Starting to cox

Starting to Cox


From the start of a rowing session until either handing over to another Cox, or the safe mooring or stowage of the boat, the Cox is responsible for the safety and well being of the crew and boat.

General requirements

              1. All coxes should be in good health with adequate vision and hearing. In cases of doubt, medical advice should be obtained.

               2. Coxes shall ensure that every member of the crew of which they have charge is aware of the appropriate safety procedures at all times. (ie man overboard and the  use of the throw bag). These procedures should be practised on a regular basis.

                3. Coxes shall sit on the cox’s seat and only stand if absolutely necessary.

                4. Coxes shall be in charge of the VHF Radio and must be competent to carry out a Mayday/PanPan call and  know general protocol when communicating with another boat.

                 5. Whenever possible Coxswains should have the use of a mobile telephone.

                 6. Coxes must wear lifejackets/buoyancy aids whilst afloat.

                 7. Coxes must be aware of the dangers and symptoms of hypothermia and fatigue.              

                 8. Coxes must familiarise themselves with local hazards e.g. rocks, sandbanks, buoys and wrecks.                

                 9. Coxes need to be aware of safe landing places (where there is access for car /ambulance) along their chosen  route.

Specific duties of a Cox. (Stage 1.)    

     1. Check local weather on the Met office forecast (XC weather  Beaumaris has an hourly guide with wind direction), ensuring that there is a 2 – 3 hour window to coincide with the intended length of row.

     2. Check Beaumaris high and low water times.     

     3. Check tide conditions. (See chart on Tidal System on garage door.)

 Understand the effect of wind against tide.

     4. Weather conditions should be re-assessed on reaching the launch site.

         If in doubt, liaise with more experienced members or cancel the row.    

     5. Understand when to make use of “Little beach” to the West of the Pier as a launch / recovery facility.

Assessment of Stage 1.

              Needs more time.

              Almost there.


Mentor/Coach:                               Date:

Prior to Launching (Stage 2)      

The Cox must satisfy him/herself that:

The boat is seaworthy.( check no damage underneath)    

That all moveable parts are in working order ie. foot straps, gates, sliders,  rudder is complete with pin.

The bung is in place.

First aid kit, throw bag, bucket, bailer, stirrup strap, flag, rudder, oars, are all on board. The cox should also carry a knife ( as approved by the club) and a whistle.

    A functioning fully charged VHF radio must be available.

    Check that all the crew (and you) are wearing lifejackets/buoyancy aids and that they are correctly done up with under straps in place ( lifejackets)

    When lifting the boat, ensure that there are an even number of people on  each side, evenly spaced and that the correct lifting technique is used.    

    That the trolley is placed under the boat correctly. The boat should be well balanced on the trailer.

    The boat is prepared as much as possible before transportation to the waters edge e.g. that oar blades are facing the stern, the rudder is in place and the flag is also in place.

    The cox should be aware of the crews rowing capabilities and that they are currently well and without injury.

  The crew are dressed appropriately for the weather and water conditions and have water on board.

  They have assigned crew members to their rowing positions before transportation begins.

  During the Winter months (October – end of March) the boat should not carry a passenger…. if the cox believes that to do so would be inadvisable due to the conditions. The passenger should wear extra clothing and positions swapped roughly every 15mins.

  Assessment of  Stage 2:

                Needs more time.

                Almost there.



  Mentor/Coach:                           Date:         

Launching. (Stage 3)

Coxes must ensure that:

     All members of the crew understand the correct way to push/pull the boatto ensure efficiency and mitigate the risk of injury.

     They make a risk assessment i.e. Look for signs of a possible RNLI  launch and the need to keep clear of cars and the slipway.

     They command the safe movement of the boat from the storage area to the launch site.

     They have assessed all current and local hazards i.e. RAYC racing, other users on the water, mussel boats and day trip boats.

     They clearly explain their plan for the session.

     In line with club policy that they are wearing lifejackets/buoyancy aids whenever coxing regardless of their swimming ability or the prevailing conditions.

     They make sure that each member of the crew boards one at a time and that they wait until that member is sitting down before allowing the next one to board.

Watch out for incoming swells and washes from passing boats and ships. Ask the crew to push the gunwhale down to help rowers to board and disembark.

Put the oars on the far side of the boat to avoid having to climb over them.

     They are conversant with correct retrieval procedures in the event of a Man Over Board (MOB) incident and practice this on a regular basis.     

    Assessment of Stage 3:

                  Needs more time.

                  Almost there.



Mentor/Coach:                                 Date:                    

Commencing a rowing session. (Stage 4)

The Cox should adhere to the following procedure:    

               When clear of all traffic ensure all crew are prepared and the boat is  ready.               

               Begin with a “quarter stroke, half stroke, three quarter stroke, full”

              Make sure that the nature of the session (Intensity and Duration) is suitable for the crew and the prevailing rowing conditions.

              Communicate the proposed session to the crew.

              Be aware of changing water and weather conditions and be prepared to terminate the session and return safely.

During the row:         

              Be aware of strong winds and strong water flow and swells as these will affect our steering and will be a problem when stationary.          

              Warn the crew of impending hazards so they are prepared for the unexpected. e.g. Motor vessel approaching at speed causing a wash.

              Regularly check if 1.2.3.and 4 are all ok and offer to stop for removal of outer clothing and a drink of water.

Assessment of Stage 4:

              Needs more time.

              Almost there.


Mentor/Coach:                                                Date:

Commands: (Stage 5)

The following commands should be given in a clear voice and all rowers should know what they mean. The Cox must ensure that all rowers respond to their commands, for example, rowers should not stop unless directed by the Cox, neither should they ship oars until told to do so by the Cox. The Cox has sole responsibility for giving commands and may, at times need to ask other members not to interfere.

              Come forward to row.

              Row ( 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 full, when starting                                                 from stationary)

              Back down.        ( practise regularly for                                           racing starts & MOB )


              Brake.                 ( emergency stop –                                           practise regularly)

              Hold water

              Oars in.               ( pulled in as far as                              possible across the gunnels)

              Ease oars.          ( blades flat on the                            surface of the water for stability)

              Ship oars.           (lift out of gate just enough to give clearance and slide forward and back into boat.)                                  

                                          When putting oars on same side.. get the crew to cooperate and help each other with the minimum  height of lift……. just enough to clear heads.

                                          NEVER allow any crew member to lift the oar vertical into the air.

Assessment of Stage 5:

              Needs more time.

              Almost there.


Mentor/Coach.                                                 Date

Landing: (Stage 6)

Manoeuvre the boat safely onto/alongside the slip/beach.

Approach the shore very slowly to assist the bow rower to get out and take hold of the boat. Instruct bow and 2 to stop rowing and just 3 & 4 to row lightly. Ask for one or two more strokes if required.

Order the oars to be stowed on the same side ( off side to shore).

As oars are lifted over heads, get crew to help each other and communicate intentions to prevent injury).

Command the crew to exit the boat one at a time in a safe and orderly manner helping each other.

Remove rudder and put into boat.

Return of the boat to the stowage area:-

      Ensure safe manoeuvring of the boat back to the storage area.   

      Be aware of same risk assessment in stage 3 (i.e.Lifeboat shout)

      Check that the boat is stowed securely, oars are locked/gates closed, covers in place secured and tied down. Close and lock the compound gate and return equipment to the RAYC garage and lock the garage.

Assessment of Stage 6:

             Needs more time.

             Almost there.


Mentor/Coach:                                                   Date: