Caveolae are abundant cell-surface organelles involved in lipid regulation and endocytosis. We used comparative proteomics to identify PTRF (also called Cav-p60, Cavin) as a putative caveolar coat protein. PTRF-Cavin selectively associates with mature caveolae at the plasma membrane but not Golgi-localized caveolin. In prostate cancer PC3 cells, and during development of zebrafish notochord, lack of PTRF-Cavin expression correlates with lack of caveolae, and caveolin resides on flat plasma membrane. Expression of PTRF-Cavin in PC3 cells is sufficient to cause formation of caveolae. Knockdown of PTRF-Cavin reduces caveolae density, both in mammalian cells and in the zebrafish. Caveolin remains on the plasma membrane in PTRF-Cavin knockdown cells but exhibits increased lateral mobility and accelerated lysosomal degradation. We conclude that PTRF-Cavin is required for caveola formation and sequestration of mobile caveolin into immobile caveolae.