Question of the Day

Part of coxswain selections are how safe you are and if you can keep the boat safe in different situations. How would coaches determine your safety-ness?

In no particular order, I’d look at:

Whether or not you follow the traffic patterns (and before that, if you know what the traffic patterns are)

What your steering is like (are you a straight shooter or a drunk driver?)

Related: How to steer an eight or four

How you handle high-volume days on the water when there’s a lot of traffic (i.e. on any given day you’ll encounter numerous other crews, launches, sailboats, tour boats, duck boats, kayakers, SUP-ers, etc.)

Are you calm in stressful situations or do you easily lose your composure

Do you follow instructions (this is huge)

Are you trustworthy (can I send you off by yourself for a few minutes without supervision and trust that you’ll execute practice accordingly, keep the crew safe, etc.)

Are you careful with the equipment

How well you handle inclement weather situations

Whether or not you used basic common sense

The last one is big for me personally and is probably the number one thing I would like at if I were evaluating how safe a coxswain is. Being aware of potentially dangerous, unsafe, or atypical situations and doing everything you can to avoid putting your crew in harm’s way is one of, if not the most, important responsibility of a coxswain. Common sense can and will keep you and your crew safe 98% of the time but being able to master everything I listed above will be of great use to you. Better safe than sorry, every time, all the time.

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