Commands

Instructions to rowers given by the Cox

When you start rowing you will get used to hearing the cox call out certain commands. This is a glossary to what each command will mean.

FENDERS/ROWLOCKS IN/OUT

When getting a boat ready to go out

  1. Pull the fenders IN so that they don’t drag in the water
  2. Put the rowlocks IN ready for the oars

When mooring a boat

  1. Put the fenders OUT (boat fenders keep the boat from colliding with any potential obstacle)
  2. Take the rowlocks OUT

PORT & STARBOARD

The port and starboard of a boat are equivalent to left and right

  1. Port side is the left side of the boat from the coxes perspective (right from the rowers view)
  2. Starboard side is the right side of the boat from the coxes perspective (left from the rowers view)

In some of our boats the oars are marked with red and green stripes according the the position they should be used. Remember that the Port (as in the drink) is Red so the red oars should go on the port side.

STAND OARS

Hold your oar upright with the blade in the air. This is normally done when the boat is getting ready to leave the mooring.

NUMBER OFF WHEN READY

From the bow (front of the boat) each rower shouts their position number in order starting from port side (right hand side if you are seated for rowing). You should only number off when you are fully ready to row.

COME FORWARD TO ROW

Get into position, lean forward with your oar ready to enter the water.

ROW

Start rowing. Follow the rower in front for timing and speed, length of row

PRESSURE / STROKE RATE

The “gears” on a boat – how much pressure you pull on the oars.

  1. Light pressure is a gentle, relaxed pace
  2. Medium pressure is putting more effort in
  3. Firm pressure is giving it 100% effort

The stroke rate can also vary and is set by the stroke rower or the cox.

EASY OARS - STOP ROWING

Relax, with your oars out of the water.

HOLD WATER

Oars held stationary in the water to slow down the boat. If one half of the crew holds water whilst the other half keeps rowing, the boat will turn towards the side that is holding water.

BACK DOWN

Row your oar backwards (i.e. in the opposite direction to regular strokes, pushing the oar instead of pulling). The boat will go into ‘reverse’.

SHORT OARS

Pull part of the length of your oar in towards the boat and continue rowing. This is usually done when there is an obstacle in the way or the channel is narrow.

SHIP OARS

Stow your oars in the boat, to the side nearest your rowlock with oar blade towards the bow (front of the boat).

coxing

Terminology

Boating language

You’ll soon pick up the language of the river. Here’s a few of the most common words and phrases¬†you’ll hear…

COX

The person who leads, steers and commands the boat. Sits in stern, close to the stroke rower. The cox’s word is final.

THE STROKE

The lead rower who sets the rowing pace and stroke length (how far you lean forward and back). Always seated on port side nearest the stern. All other rowers follow the lead of the stroke.

STROKE RATE

The number of strokes per minute.

STROKE LENGTH

The length of each stroke. Long strokes are more efficient than short ones.

CATCH

The instant the spoon of the blade enters the water.

TIMING

How synchronised each rower is with The Stroke. Ideally every oar blade should enter and leave the water at the same time.

IN TOO DEEP

When the oar is too deep in the water. Ideally only the blade should be in the water, otherwise you lose efficiency and it becomes harder work to row.

GUNWALE (``GUNNEL``)

The upper edge or planking of the side of a boat.

FREE BOARD

The height of the gunwale above the water.

boats