Coastal Opportunities for Autistic and Special Needs Scouts

What is COASTS?

Sea Base serves thousands of youth each year with disabilities. COASTS are programs designated as the most accessible for Special Needs Scouts. In each program, units are housed in air-conditioned dormitories for the duration of their adventure, eat at the Sea Base main facility where dietary needs can be accommodated, and participate alongside their peers in the level of adventure that best suits their ability.

Programs designated as COASTS are some of the highest rated and most popular programs offered at Sea Base.  COASTS provide Special Needs Scouts the opportunity to participate in High Adventure alongside their home unit, family, and friends.  Those who know them best.  COASTS, like all other Sea Base programs, requires an onsite advocate for Scouts with Special Needs.  That is, someone who knows the youth’s medication schedule and mental, physical, and emotional support needs.  This can be a parent registered as a BSA Adult Leader or a trusted Scoutmaster or other BSA registered volunteer.  Sea Base staff members serving in these programs receive training to support onsite advocates.  Programs with COASTS designation are:

  • Island Expedition
  • Keys Adventure
  • Marine Eco Expedition


  • Sea Base encourages every Special Needs Scout to become a strong and capable swimmer. Doing so will allow them to snorkel and participate in every aspect of the scheduled adventure.  For Special Needs Scouts who are not yet ready to become swimmers, cannot become swimmers or who are epileptic, underwater robots (ROVs) will be provided aboard snorkel vessels to allow Scouts to explore the “underwater wilderness” safely from the deck of the boat.
  • Sea Base is a challenge by choice facility.  If a Scout or Scouts choose or are unable to participate in any activity, alternative activities will be presented to the unit.  It is the responsibility of the unit to provide appropriate Youth Protection leadership.
  • For personal safety, non-swimmers will be required to wear life jackets aboard any vessel less than 30 ft. in length and aboard any sailing vessel whenever on deck.


  • Scouts must be approved by their treating physician(s) to participate.
  • All Special Needs Scouts must have an onsite advocate. A single individual may be an advocate for multiple Scouts.
  • Due to the nature of vessel-based programs, everyone attending must have the ability to climb ladders and stairs.


  • Sea Base Adventures are offered as group reservations, or unit/contingent-based. 
  • Click here to register as a unit.
  • Click here to learn more about joining a National Special Needs Scouting Contingent.