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DIY: From Case to Crib

The growing family (left); Nemo enjoying his new crib (right). 

The growing family (left); Nemo enjoying his new crib (right). 

As long-term cruisers, my partner, Timo, and I are used to up-cycling our belongings into any new items we might need rather than looking for a store-bought solution. Making a crib for our son, Nemo, was no exception.

A few weeks before I was due to give birth, Timo and I ran an informal sea survival training session at Vuda Marina in Fiji. This included inflating two very expired liferafts to demonstrate how they work. Afterward, one of the rafts was donated to a nearby village for the local children to play with, leaving behind an abandoned case. Looking at the two empty halves, I racked my brain for things we could possibly do with them, eventually remembering we had yet to find a solution to the problem of a crib. I jokingly suggested to Timo they were the perfect size for a baby to sleep in. Next thing I knew, he was getting to work!

After giving both sides of the case a good scrub, we tested out a number of different arrangements, eventually opting to use the bottom half as the actual bed with the top part cut in half and positioned vertically at the end where the baby’s head would be.

To start out, we cut some foam to lay inside the bottom case as a mattress and covered the edges of the bottom portion of the crib with foam cylinders—orange to fit the Sea Survival theme. Next, we drilled a set of holes along the edge of the case to thread rope through to lash the two halves together and secure the foam.

Finally, we cut one of the raft’s emergency paddles in half and lashed the two poles to the corners of the case by the baby’s feet. That done, we ran a line from the top of the poles to the head of the crib, which we then used to attach a bit of net. Voilà, one super-secure offshore baby bed! Our baby won’t be going anywhere no matter how rough the weather! 

Ed Note: Nemo Yasa Pancin was born in Lautoka, Fiji, on July 23, 2020 weighing a happy, healthy 7lb 6oz. His middle name, Yasa, was the name of a cyclone that struck Fiji when the author was in the throes of some serious morning sickness. For the latest on Joanna, Nemo and Timo, visit, or check out their YouTube channel,

April 2022



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