COCKSWAIN, or COXEN, the officer who manages and steers a boat, and has the command of the boat’s crew. It is evidently compounded of the words cock and swain, the former of which was anciently used for a yawl or small boat, as appears by several authors; but it has now become obsolete, and is never used by our mariners.
– Yon tall anchoring bark
Diminish’d to her cock; her cock a buoy, &c.
– Wm. Falconer’s Dictionary of the Marine (1780).