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To consider canal boating with 11 month old, dog and in-laws?

(21 Posts)
pikapoo Mon 20-Feb-17 20:32:55

Just that really! Our DS will be 11 months old, we get along well with my in-laws plus DMIL loves babysitting wink and they'd bring along their black Labrador. Thinking of a 4 day 3 night trip.

My DH is getting cold feet about booking (what if weather is bad? What if DS goes stir crazy and throws himself overboard? What if DDog doesn't like being on the boat? Etc)

Any advice and tips from your experience would be welcome. Is it likely/unlikely to be a good time for all?

annielouise Mon 20-Feb-17 20:37:03

I did the Norfolk Broads when DS was a bit younger. He was walking holding on to things. We all really enjoyed it. We stopped off quite a lot for him to stretch his legs a bit. I loved steering the boat. It's all quite relaxing and plus no need to talk much I found, just watching the river and other boats go past. I'd go for it. Don't plan on doing much cooking. Have pub meals if possible and just quick things for breakfast/lunch.

cherryblossomcarpet Mon 20-Feb-17 20:45:49

I wouldn't go, purely because it isn't fair to take a dog that doesn't live with small children, and is not used to being on a boat on a boating holiday with a small child. The combination of the noise and unpredictability of an 11 month old with the unfamiliar and possibly frightening environment would be extremely stressful to the dog. Stressed dogs can lash out, and when they do so it is not their fault. If your ds gets bitten it won't be the dog's fault it will be the fault of the owners who should have known better. Even the most placid family pets can react badly when placed in situations they are not comfortable with.

I have two dogs. I'd only consider this if the dog was a family pet that lived with the child, and was happy on boats.

Pitchforktotheface Mon 20-Feb-17 20:48:03

My in laws live on a boat. It is a nightmare with DS (13months) no room yo put the cot and bags, have to keep moving things, stuff or people to walk from one end or the other, DS is perfect height to hit his head on EVERYTHING, especially as its a bit wobbly when people move around.

Big fat no from me.

Wolfiefan Mon 20-Feb-17 20:49:32

I wouldn't but then I had a bloody nightmare canal boat holiday as a child.
Child can't safely run about. Can't imagine sitting on a boat for 4 days would amuse him.
Dog presumably not used to being on a boat?
Locks to navigate.
Yes weather could be rubbish.
Someone has to "drive" the boat!
Getting dog and tot on and off boat could be tricky.

Lazyafternoon Mon 20-Feb-17 20:49:33


Canal boats are like tiny, narrow caravans.... but on water without any outdoor space. I don't get the appeal.

We did canal holidays as kids and don't have many fond memories. It always rained. So Dad would be stuck outside getting more and more grumpy. The rest of us stuck around the table getting more and more bored of the limited games we brought (lack of space to bring much). No privacy as it's so tiny. The 'bed rooms' are basically corridors with very very narrow beds. So in the night everyone has to walk through to get to the loo... which you can then hear everything of.

No idea how it'd work with an 11 month old. From what I remember everyone had to shimmy passed each other on any available floor space to can't imagine where you'd put anything like a travel cot, etc. No space anywhere for a high chair, play mat or anything like. You'd just be holding them the entire time as no floor space and can't exactly let them crawl about on the roof!

Maybe once DS is old enough to be left at home DH and I would do it for the peace and quiet. But certainly not with another couple - urrgh to much sharing of personal space. And not with a damp dog to share my bed.

Mum2jenny Mon 20-Feb-17 20:52:09

It's ok with a very young baby but not sure I'd consider it with an 11 month old child who can walk. And unless child and dog get in, there could be more issues.

Mummymoanasaurus Mon 20-Feb-17 20:52:59

I wouldn't! Have you done locks before? A baby, a dog, in laws on a boat! Reminds me of a caravan holiday I once had in a gale, I'm still scarred 😢

Madeyemoodysmum Mon 20-Feb-17 20:54:37

I had a Norfolk hol for 5 night with my parents and dh and two kids but they are much older than your dc. Think late primary.
I'm not sure if do it with a younger child you would have to watch them 24/7 to make sure no accidents. But it's an amazing holiday when they are older. I waited till my youngest dc was a competent swimmer before risking it but now we have the bug big time. Going again this summer.

Cloeycat Mon 20-Feb-17 20:58:43

I would do it, make sure little one has a life jacket on at all times when outside and you can get a harness to keep them attached to the boat so if they do go over you can get them back on quite quickly something like this:

The80sweregreat Mon 20-Feb-17 21:00:39

Book a cottage by the broads.
Safer all round. Room for the dog to run about.

Witchend Mon 20-Feb-17 21:27:02

Not with an 11 month old. Will be miserable for them in a life jacket and assuming they're moving you'll have to keep them restrained inside. No fun.

The floors get filthy from everyone tramping in and out to do the locks and there's very little floor space anyway.

pikapoo Mon 20-Feb-17 21:30:50

Thanks everyone, really helpful to get a clearer picture of what's involved!

Madeyemoodysmum Mon 20-Feb-17 21:39:07

Oh yes just remembered. Dh could poo for 5 days due to close proximity of my dps. The loo was basically in the kitchen. 😀

Madeyemoodysmum Mon 20-Feb-17 21:39:23

Could not poo I meant to say

pikapoo Mon 20-Feb-17 21:53:15


saltandvinegarcrisps1 Mon 20-Feb-17 21:53:44

If its a narrow boat I'd also say no - as others have said, they are really narrow - we were on a 10 bed but there was practically no floor space apart from the narrow walk through part is nowhere to put up a travel cot. No bath only a (crap) shower. Very little outside space unless sitting on the roof itself. Kitchen was tiny and you really cannot escape anyone as there is only one sitting area - in ours, the bedrooms weren't actually rooms - just beds against the side so you had to walk past others sleeping to get to loo etc. I enjoyed it - we were ,2 families with 3 teens and a 9 year old who all got mostly on but it was pretty full on and tense at times - as I said, no escape. I can't imagine keeping an 11 month occupied / safe .

AverysillyoldHector Mon 20-Feb-17 21:57:39

The dog would probably have a ball, but I think it would be a bit difficult with an 11 month old (and I love narrowboat holidays). If you do decide to go, look at hiring a boat with a semi trad stern - that way you can be outside but with doors shut, which would give you some peace of mind. We've hired some beautiful boats, there are lots of different layouts, so have a good look round and see what might work best for your family smile

pikapoo Tue 21-Feb-17 23:10:00

Just want to say that you all have been a great help, I've shown DH this thread and we've decided to hold off for now and try boating with DS in-laws and dog once when DS is a bit older and can appreciate what's going on. Thanks again!

Huldra Tue 21-Feb-17 23:46:29

2 sets of adults, one dog, one baby (who will be moving or trying to move, may be crap at sleeping, or grumpy with the change of routine) all in a tiny space? Narrow boats are TINY, Just NO grin

I grew up in a house by a river and my parents had a sizeable boat and we used to go up and down for days at a time, it was great and boating holidays can be loads of fun. Many dogs, if they're used to it, love boats and are calm at the right time. In your situation it all sounds a bit too much. Are your inlaws experienced on boats and know what they're doing, so that pressure is off?

I would prefer a rented cottage or wooden lodge. Grandparents can babysit for the odd day or evening, they can go off by the selves, or all of you together. If everyone is desperately keen on a narrow boat, how about a week on land and long weekend on a boat tagged on at the end.

WiddlinDiddling Wed 22-Feb-17 01:52:56

If what you want is several days of walking along towpaths with dog and kiddo ... and then off to pubs for lunches/dinners and explore naice little towns/villages that the canal passes through.. and so when the boat is moving at least two adults dog and baby are not actually ON it...

Yep. Go for it.

If however you will all want to stand on the back of the boat and natter or all be inside - no, horrible, yuck, the chances of a family feud beginning that NEVER ENDs is epic (and far higher than the chances of dog eating baby or baby going overboard tbh).

experienced narrowboater voice of wisdom

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