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Coxing Competencies

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This page attempts to summarise the basic competencies that you, as a cox, should be able to demonstrate, as you progress from a complete novice cox to one who wishes to be upgraded to experienced (X) status. The competencies below try to be as prescriptive as possible, but no amount of reading is a valid substitute for getting out there and learning by being in a boat.

This document is currently in its first draft - anyone who feels that this misses out a salient skill is encouraged to email and help make this resource better.

The material below is split up in to six areas; each area is divided into two sub-sections - "Minimum standards" and "Going beyond". It is expected that a cox that has just been promoted to X status is fully able to demonstrate all "Minimum standard" competencies, and is aiming at fulfilling a few of the "Going beyond" competencies. Accompanying each section is a "more information" spoiler box, which aims to expand on a point if required, in order that the main list is kept as concise as possible. Any point that leads on to the spoiler box is appended with a bracketed number

 1. Boat transportation

Minimum standards

  • Fully and independently command a boat off its rack, and on to the pontoon; and vice versa
  • Ensure that a crew can swiftly and safely get in the boat
  • Show awareness of other crews who may also wish to use the pontoon by "walking" the boat up/downstream (1)
  • Be able to spin a boat around, taking care of both ends and ensuring that no passers-by are endangered

Going beyond

  • Understand the differences and the difficulties for rowers to carry the boat at different heights
  • Be able to rack a boat on trestles, understanding where the pressure points are
  • Modify racking procedures for rowers of different experience, gender and strength (2)



More information:

(1) At congested pontoons, especially Longbridges, it may be the case that 2 or more boats wish to put the boat out at the same time. If this is the case, you should liaise with the other coxswain; one boat puts the boat down, and bow/stern 4 immediately get in. The boat is then walked downstream, to allow the other crew to get their boat in. A similar process should be followed for multiple boats wishing to land, and ensures that as many crews can boat/dock as possible in a given time.

(2) A crew of women, or novices of either gender, will find it very difficult to rock a boat straight up to heads - unless they know how to correctly do it. In this case, you should get them to lift it out of the water, and rock "on three". You should make similar provisions if a rack is especially high or low for a crew.