Coxswain

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The coxswain ( /ˈkɒksən/ KOK-sən) is the person in charge of a boat, particularly its navigation and steering. The etymology of the word gives a literal meaning of "boat servant" since it comes from cock, a cockboat or other small vessel kept aboard a ship, and swain, an Old English term derived from the Old Norse sveinn meaning boy or servant. [1]

Boat vessel for transport by water

A boat is a watercraft of a large range of type and size. Ships are generally distinguished from boats based on their larger size, shape, and cargo or passenger capacity, and their ability to carry boats.

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Rowing

A women's 4+, a "Four" with coxswain in the stern Toronto female rowing team.jpg
A women's 4+, a "Four" with coxswain in the stern

In rowing, the coxswain sits in either the bow or the stern of the boat (depending on the type of boat) while verbally and physically controlling the boat's steering, speed, timing and fluidity. The primary duty of a coxswain is to ensure the safety of those in the boat. In a race setting, the coxswain is tasked with motivating the crew as well as steering as straight a course as possible to minimize the distance to the finish line. Coxswains are also responsible for knowing proper rowing technique and running drills to improve technique.

A coxswain is the coach in the boat, in addition to following the orders of the team coach, the coxswain is connected to the way the boat feels, what's working, what needs to be changed, and how. A successful coxswain must keep track of the drill, time, pace, words of the coach, feel of the boat, direction of the boat, and safety. During a race, a coxswain is responsible for steering, calling the moves, and responding to the way the other boats are moving. Success depends on the physical and mental strength of the rowers, ability to respond to the environment, and the way in which the coxswain motivates the rowers, not only as individuals but as members of the crew.

In the Royal Navy in the days of sail, the coxswain was a petty officer or chief petty officer who commanded the barge of a captain or admiral. Later the coxswain was the senior deck petty officer or chief petty officer aboard a smaller vessel such as a corvette or submarine, who was responsible for the steering and also assumed the duties which would be performed by the chief boatswain's mate and master-at-arms aboard larger vessels.

Royal Navy Maritime warfare branch of the United Kingdoms military

The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by the English kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were fought in the Hundred Years' War against the Kingdom of France. The modern Royal Navy traces its origins to the early 16th century; the oldest of the UK's armed services, it is known as the Senior Service.

A petty officer (PO) is a non-commissioned officer in many navies and is given the NATO rank denotion OR-5. In many nations, they are typically equal to a corporal or sergeant in comparison to other military branches. Often they may be superior to a seaman, generally the lowest ranks in a navy, and subordinate to a more senior non-commissioned officer, such as a chief petty officer.

A chief petty officer is a senior non-commissioned officer in many navies and coast guards.

In World War II pilots of landing craft were referred to as coxswains.

World War II 1939–1945, between Axis and Allies

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from more than 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 70 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Landing craft small and medium seagoing vessel used to convey a landing force

Landing craft are small and medium seagoing watercraft, such as boats and barges, used to convey a landing force from the sea to the shore during an amphibious assault. The term excludes landing ships, which are larger. Production of landing craft peaked during World War II, with a significant number of different designs produced in large quantities by the United Kingdom and United States.

In the Royal Canadian Navy, the appointment of coxswain (or capitaine d'armes in French) is given to the senior non-commissioned officer aboard a ship, the equivalent to a command master chief petty officer in the US Navy. For larger vessels such as a destroyer, frigate or the Harry DeWolf-class ships (AOPVs), a coxswain holds the rank of chief petty officer 1st class (CPO1). For submarines, a coxswain holds the rank of chief petty officer 2nd class (CPO2). For Kingston-classcoastal defence vessel, a coxswain usually holds the rank of petty officer 1st class (PO1) or CPO2.

Royal Canadian Navy Maritime warfare branch of Canadas military

The Royal Canadian Navy is the naval force of Canada. The RCN is one of three environmental commands within the unified Canadian Armed Forces. As of 2017, The Royal Canadian Navy operates 12 frigates, 4 patrol submarines, 12 coastal defence vessels and 8 unarmed patrol/training vessels, as well as several auxiliary vessels. The Royal Canadian Navy consists of 8,500 Regular Force and 5,100 Primary Reserve sailors, supported by 5,300 civilians. Vice-Admiral Art McDonald is the current Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy and Chief of the Naval Staff.

French language Romance language

French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.

Destroyer Type of warship

In naval terminology, a destroyer is a fast, maneuverable, long-endurance warship intended to escort larger vessels in a fleet, convoy or battle group and defend them against powerful short range attackers. They were originally developed in the late 19th century by Fernando Villaamil for the Spanish Navy as a defense against torpedo boats, and by the time of the Russo-Japanese War in 1904, these "torpedo boat destroyers" (TBDs) were "large, swift, and powerfully armed torpedo boats designed to destroy other torpedo boats". Although the term "destroyer" had been used interchangeably with "TBD" and "torpedo boat destroyer" by navies since 1892, the term "torpedo boat destroyer" had been generally shortened to simply "destroyer" by nearly all navies by the First World War.

The term was also sometimes used aboard merchant ships for the senior petty officer in charge of the helm. The fictional Israel Hands, for example, was the coxswain of Hispaniola in Treasure Island .

Israel Hands was an 18th-century pirate, also known as Basilica Hands. He is best known for being second in command to the infamous pirate Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard.

<i>Treasure Island</i> Novel by the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson

Treasure Island is an adventure novel by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, narrating a tale of "buccaneers and buried gold." Its influence is enormous on popular perceptions of pirates, including such elements as treasure maps marked with an “X,” schooners, the Black Spot, tropical islands, and one-legged seamen bearing parrots on their shoulders.

In Royal Navy Sections of the Combined Cadet Force, the rank of Cadet Coxswain is the highest that a cadet can achieve, except in the rare occurrence that they are promoted to the rank of Cadet Under Officer. The Rank of Coxswain equates to the rank of Cadet Warrant Officer in the Royal Air Force Sections, and the rank of Cadet Regimental Sergeant Major in the Army Sections.

Combined Cadet Force military unit

The Combined Cadet Force (CCF) is a youth organisation in the United Kingdom, sponsored by the Ministry of Defence (MOD), which operates in schools, and normally includes Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force sections. Its aim is to "provide a disciplined organisation in a school so that pupils may develop powers of leadership by means of training to promote the qualities of responsibility, self reliance, resourcefulness, endurance and perseverance".

Royal Air Force Aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces

The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the United Kingdom's aerial warfare force. Formed towards the end of the First World War on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world. Following victory over the Central Powers in 1918 the RAF emerged as, at the time, the largest air force in the world. Since its formation, the RAF has taken a significant role in British military history. In particular, it played a large part in the Second World War where it fought its most famous campaign, the Battle of Britain.

In the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets, the position of Coxswain is often appointed to the cadet with the rank of Cadet Chief Petty Officer First Class (C/CPO1). This would be the equivalent of the position of Regimental Sergeant Major in the Royal Canadian Army Cadets held by a Cadet Chief Warrant Officer (C/CWO).

United States Coast Guard

In the United States Coast Guard and United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, the coxswain is the person in charge of a small boat. The coxswain has the authority to direct all boat and crew activities during the mission and modify planned missions to provide for the safety of the boat and the crew. [2] Before a person can be assigned to be a coxswain, they have to go through a qualification procedure, be certified and maintain the certification to be a coxswain. Upon certification, they are awarded the Coxswain Badge. This qualification procedure requires a significant amount of practice in boat handling as well as previous experience as a boat crew member. Any Coast Guardsman (enlisted or officer) may become a coxswain upon proper qualification. An advancement to boatswain's mate second class requires that the individual qualify as and maintain certification as a coxswain. A commanding officer or officer in charge of a land based unit with boats has to be certified and stay certified as a coxswain on all boats in the unit or be relieved of command. A coxswain is assigned to a boat by the command authority and can only be relieved by the commanding officer/Officer in Charge, executive officer/Executive Petty Officer, or senior officer present. The coxswain’s authority is independent of rank and/or seniority in relation to any other person on board the boat. [3] Unlike the commanding officer of a cutter or ship, a coxswain does not automatically have command authority.

See also

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