March 2007



Corner For Kids

Coastieís Story

By Tom Nunes
Public Affairs Officer
USCG Auxiliary Division 10, Arizona

Coastie is a primary tool in the Coast Guard Auxiliary’s campaign to educate everyone in boating safety.  Coastie's positive impact teaching Boating and Water Safety to children makes boat shows and similar events an incredible success for the USCG Auxiliary.

Coastie often visits schools and hospitals, instructing children on how to be safe around boats and the water. Coastie is in great demand.

Coastie, an animated, robotic land-locked boat “cartoon character,” has navigation and searchlights, a beacon, a siren, and eyes and eyelids that move meaningfully. He talks, plays music, and interacts with the operator and children as well as adults.

He sometimes squirts water like a real boat, bringing smiles and laughter to all. Painted safety blue and emblazoned with decals promoting boating safety, he flies the United States Ensign as well as the Coast Guard Auxiliary ensign.

Coastie even has his personal MP3 player with a wide selection of military and boating-related music.

Coastie’s Message

His messages teach children what to do and what not do in and on the water, encouraging life jacket wear by all, safe swimming practices, and basic boating safety.  He has educated thousands of children since he was launched in 1996.

 He visits and participates in boat shows, schools, parades, and other events as well as makes visits to hospitals. The bottom line for Coastie is "Education and Saving Lives" while sharing the boating and water-safety message with everyone.

Coastie's team motto is "Saving Lives Through Education."

Children and adults love Coastie.  He has become the “Pied Piper” of boat shows and other public events, gathering a flock of kids wherever he goes. 

Children generally enjoy “talking” to Coastie, being squirted, and learning from him.  Some kids hug Coastie while others tickle him. His child-like voice appeals to kids and is less intimidating than the voice of an adult.

Although little ones sometimes become frightened, Coastie does what he can to allay their fears, using humor and childlike behaviors.

Coastie’s Awards

Coastie received his first award in 1998 at the International Boating and Water Safety Summit held in Hollywood, Fla. This award, the Award of Merit, was from the National Water Safety Congress.

During the 1999 Summit in Albuquerque, N.M., Coastie received the National Safe Boating Council's Southern Regional Advancement Award.  Coastie competed with other outstanding Youth Education programs and was unanimously voted the 1999 National Award winner.

At the same event, Coastie received the National Water Safety Congress Eastern Regional Award for outstanding program accomplishment. Coastie leads the nation as the number one Youth Boating and Water Safety Education Program. 

Coastie has become a wonderful ambassador for the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary and the United States Coast Guard.

Coastie’s Canadian ‘Cousin’

The Canadian Coast Guard in Western Canada operates seven Bobbie, the Safety Boats “vessels” similar to Coastie.  Nevada and Ohio each have a Bobby Safety Boat.

Coastie's Data Sheet

  • 44-inch Coastie Low-Endurance Cutter (WAUX)
  • Number in service Coast Guard and Auxiliary-wide: 32
  • Length: 44 Inches
  • Maximum Speed: 3.5 knots
  • Armament: One 12-volt water squirter, range 25 feet (adult or child elevation capable)
  • Primary missions: youth boating and water-safety education, public affairs, boat shows, USCG & Department of Homeland Security formal events
  • Motto: "Saving Lives Through Education"
  • Patrol areas:  Anywhere kids can be found
  • Operating crew: five personnel — one operator, one instructor, two crew bears, and one Capt. Snoopy

 

The 44-Inch Low Endurance Coastie Cutter class is the smallest class of cutters ever built for the U.S. Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary. Powered by electric motors and operated by remote control, each has independent directionally controllable drive wheels.

Equipped with a water squirter and operational bilge pump, these cutters were introduced to the Coast Guard and Auxiliary inventory in 1997.  Production begun in the 1997 and continues at the Robotronics “Shipyard” in Springville, Utah.
The entire class was modernized through the Fleet Renovation and Modernization (COFRAM) program. The first class renovation was performed on Coastie 01 (WAUX-01) and re-commissioned on Sept. 2, 2000.  

Highly versatile and capable of performing a variety of missions, these cutters operate throughout the United States. Coastie’s Arizona home port is Phoenix.

Anyone wanting Coastie to visit should e-mail:  tnunes1@cox.net or call (602) 490-8076.