written by Kourt de Haas
|COXSWAINS: If you ever cox a boat at Austin Rowing Club, please carefully read and understand the following. Don’t be this crew!|
Recently our Dockmaster (Taylor) and I have personally witnessed coxed boats approaching too fast, at poor approach angles, or being run up on our docks when docking.
This problem is totally preventable and should NEVER happen. If you are a coxswain YOU are responsible for properly docking your boat without damaging it by running it up on the docks.
If you are a coxswain and are in doubt of your ability to appropriately dock your boat in any given situation, you must do the following:
1) CHECK IT: stop your boat from moving forward; use the stern pair/four for this.
2) BACK IT: back your boat away from the docks; use the stern pair/four for this, arms and back only, with a neutral rudder.
3) TRY AGAIN: account for the wind, current, other boats and your crew’s ability, and try again; this is better than damaging boats or injuring people.
- approach SLOWLY using the stern pair, arms and back only (*never* use rowers in the bow pair/bow four, *never* use legs when approaching)
- aim for the BIG GAP between our docks if you can’t make your intended target dock;
- SIT UP and look around at your surroundings, not your crew;
- SILENCE in the boat while docking–you are in charge and nobody should be talking except the coxswain;
- but ROWERS should speak up if they see something wrong with the docking attempt;
- KNOW which way the wind is blowing and how strong the current is;
- OBSERVE the other crews who are docking around you, both incoming and outgoing;
- only proceed if your docking is a SURE THING, otherwise CHECK IT/BACK IT/TRY AGAIN;
- STOP if your boat is not nearly parallel with the docks–you are risking equipment and rowers–and CHECK IT/BACK IT/TRY AGAIN;
- if you are on land, HELP OTHERS who are docking and having difficulty (thankfully, I see this all the time–great job to all on this);
- KNOW that others are watching you and will follow your example;
- if all else fails, use the gray CanDock that is parallel to the shore to dock your boat.
Please also remember that blind boats (singles, doubles, quads, coxless fours and pairs) must be backed into the docks–absolutely no exceptions.
Coxswains, despite your size you are big in importance. Help keep our members safe and equipment in top shape by properly docking every time.
You can learn more about coxing and brush up on your docking skills in a controlled learning environment by attending a regular coxswain clinic; please contact Sharon Smith, ARC’s principal coxswain, at:
…for more information about future clinics and coxing opportunities.