64th Birkenhead Sea Scouts

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The Pulling Boat

Pulling boats, commonly refered to as rowing boats, are one of the oldest forms of water transport. In the old days of wood and sail, they would be used as the ships boat with a pulling crew and a coxwain to issue verbal orders.

A pulling boat, as it is today, is shown below with the major parts labeled:


Many modern oars are made up of a laminate (rather than a single piece of wood) or may be entirely synthetic, e.g. aluminium shaft with plastic blades. Similarly, instead of leather, a plastic stop may be fitted which makes them easier to use with crutches.


Pulling Orders

Man your Boat The crew are detailed off by the Coxwain and on the order, take their places in the craft.
Sight your Oars Crew checks oars and crutches are ready for shipping
Ship your Crutches Crew ship their crutches in the crutch plates
Ship your Oars Crew place their oars in the rowlocks or crutches ready for pulling
Let go Foreward / Aft Bowman/ Stroke let go. Coil up and stow the painters
Shove Off The bowman or other crewmen shoves the boat away from the jetty, landing stage or the bottom should the boat be grounded.
In fenders / Out Fenders To be given as seperate orders when leaving and comming along side
Stand by to Give Way This order is given to alert the crew before ordering "give way together". The crew lean forward, backs straight and arms extended to the full, with blades in readiness for pulling.
Give Way together This is the order to start pulling, and is obejed together by the whole crew. Timing is taken from the stroke. If only one bank of oars is required, then the order "giveway starboard (or port) is given.
Oars This is the order to cease pulling. Take one more stroke and sir squarley and upright, oars horizontal and at right angles to the fore-and-aft line of the boat, blades feathered.
Cross Gunwale Oars Lay the oars across the boat resting on the thwarts
Hold Water This is an emergency order to reduce or stop the way of the boat by holding the oars at right angles to the fore-and-aft line of the boat and with their blades held still in the water. It should be obeyed immediately. If required to hold water with one bank of oars only, starboard or port is added to the order.
Stand by to Back Water Given to alert the crew before ordering backwater together. Hold the oars close to the chest in preperation to back water.
Back Water together This is the order to back water together by short pushing strokes on the looms of the oars instead of pulling. If only one bank of oars is required to back water, the order "Back starboard" or "Back port" is given.
Stroke together This is the order for all to give one stroke together. If only one bank of oars is to give a stroke then the order "Stroke starboard or "Stroke port" is given.
Easy All This is the order to pull less vigorously. If the boat is being turned, the order "Easy port (or starboard) may be given.
Mind your Oars This is a warning to the crew to keep the blades of their oars clear of some obstruction. This is an emergency order and should be obeyed immediately. "Port mind your oars" and "Starboard mind your oars" are alternative versions of this order.
Trail Oars The crew pass the looms over their heads, leaving the blades in the water and the oars trailed along the side of the boat. This is for use when passing in restricted waters.
Eyes in the Boat An order to the crew when it is necessary to regain their attention
Bow If a dedicated Bowman is not assigned, this order is given to the bow oarsman, when comming along side, picking up a mooring or other task. If a Bowman is present then the order will warn them to ready themselves.
Way Enough This is th eorder to bring the boat alongside which requires the crew to pull one more stroke, pass looms of the oars over their heads, boat their oars, unship the crutches and put out fenders.
Toss Oars Toss oars may be used in double banked boats in lieu of weigh enough. The order will lift the oars vertically with the blades fore-and-aft.
Fend off Port / Starboard This is used to warn the crew to fend off in order to prevent damage to the side of the boat when coming along side.
Unship Crutches Take the crutches out of the cructch plates, left hanging by their lanyards.
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