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A coxed quad scull, with a bow cox

A bowloader is a crew shell (a type of boat used in rowing) in which the coxswain lies semi-supine in the bow, as opposed to the normal seated position at the stern.

Bowloaders are often seen as coxed fours and also coxed pairs. Although a small number of bowloader eights exist, the larger boat's momentum means that a coxswain lying in the bows could be injured in a collision if the bow collapses. A bowloader is slightly faster than a stern-coxed boat, since the mass of the coxswain in the bow reduces porpoising, and the semi-supine position puts the coxswain's center of mass below the waterline, reducing roll. Both of these factors help to reduce drag. The cox also has better forward vision in a bowloader: in the conventional stern position the cox cannot see directly ahead.

Novice coxswains often have difficulty with bowloaders, however, since the rowers and their oars cannot easily be seen. Experienced coxswains learn how to feel the movements of the rowers in the boat, as well as visualising the position of the shell itself to safely and effectively maneuver it.

Bowloaders require an amplifier and loudspeakers to be used so that the cox can communicate with the crew, and unlike in the conventional coxing position there is no opportunity for personal communication between cox and stroke on race tactics.