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Bow (rowing)

File:GB Pair at Henley 2004.JPG
In this picture of a coxless pair, the rower on the left of the photo and closest to the bow of the boat is the "bow" rower and is rowing "bowside" or "starboard"

Bow is a term which has multiple meanings within the sport of rowing. It is used to refer to a rower seated in a particular position and to one side of the boat.


The "bow" or sometimes "bows" of a boat refers to the forward part of the hull, the point that is most forward when the vessel is underway. The other end of the boat is called the stern.

Bow seat

When the boat has more than one rower, the rower closest to the bow of the boat is referred to as "Bow". In coxless boats, bow is usually the person who keeps an eye on the water behind himself or herself to avoid accidents. The rower at the opposite end of the boat is referred to as stroke.

Bow side

Bow side refers to the starboard side of the boat which is on the right hand side of a cox facing forwards but on the left-hand side of a rower facing backwards. The usage derives from the tradition of having the bow rower's oar be on the starboard or right side of the boat.[1]

In Cornish pilot gigs, the bow rower's oar is on the port (left) side and therefore bow side refers to the port side of the boat.