Whaleboat Commands for Flotilla Drill

Whaleboats are one of the greatest team building boats used by Sea Scouts.Whether it is racing or Flotilla Drill, taking a whaleboat out requires skill, a knowledgeable coxswain and oarsmen who can work together.

Here is an outline of commands for conducting Flotilla Drill (Note: Always check a regatta boarding guide in case a regatta requires specific maneuvers or if a judge has personal preferences on Flotilla):

Crew Lay Aboard by Thwart (Thwart 1, 2, & 3)

(3 points of contact, no backs to the coxswain)

Sit at attention, arms crossed, with inboard arm on top

Bow Men, Man Your Lines

[Down on one knee, line in one hand, around the cleat and the other hand on the gunnel, fingers on the inside]

Place Rowlocks

Preparatory Command: Crew, Prepare to Place Rowlocks

Execute: Place…Rowlocks

[Crew picks up rowlock at “Place” and slides the rowlock into the rowlock socket with two fingers of space.  At “rowlocks” crew slides the rowlocks into the rowlock socket.]

Sweep

Preparatory Command: Crew, Prepare to Feed Me My Sweep

Execute: Feed Me…My Sweep

[At “feed me” crew places hands on sweep.  At “my sweep” begin feeding the sweep to the coxswain]

Man Oars

Preparatory Command: Crew, Prepare to Man Oars

Execute: Man…Oars

[At “Man” Crew turns inboard and looks at their oars; when oars is said, the crew each places their hands on their oars.  The inboard hand is places higher on the loom of the oar]

Toss Oars

Preparatory Command: Crew, Prepare to Toss Oars

Execute: Toss…Oars

[At “toss” the oars are turned inboard and raised up.  Inboard hand should be on top]

Preparatory Command: Crew, Prepare to Let Fall Oars

Execute: Let fall…oars

[At “let fall” crew switches hands so the outboard hand is on top.  At “oars” lower oars into rowlocks]

Maneuver Away from the Dock

Give Way Together (Repeated three times):

All oarsmen take full stroke, keeping time with stroke oars.

Preparatory Command: Crew, Prepare to Give way together

Execute: Ready All (lean forward)…Stroke (voice command should be same duration as blades in the water)

Oars Complete the stroke and level the oars horizontally with blades trimmed fore and aft (blades feathered, parallel to the water).

Trail Oars

Oars are swiveled in rowlocks toward the stern, brought alongside the boat, fore and aft, blades trailing in the water.

Preparatory Command: Crew, Prepare to Trail Oars

Execute: Ready All…Trail Oars

Preparatory Command: Crew, Prepare to Out Oars

Execute: Out…Oars

Back Water

The oars are backed, keeping stroke to acquire stern way.

Preparatory Command: Crew, Prepare to Back Water

Execute: Ready All (all oarsman lean towards the bow)…Stroke (Lean towards the Stern, pushing the oar through the water.  After recovery, the opposite side of the blade is facing upwards [normally it is painted a different color])

Oars (oar is rotated 180 degrees so the white side is back on top)

Wide Turn to Port (3 strokes to turn the boat in its own length)

Starboard Side “gives way together” while Port side is “at oars.”

Preparatory Command: Starboard Side Crew, Prepare to give way together

Execute: Ready All…stroke

Oars

Wide Turn to Starboard (3 strokes to turn the boat in its own length)

Port Side “gives way together” while Starboard side is “at oars.”

Preparatory Command: Port Side Crew, Prepare to give way together

Execute: Ready All…stroke

Oars

Pivot Turns To Port (3 strokes to turn the boat in its own length)

Starboard Side “gives way together” and Port Side “Back Waters”

Preparatory Command: Starboard Side Crew, Prepare to give way together; Port Side Crew, Prepare to Back Water

Execute: Ready All…stroke

Oars

Pivot Turns To Starboard (3 strokes to turn the boat in its own length)

Port side “gives way together” and Starboard Side “Back Waters”

Preparatory Command: Port Side Crew, Prepare to give way together; Starboard Side Crew, Prepare to Back Water

Execute: Ready All…stroke

Oars

Hold Water

Preparatory Command: Crew, Prepare to Hold Water

Execute: Hold…Water

Preparatory Command: Crew, Prepare to Out oars

Execute: Out…Oars

Laying On Oars

Drawing the oars through the rowlock until the handle rests on the opposite gunwale, blades feathered.

Preparatory Command: Crew, Prepare to Lay On Oars

Execute: Lay on…Oars

Preparatory Command: Crew, Prepare to Out oars

Execute: Out…Oars

Toss Oars

Oars are raised to a vertical position, handles resting on bottom boards. Blades trimmed fore and aft. Command is given while under way as a separate maneuver from getting under way or docking.

Return to Dock

Out Fenders (Very Easy to Forget)

Bow men toss ship oars (should replace rowlocks together without being told to by the coxswain)

Toss Oars

(Normally one side needs to be tossed before docking)

Preparatory Command: Crew, Prepare to Toss Oars

Execute: Toss…Oars

Ship Oars

Preparatory Command: Crew, Prepare to Ship Oars

Execute: Ship…Oars

Take My Sweep

Preparatory Command: Crew, Prepare to Take My Sweep

Execute: Take my…Sweep

Replace Rowlocks

Preparatory Command: Crew, Prepare to Replace Rowlocks

Execute: Replace….Rowlocks

Lay Ashore

Preparatory Command: Crew, Prepare to Lay Ashore by Thort

Execute: Thwart 3, Lay…Ashore

Execute: Thwart 2, Lay…Ashore

Execute: Thwart 1, Lay…Ashore

(No backs to the coxswain, three points of contact)

Crew stands at attention and waits to be dismissed

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