Like all sports, rowing has plenty of jargon. Here are some of the more commonly used terms (thanks Wikipedia!). Click here to see definitions for other rowing terminology.


Shell - The boat used for rowing

Skull - In a sculling boat, each rower has two oars or 'sculls', one on each side of the boat.

Single - A skulled boat with one rower (1x)

Double - A sculled boat with two rowers (2x) i.e. they each have two oars

Quad - A sculling boat that has four rowers each with two oars. Can be coxed (4x+) but is usually coxless (4x-)

Sweep - In a sweep boat, each rower has one oar. 

Stroke side – any sweep rower who rows with the oar on the strokeside (usually, the left or port side) of the boat.

Bowside – any sweep rower who rows with the oar on the bowside (usually, the right or starboard side) of the boat.

Pair - A swept boat with two rowers (2-) i.e. they each have one oar

Four - A sweeping boat with four rowers (4+)

Eight - A boat with eight rowers (8+). Along with the single scull, the Eight is traditionally considered to be a regatta's most prestigious event.


Cox / coxswain - The oar-less crew-member who is responsible for steering and race strategy. The coxswain either sits in the stern or lies in the bow of the boat.

Cox box - A portable voice amplifier that may also optionally incorporate digital readouts displaying stroke rate, boat speed and times.


Rating - The number of strokes rowed per minute.

Stroke coach - A digital device that measures the stroke rate (i.e. the number of strokes being rowed per minute)