oastie  is a remote controlled, animated, robotic, very mobile,  cartoon-like character. He talks, sings, dances and moves his eyes and eyelids while teaching boating and water safety to children.


Coastie likes to answer children’s questions and to demonstrate his navigation lights, searchlight, rotating beacon, siren, and air horn, plus other safety equipment required for boats on the water.

The Coastie program has educated thousands of children across the nation since he was “born” in 1996.  The goal of the Coastie program is “Saving Lives Through Education”.

Coastie functions very effectively in two basic modes, depending on the type of appearance.

In relatively controlled settings such as school classes, children’s camps, some campground events, etc., a 25-minute lesson designed for children teaches boating and water safety. This lesson incorporates age-appropriate slogans, demonstrations, and skits involving children in the audience. The children learn “Don’t just pack it, wear your life jacket!”, “Life jackets float and you don’t!” and several other related slogans. 

In more open settings such as civic festivals, boat shows, marinas, etc., Coastie engages children and adults in ad-lib conversations related to boating safety.  Coastie is very effective in attracting an audience and stimulating interest in boating safety.

At all appearances, children receive “Coastie cards”, coloring and activity books, and various other reminders to help children  retain the message to be safe around water.

Safety literature for adult boaters is also distributed at all Coastie appearances. Coast Guard Auxiliary members assisting Coastie are prepared to answer questions about boating safety and state and federal  requirements for safety equipment.

The Coastie program is a national effort for the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and is under the guidance of the Auxiliary’s “National Department of Boating”. About 40 Coastie units exist throughout the United States.

A civilian volunteer organization, the Coast Guard Auxiliary is affiliated with the U.S. Coast Guard in the Department of Homeland Security.   

Coastie requires a level, smooth surface at least 20 x 20 feet to operate normally.  In special cases, limited Coastie operations may be possible in a smaller space.  Coastie cannot move on gravel, grass, rough surfaces or on plush carpet.  Coastie does not float and can not operate in wet environments.

Coastie is 44 inches long, 30 inches wide, 45 inches tall and weighs about 150 pounds.  He is painted bright blue and white and flies the American flag and Coast Guard Auxiliary ensign.  Coastie operators and attendants wear US Coast Guard Auxiliary uniforms.

To schedule a Coastie appearance, contact Ms. Mary Scarry at mscarry@libcom.com or Ms. Phyllis Suskey at (412) 824-3045.  There is no cost for a Coastie visit and appearances are generally scheduled on a first come-first served basis.  Coastie visits are contingent on the availability of  operators  and of an appropriate site.  Sites that have not been previously used by Coastie will be evaluated before an appearance.