The coxswain is the person who steers a boat: the helmsman. If you’re going the wrong way on the sea, blame the coxswain.
There are many different jobs on a boat, including captain and cook. One of the most important jobs is coxswain, which is the helmsman or steersman. In other words, the coxswain is the equivalent of the driver of a car. A coxswain is also the helmsman of a racing crew, like a rowing crew in a competition. The swain part is from a word meaning "servant," and cox is from cok, meaning "a small boat."