baby bed on boat

Safe and portable bed choices for a newborn infant or baby sleeping inside a boat cabin

Cabin space is so limited on a boat, and choosing a proper bed for your new baby can be a challenge. It needs to be compact and portable, yet safe for your baby to sleep in while on board.

The good news is that babies and infants tend to sleep very well on a boat. The gentle rocking of a boat and slight water movement can be very soothing and calming for a baby. Both of our babies slept their longest hours through the night for the first time on the boat (including one that had a bad case of colic.)

With two kids that have been sleeping on board our boat since they were both only a few weeks old, we have experience with a variety of sleeping arrangements for babies and newborn infants on a boat. As long as you have a boat large enough to have a cabin there is no reason why you can’t have your baby sleep on the boat with you for daytime naps, weekend overnights or even live-aboard boating.

Having a baby sleep on a boat can be both safe and easy with the right baby gear. The biggest challenge is often finding the right bed option for the tight space quarters of a boat cabin that is safe and appropriate for the age of your baby.

There are several baby bed options to choose from that are ideal for a boat or other travel scenarios. Here are some of my favorite choices for good compact and portable bed options for a newborn baby or infant sleeping on board your boat.

(Note: links to these products are all available on – I have found that prices are much cheaper than Babies-R-Us and if you sign up for Amazon Prime they qualify for free 2 day shipping. I also receive a small commission if you buy from these links.)

Portable Baby Co-Sleepers  for a Boat

baby co-sleeperA foldable co-sleeper is a good choice for a newborn baby on a boat because it takes up no floor space – perfect for small cabins. The sleeper is very portable and folds up into a small self-carrying case when you are not using it (or need to take it when you travel somewhere else).

The co-sleeper can be safely placed on an aft cabin bed area of a boat, or alongside you if you have space. For our first baby, we used a co-sleeper on the boat until she began to outgrow it at about 2-3 months old (she started to creep out of it a bit during the night).

infant cosleeperThe First Years Infant Cosleeper is super-compact and perfect for a tiny newborn that you want to have close to you on a boat. It is pretty inexpensive, which is good for baby gear that you may only use for a few months. You can get it for about $40 on Amazon.

The Summer Infant By Your Side Sleeper has a nice sturdy frame and keeps the baby safely contained with higher sides (which I like for a cosleeper). They didn’t have this item when my daughters were newborns and I definitely would have considered it for our boat. It is sold for about $45 on Amazon.

BRICA travel bassinet BRICA Fold N’ Go Travel Bassinet is a good choice for a portable co-sleeper and a safe and comfortable place to lay down a baby. I like that it has multiple purposes – handy for a boat, travel or visits to places where you may not have a good place to lay your baby down. Sold for $40 on Amazon.

The Fisher Price Newborn Rock and Play Sleeper was our choice for our second baby – we bought it specifically for the boat but we should have bought a second one for home too! I cannot say enough good things about this sleeper – it was a lifesaver for our baby when she had colic because it slightly elevates the head. The design also makes the baby feel snug and secure. When she was fussy we could put her in it and rock her back to sleep. And it is only $50 on Amazon.

Here’s a quick demo video of how we used the Fisher Price Rock and Play Sleeper on our boat… you’ll see that you do need a little bit of floor space for it, but not nearly as much as a pack-n-play, so it should fit in nearly any boat with a cabin.

Boat Beds for Older Babies and Toddlers

As much as you don’t want to hear it, there is no better and safe baby bed option than a pack-n-play for babies older than 6 months that can sit up and move around. You will need to find space for a pack-n-play on your boat. And you will probably need it from about 6 months to 2 or 3 years old.

Read on for some good options for more compact pack-n-plays for boats

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Diane Seltzer

Founder at
Diane is the founder of as well as the boating lifestyle site Active in the boating industry, Diane is the marketing director for SureShade, maker of patented retractable boat shade systems, and founder of Marine Marketing Tools, a collaborative site for sharing marine marketing best practices. Diane is also author of the children's book The Amazing Adventures of Boat Girl.


  1. I told his mother to get rid of the yao lan. I told her doing the transfer will not work. As Alester was only going to bed at 10pm, I asked that he’d be put to bed much earlier say 8pm if possible. I also ask that she introduce a better bedtime routine for him one that is without gadgets as that can overstimulate her baby and making it harder for him to fall asleep. For more detail & sleeping tips

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