In rowing, the "bow" or sometimes "bows" of a boat is 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. The rower closest to the bow of the boat is also known as "bow".
When the boat has more than one rower, the rower closest to the bow of the boat is known 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 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.
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.