Hi! I was wondering whether it would be viable to cox for a competitive crew at varsity level at college but also occasionally go out on the water yourself? I am considering coxing at university but I’m not sure if it is something I want to try if it means giving up sculling completely! Thank you!
It probably varies by program but I doubt it’d be an issue if you already have experience sculling. One of our coxswains wanted to try taking out a Tubby last year and all she needed to do was take a flip test (basically to prove she could flip and get back in on her own without assistance). I don’t think she had to take a captain’s test (which tests your knowledge of the rules of your body of water, general safety stuff, etc.)in addition to the flip test but she might have … either way, some coaches might require you to do one or the other or both before allowing you to take a boat out alone.
The only reason why I could see a coach saying “no” is if they feel like it’s not something you need to be doing (in which case they’ll probably give you the runaround so as to not have to outright say no since “you’re a coxswain, not a rower”) or they don’t have time to go out with you if they aren’t comfortable with you going out alone. Even if you’re an experienced sculler this isn’t really a battle worth fighting – if something were to happen to you they’d be responsible regardless and it’s understandably not a risk some coaches want to take.
Like I said though, it’ll probably vary by program … and even location too. If you’re in the US I can’t see many coaches being super on board with the idea at first but if you’re rowing at the club level it might not be as big of an issue. I’m not sure how you’d fare in places like the UK, NZ, etc. but if anyone has experience with this, feel free to chime in.