Preparing to Get off the Dock
Once the shell is in the water, your job is to prepare the shell to be rowed (put the oars in and get in it yourself) as quickly as possible as there is usually another shell waiting for dock space ... either to be launched or coming off the water.
Some of the preparations can be done without the cox'ns command:
1) Holding the shell near the bow and stern seats so that it doesn't drift away from the dock.
2) Go get the oars (that have already been laid out near the dock). Usually you'll carry two oars - yours and one for someone else in the boat.
3) Place the oars in the oarlocks. The black collar should be on the inside of the oarlock. For sculling boats without a backstay, the oarlock should be facing toward the stern.
4) Adjust your foot stretcher to its proper place.
The cox'n will ask if you are ready (having completed the above 1 through 4) by saying, count down from the bow when ready.
After the count, the command will be to run portside oars out. When the oars are flat on the water and the oar handle is being held, the boat is stabilized. (When the boat is at the dock, the port side oars are ones over the water and the starboard oars are over the dock.)
Getting into the boat is easy once you know how to do it. Be sure you know how before you attempt to get in, otherwise you may fall in the water at the dock (embarrassing and dangerous since you may hit something in process) or hurt the shell. There is a certain place where you can put your foot while getting into the shell, for example, and if you don't use this place you may fall and/or damage the shell.
The cox, will say, starboards to hold (the shell from tipping at the dock), ports, one foot in ... and down (sit down on the seat).
Ports to hold (one hand on the dock the other on the oar in order stabilize the shell), starboards, one foot in ... and down.
The cox'n then gets in the shell asking, hold for cox (hold the shell ... one hand on the dock the other on the oar).
Once everyone is in, the cox will say, tie in and count down when ready. This means loosely tie the laces on your shoes or close the Velcro straps. The bow person begins the count when he or she is ready and the count proceeds down the boat to the stern: Bow (instead of saying one), two, three four, five, six, seven, stroke (instead of saying eight).