Miscellaneous coxswain gear

Previously: Basic gear for novice coxswains

I previously talked about some basic gear that coxswains should have on them but in today’s post I want to highlight some miscellaneous stuff that you might not think to have, especially if you’re a novice. None of this stuff is necessary right when you first start coxing (or at all, depending on who you’re coxing) but the further into this you get the more likely you’ll be to say “I wish I had a … in my bag”.

Rubber bands

If you’re coxing guys obviously this wouldn’t be applicable but if you’re coxing girls (or you are a girl), this is a super convenient thing to have on hand. You can never have too many rubber bands.

Electrical tape

I usually keep a roll or two of electrical tape in my locker so I can use it when we’re loading the trailer and then I’ll throw it in my cox box so I have it when we’re at the race site. I’ve always been responsible for making sure the coxswain’s seat is “packed up” and the caution tape flag is hanging off the stern and it’s a lot easier to do that if I don’t have to spend 10 minutes tracking down a role of electrical tape first. Sometimes I’ll take it in the boat too before a race to write down the names of the crews we’re racing against. For this I recommend using a lighter colored tape (white or yellow works best) so that it’s easier to read. A single roll should last you at least a season or two.

First aid kit

This is especially useful at the beginning of each season and on training trips when blisters are most likely to be an issue. I have a small kit that I take on the water with me with just the essentials (a few alcohol swabs, Neosporin, band aids, and tape) and then I have a larger, full size one that I keep in my car or locker that I can replenish my water kit with or go to if a larger injury occurs. I also like to throw a small travel size bottle of sunscreen in my water kit so if we’re out on a really hot/sunny day I can reapply it on my shoulders and face midway through practice.

Rechargeable batteries

I started keeping a spare pair of batteries on hand after I went to use my recorder at a race and found that the batteries were dead. My coach had some extras in his toolbox and recommended I get to keep on land or in the travel case for my cox box so I’d have them if I needed them. I recommend getting rechargeable ones that way you’re not spending more than you have to if you use your recorder on a frequent basis.


Carabiners are one of the most underrated tools for coxswains. I used to keep a small one on my cox box to hook my watch to, I have a few on my backpack to attach my cox box and water bottle to if I need to be hands-free, and I use a couple of large ones to store all my wrenches on.

Small snacks

One year I had two girls in my boat who were both diabetic so I kept a couple bags of fruit snacks in my bag just in case they needed them during practice.

Epi pens, inhalers, and other medications

You can’t predict when a situation will arise where someone will need their medication so if they’re prone to asthma attacks or are allergic to bees, having a spare inhaler or epi pen on hand can be a lifesaver (literally). I’ve been in situations a few times where someone in my boat has needed an emergency inhaler, as well as one time when a friend with a severe allergy to bee stings was stung in the middle of practice, and we were able to avoid some potentially bad situations because I had their meds in my bag. Even if they say they haven’t used it in months, it doesn’t matter – better safe than sorry.

Extra nuts, bolts, and spacers

You should carry enough nuts and bolts for at least two full riggers, in addition to at least one set of wing nuts for the foot stretchers. Extra spacers are handy because whenever someone tries to adjust their rigger height, inevitably the spacer will pop off, land in the water, and be gone forever. You can ask your coach or boatman if they have any spare parts you can have but if they don’t, you can usually order a full set straight off the boat manufacturer’s website.


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