complete a full stroke and the boat to glide.
Big twenty - keeping the stroke the same length and pulling very hard for 20 strokes.
Safety and alignment of rowers’ bodies. (Move on seat-little finger on end of the oar)
Swing from the hips checking that rowers are reaching forwards and leaning backwards on each stroke.
Push through the legs into the core - Most energy should push through the feet come up through the legs and into the core rather than relying on the strength of the arms.
Elbows into the side ribs - Check rowers are NOT twisting their bodies and rolling one shoulder as this has a serious negative impact on the spine and the glutei.
Eyes in the boat encourages rowers to keep their gaze forwards and not be distracted.
Rowing with eyes closed - encourages rowers to listen to the rhythm of the oars in the water (usually done for 10 to 20 strokes).
At all times be responsible for your crew.
Ask if each rower by number or name is OK.
If on a long row with a novice crew member, take a passenger to enable crew members to rest or swap from stroke to bow side and with the 6th crew member.
Return home if a crew member is not able to row, becomes very fatigued or unable to row.
Stop rowing for hydrating breaks and rest if needed.
Launching and Recovery
Weather conditions, title conditions - is it safe to row? Weather can change quickly; if unsure do not go out to row.
Plan your route. It is better to row against the wind whilst your rowers are fresh and come back with the wind when your rowers may be fatigued.
One person only to take charge and give instructions (coxswains job).
Encourage all rowers to arrive on time and help take responsibility for setting up launching and recovering the boats before and after the row.
Familiarise the parts of the oars to your rowers - Gates, collar, sleeve, blade, so they know what you are instructing them to do.
Be clear with your instructions and remove boat from the trailer slowly ensuring it stays in line both on the launch and recovery.
Rudder to be taken on and off in deeper water to prevent breakage or damage.
Oars placed carefully, in correct gates pointing towards the stern of the boat.
Check crew and coxswain have correct and adequate kit for the row.
Familiarise your crew with coxing commands and how to make an emergency stop.
Ensure all rowers are in the correct seat for a balanced boat. (e.g not two strong rowers together on either bow or stroke side, or two weaker rowers together on one side. Think about weight distribution within the crew.)
One person to hold the skiff before launching whilst rowers adjust their footrests. (Encourage rowers to remember which notch their footrest is usually in.) Ensure rowers know if they're rowing bow or stroke side and which seat, they are in e.g. 1, 2, 3 or 4. If changing positions while on the water, oars can be held flat on the water to stabilise the skiff. If you have not got anyone to catch the boat when you arrive back to shore, ensure either your bow or passenger is able or willing to jump out of the boat safely and catch the boat to prevent it grounding and being damaged. Bring the boat in very slowly when landing, usually shipping bow and number 2 oars while three and four rows very gently under coxswain’s instructions. Gauge the wind direction and where you want to land. Tilt the boat down to one side to enable crew to get in and out safely.
Load and unload crew methodically one at a time. Rowers who have less flexibility can sit with their bottoms on the seat and swing legs over the side of the bar boat rather than trying to step out or in one leg at a time.
Following the row, ensure all gates are screwed shut after removal of the oars and that the bungs are removed.
Boats and oars need to be washed down after each use. If in doubt about anything ask for advice before going out in the boats, please.
Helpful Tips Estuary mouth (Colour Patch end) going upstream. Red on stroke (left/port)- (red markers indicate rocks or sand). Green on bow (right/starboard) Keep to the right in the channel. Pass port to port with other boats. For more information of navigation makers, click here.
DO NOT get boat broadside to wind or waves. Make a wide berth around buoys. Have fun, keep focused and stay safe.
I knot = 1.852km/hour - roughly 1 knots equals 2 km/hour 18 knots - white caps on the waves. Man Overboard (MOB) Drill
First to spot MOB to call “Man Overboard
Throw out a rope or flotation device if available
Cox to control boat and give recovery instructions
Cox to bring boat alongside man overboard preferably so MOB is down wind of the boat
Observe state of MOB for consciousness and breathing
One of crew may need to enter water to support and provide first aid for MOB
Rowers 2 & 3 to ship oars and clear space between their thwarts
Rowers 1 & 4 (Stroke & Bow) to be ready to row on command from cox
2 & 3 to sit straddle on their thwarts facing bowside (least obstructions)
Man overboard (MOB) to float on back or be placed on back if unconscious
2 & 3 may the lean on the bowside of boat to lower the gunwhale near to water level to minimise the lift height
MOB legs to be lifted over gunwhale to level of their butt by 2 & 3
2 & 3 to grasp MOB by arms preferably under armpit and then gently haul MOB onboard
Check condition of MOB and respond accordingly
Coxing Assessment Please click here to view coxing assessment information in the member access area.
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