Hey! So my novice team has about 5 boats with coxswains and 2 cox boxes. The novice girls have 5 boats and 5 cox boxes and the varsity all have enough also. It is really annoying when we go on the water and three coxswains don’t have cox boxes or are stuck with a cox box mini (we have one) or cox box (also only one). The coxswains on the team all really want functioning cox boxes, so how do you think we should go about asking our coach about it (or rather if we even should ask)?
You should definitely ask for several reasons but the biggest reason is for safety. For some reason this always gets overlooked and I cannot for the life of me understand why since everyone always says it’s their number one priority. If you don’t have a cox box, everything you say (or yell, rather) is only going as far as 7-seat, maybe. If you’re in a bow loader, your bow man is probably the only person who hears you (as long as there’s a headwind). That’s annoying when you’re trying to make calls, especially to novices, but it’s a HUGE problem if you get into a dangerous situation and need to have everyone’s attention. If you’re in bad weather and it’s raining and really windy, there’s no way anyone can hear what you’re saying which makes it difficult if you’re trying to get your point, rowing in a strong current, trying to dock, etc.
I would bring this up to your coach(es), in addition to any other issues you’ve encountered by not having one. My one caution though would be to not say you want one just because everyone else has one. If your coach really needs to be convinced, ask them how well a boat would function if you only had 5 oars instead of eight or if only half of the seats were slid back and forth. That’s similar to the disadvantage your boat is at when the coxswain doesn’t have their one crucial piece of equipment.
Cox boxes are expensive though so I guess if you want to look for a reason to justify why not every coxswain has their own, this is that reason. Between the cox box, mic, charger, and case it totals something like $680. Multiply that by three and that’s over $2000 (which is ridiculous given how limited the cox boxes are…). Coaches, parent/executive boards, etc. see that and say “no way” because they’d rather spend the money on riggers, oars, boats, travel, etc.
When you talk to your coaches, go in knowing how much the three cox boxes would cost your team and a plan for how you plan on raising the money to purchase them and/or a plan to search for and acquire used cox boxes from other teams. Linked below is a post on fundraising that you can use for inspiration if you need some ideas.
Related: Fundraising 101
If you’re interested in buying them used, I’d suggest posting an ad on row2k in their classifieds section under “Accessories Wanted”. You could also post it under “Oars and Equipment Wanted” for additional exposure. Make sure you list the contact info of whoever is in charge of the search (even if you’re doing the work, I’d put a parent or coach as the contact person) and the price you’re willing to pay (make sure it’s fair and reasonable!).