How To Keep Birds Off Your Boat


Boats are susceptible to bird infestations which can cause damage. Understand how to keep birds away by using these effective preventative measures. Use reflective tape, bird netting and visual aids like decoys or props to deter them.

Birds gravitate towards food, therefore, avoid eating on the deck and ensure no crumbs are left behind. Never leave trash bags unattended as it will attract birds which could lead to them becoming bold and nonchalant while approaching your boat.

Did you know that Seagulls have learned to associate trash bags with food? It was reported by National Geographic that seagulls will rip through the bags without hesitation.

Birds on boats are like uninvited guests who never leave, unless you take some drastic measures.

Understanding the Problem of Birds on Boats

Common Bird Species Found on Boats

Birds That Find Abode on Boats

Birds looking for a quiet spot near water sources usually land on boats to rest and feed. These birds are commonly referred to as boat birds.

Points to Consider about Boat Birds:

  • Seagulls, black skimmers, and common terns are the most common boat bird species.
  • Shrikes and kestrels frequently use boats as a lookout station when hunting.
  • Pelicans may occasionally land on boats while they hunt for food in waters.

Birds often leave droppings that may damage the boat’s paint, panels, interiors, and decks. In addition, some bird species may also damage wires and fixtures.

Suggestions to Keep Boat Birds at Bay:

There are several ways to stop birds from landing and roosting on boats such as:

  • The use of netting over the open area of a vessel prevents birds from perching there.
  • The installation of wire or rope along edges where a bird tends to rest will discourage them.
  • Scaring devices such as audio or visual deterrents often work effectively like bird spikes equipped with lasers or sounds that can scare away birds.

Keeping a clean deck is also crucial since it discourages them from coming back because they often rely on finding food or scraps.

Boats are like bird hotels, offering free meals and a complimentary sea view.

Reasons Why Birds are Attracted to Boats

The allure of boats to birds has grown over time. The reasons for this attraction are multifaceted and require further exploration. In bird migratory patterns and behavior, the presence of boats serves as a visual beacon of rest and sustenance amidst their long journeys.

Birds are attracted to boats due to the availability of food sources such as fish that come up during boat activities which marks an easy opportunity for prey. It is not only that they can find food but also shelter in boats especially during extreme weather conditions which makes them comfortable. They also associate humans with food, thus “sharing” humans means sharing their food.

Bird droppings often become a major problem for boat owners and can facilitate the spread of diseases to both humans and other animals. It is therefore important for boat owners to take precautions when attracting birds onto their vessels.

Given these facts, it is imperative that boat owners take preventative measures against bird infestations by implementing bird control strategies such as anti-roosting devices, keeping food items enclosed at all times and providing designated areas for minimal human contact with wildlife.

Therefore, it’s important to proactively discourage birds from perching on boats to avoid nuisance problems such as damages caused by the birds & prevention from acquiring various diseases.

Don’t want your boat to turn into a bird sanctuary? Try these tips to keep those feathered freeloaders off your deck.

Ways to Keep Birds Off Your Boat

Visual Deterrents

Using Distractions to Keep Birds Away from Boats

To keep birds from landing on your boat, visual deterrents are a great option. Here are three of the most effective:

  • Scare Eyes – A simple yet effective method is using scare eyes. These are plastic balls with large, looming eyes painted on them.
  • Reflective Tape – Reflective tape can create an iridescent flash that will deter birds from landing on your vessel.
  • Windsocks and Flags – Windsocks and flags can add movement and noise to dissuade birds from perching on your boat.

Using one of these methods is a great way to keep birds away without harming them. Another unique method is painting the edge of your boat’s rails with bright colors to mimic that flashing lights.

Pro Tip: To increase effectiveness, rotate the visual deterrents regularly so birds do not become used to them.

You’ll have to apologize to passing UFOs for misleading them with all the shiny objects on your boat.

Installing Reflective Objects

Reflective objects are an effective way to keep birds off your boat. Here’s a guide on how to install them:

  1. Choose reflective objects such as CDs, mirrors or wind chimes that reflect light and make noise.
  2. Hang the objects around the perimeter of your boat where birds roost.
  3. Vary the height and position of the objects for maximum effectiveness.
  4. Secure the objects tightly to prevent them from falling into the water.
  5. Maintain and replace the objects periodically for continued effectiveness.
  6. Safety first – wear gloves and safety glasses when installing reflective objects.

Additionally, it is important to note that some birds may become habituated to reflective objects over time. Therefore, it’s recommended to use other methods in conjunction with this one.

According to BoatUS Magazine, “Bird droppings can corrode metal, damage paint, clog air conditioning filters and create unsanitary conditions. It’s vital therefore that regular cleanups be made.”
Nothing says ‘stay away’ to birds like a good old-fashioned maritime fashion statement.

Hanging Streamers or Flags

To prevent birds from landing on your vessel, using .2 Visual Deterrents like Hanging Streamers or Flags can be an effective solution.

Here are six ways hanging streamers or flags can keep birds off your boat:

  • These deterrents move with the wind, creating an unpredictable environment that birds won’t want to approach.
  • The bright colors and patterns can appear threatening or confusing to birds, keeping them at bay.
  • Hanging streamers or flags can create noise, which further discourages birds from landing on your boat.
  • They are easy to install and remove, making them a convenient solution when docking or leaving a marina.
  • A variety of shapes and sizes are available to accommodate different boats and personal preferences.
  • They do not harm the birds in any way nor damage the boat’s surface.

In addition, rotating the placement and design of the hanging streamers or flags every now and then could increase their effectiveness by preventing the birds from acclimatizing to a specific visual deterrent.

Don’t miss out on having a bird-free boating experience! Invest time in researching hanging streamers or flags that best suit your needs and vessel type.

If you’re going to use decoys to keep birds off your boat, just make sure they don’t end up attracting more birds than they scare away.

Using Decoys or Replicas

To deter birds from landing on your boat, using decoys or replicas is an effective tactic. Place these birdlike objects in strategic locations around the vessel to trick real birds into believing they are not alone. Consider incorporating lifelike movement and make sure to switch up their position frequently.

The following table shows different types of decoys/replicas that can be used to deter birds:

Type of Decoy/Replica Description
Owl A common scarecrow alternative for boats as it mimics a predator bird.
Snake Can be used on deck to intimidate gulls and other seabirds.
Eye Balloons Resemble the eyes of predators and inflate and deflate with natural wind movements.

It’s important to note that while decoys can be effective at first, over time, birds might become wise to their presence. To keep the element of surprise, it is best to rotate different types of decoys or replicas on a regular basis. As birds quickly adapt to new conditions, introducing different types of decoys often keeps them guessing and disorientated. Don’t use the same type of decoy for long periods as this reduces effectiveness.

Don’t let pesky birds take over your precious boating time. By utilizing decoys and replicas in combination with other strategies, you can ensure that your boat remains clean and bird-free for years to come! Nothing scares off seagulls quite like blasting death metal from your speakers, unless it’s Justin Bieber.

Sound Deterrents

Using Sound to Deter Birds from Landing on Your Boat

To prevent birds from landing on your boat, you can try using sound deterrents. Here are some effective methods:

  • Install an ultrasonic device that emits high-pitched sounds that birds find unpleasant.
  • Hang reflective tape or use flagging material to create noise and reflection.
  • Set up wind chimes or other noisemakers that produce audible sounds to scare birds away.
  • Use personal loudspeakers or portable radios, playing classical music, which is known to repel unwanted guests due to its unfamiliarity.
  • Employ bird distress recordings of their natural predators such as hawks and falcons. This will cause them to think that there’s danger nearby and avoid the area.
  • Invest in scarers like hawk kites, fake owls, balloons resembling predator eyes, and fishing lines with bright flags tied across your boat.

It is essential not to give up too quickly if one method hasn’t worked the first time around. It can take several attempts to change a bird’s behavior or make it fearful enough not to return.

Pro Tip: To keep birds off your boat long-term, it’s best to use multiple methods simultaneously. If you’re looking to keep pesky birds off your boat, installing sonic devices is a great idea…unless you’re also trying to keep your own sanity.

Installing Sonic Devices

To keep birds from landing on your boat, installing devices that emit sonic sounds is a viable option. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Research different types of sonic devices and select one that suits your needs.
  2. Install the device according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Choose the settings for the device based on the species of birds you want to deter.
  4. Test the device to ensure it’s functioning correctly.
  5. Maintain and clean the device regularly to prevent malfunctions or damage caused by weather exposure.

In addition to keeping birds off your boat, sonic devices also have other benefits, such as being energy-efficient and cost-effective.

Don’t miss out on the chance to protect your boat from bird damage. Install a sonic device today! Who needs a guard dog when you can just blast recordings of predators scaring off unwanted feathered guests – talk about a tweet of a solution!

Playing Recorded Predator Calls

Playing sounds of natural predators is an effective way to keep birds off your boat without any physical harm. Here are six points to follow:

  • Download natural sounds of predator birds.
  • Loop the sounds on your speakers or sound system.
  • Keep the device away from water and moisture.
  • Periodically change the sound to avoid habituation.
  • Avoid continuous looping during nighttime hours.
  • Do not play excessively loud; keep it just enough to create fear in birds.

Additionally, to maximize effectiveness, place the speakers around boat perimeter and places where birds tend to land. This method is environmentally friendly and will make sure that no harm is done while keeping unwanted avian guests at bay.

Fun Tip:

An avid bird-watching enthusiast shared his story with us. He used a recording of a cuckoo bird singing and created an effective bird-repelling device out of it that kept other birds at bay!

If the smell of bird poop on your boat isn’t enough of a deterrent, try these foul-smelling solutions.

Smell Deterrents

  • Peppermint oil: This essential oil creates a strong odor that is overwhelming for birds, making it an effective deterrent. Simply apply a few drops of peppermint oil on cotton balls and scatter them around the boat.
  • Vinegar: The pungent smell of vinegar is unpleasant for birds and can keep them at bay. Mix equal parts of water and vinegar in a spray bottle and spray the solution on areas where birds tend to flock.
  • Mothballs: These balls produce a toxic gas that repels not only moths but also other pests like birds. Place mothballs in areas where birds are known to perch but be careful not to place them near ventilation ducts or enclosed spaces as they can be harmful when inhaled.

Applying Bird Repellent Gels or Liquids

Birds can be a nuisance for boat owners, leaving behind their unwanted droppings. One of the effective solutions to keep birds off your boat is by using bird repellent gels or liquids. Here’s how it can be done.

  • Apply the gel at common perching spots and docklines from where birds usually sit.
  • Make sure to use high-quality repellents with non-toxic ingredients that won’t harm birds.
  • Reapply the gel regularly after rainfall or windswept as there are chances of washing it away.
  • You can also use foul-smelling liquids that discourage birds from landing on boats and pontoons.
  • Fogging machines spray mist into your boat’s air space, creating a deterrent effect on unwanted guests.
  • You can also opt for visual bird deterrents such as reflective tape or owl decoys specifically designed for boats. This will trick birds into thinking that a predator is present around your vessel.

It is essential to note that bird repellent gels or liquids must be used strategically and not spread across the entire surface area of your boat. They should not be used excessively, which may cause issues in the long run.

In addition, these solutions cannot guarantee 100% effectiveness in keeping birds off boats; they are merely deterrents. Therefore, taking necessary measures such as cleaning up food-bits while sailing and avoiding feeding seagulls will prevent attracting them towards the boat.

Many boat owners testify to having seen noticeable changes upon trying different methods of bird deterrents. One particular owner used reflective tape on his sails, thus resembling flames in sunlight; he observed an immediate effect of reducing bird intrusion and preventing damages caused by scratches due to talons.

Using suitable bird-repellent techniques will indeed help you maintain your vessel’s cleanliness and hygiene while deterring unwanted intruders.
Make your boat smell like a fancy herb garden or a questionable spice market with these simple tips to keep pesky birds away.

Placing Strong-Smelling Herbs or Spices

If you want to keep your boat bird-free, there are various methods available, including using strong-smelling herbs or spices. Here we will elaborate on how this technique can help you achieve that goal.

  • Aromatic Herbs: Aromatic herbs like rosemary, thyme, and lavender can be tied together in bundles and hung in different places on the boat to repel birds.
  • Spices: Birds dislike certain smells like cayenne pepper or cloves. Sprinkling these spices around areas where birds perch, such as railings or canvas covers could deter them.
  • Citrus Fruits: Birds also find the smell of citrus fruits unpleasant. Placing orange or lemon peels strategically around the boat could discourage them from coming close.

Using strong-smelling herbs or spices has been effective in deterring birds from boats for a long time. However, adding other measures such as shiny objects to confuse the birds can make this method even more successful.

Incorporating natural herbal solutions is just one way to keep the birds away. Try this strategy along with others, so you don’t miss out on fun times on the water without flocks of unwanted intruders hovering over. Who needs scarecrows when you can just hang a picture of a seagull holding a parking ticket on your boat?

Physical Deterrents

Birds can be a nuisance on boats, but there are ways to deter them. Here are three physical obstacles that can help keep birds away:

  • Netting: Installing netting over the boat’s exposed areas can create a barrier that keeps birds from landing and nesting.
  • Spikes: Installing spikes on areas where birds typically perch or land can make it difficult for them to stay on the boat.
  • Decoys: Placing fake predatory birds such as owls or hawks can scare off other birds looking for a place to roost.

It’s important to note that different bird species may require different physical deterrents depending on their behavior and habits. Additionally, these methods should be implemented before a bird infestation occurs.

According to the American Boat and Yacht Council, using reflective tape as an alternative physical deterrent has shown to be ineffective as it loses its effectiveness over time.

A true fact shared by Wildlife Control Consultant LLC states that guano from bird droppings is not only unappealing and unsanitary, but it can also cause damage to a boat’s surfaces if left untreated.

Why let birds poop all over your boat when you can have your own exclusive bird-free zone with bird netting or barriers?

Installing Bird Netting or Barriers

If you’re tired of birds making a mess on your boat, installing bird netting or barriers can help. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Measure the area that needs protection: Whether it’s your boat deck or sails, determining the size of your coverage area will help you choose the appropriate netting size.
  2. Prepare the area for installation: Clear any debris, tighten any loose fittings, and ensure that there are no sharp edges that could harm the birds or damage the netting.
  3. Install support structures (if necessary): You may need to install posts or frames to suspend the bird netting over your boat.
  4. Attach bird netting: Securely attach the netting to your supporting structures while ensuring that no gaps exist for birds to fly in.

Additionally, consider using visual repellents like reflective tape, scarecrows, and bright colors to deter pesky birds from landing on your boat.

Don’t let pesky birds ruin your time on the water. Install bird netting or barriers and keep them at bay!

Give those pesky birds a jolt with shock tracks, because nothing says “get off my boat” like a mild electric shock.

Using Shock Tracks or Strips

Small electric shocks are an effective deterrent for birds, preventing them from landing or roosting on boats. Shock tracks or strips can be installed on the boat’s surface in strategic locations to effectively deter the birds.

  • Shock tracks or strips are mild electric currents that are transmitted through special conductive strips, strategically placed around a vessel.
  • The electrical current does not harm the birds but merely gives them an unpleasant shock upon contact.
  • This method is a humane and safe way to keep birds away without causing any physical harm to them.
  • Additionally, shock tracks or strips can be installed in various lengths and widths to suit different types of vessels and bird species.

It is important to note that while shock tracks or strips may be effective, they should not be seen as a standalone solution. Combining this method with other techniques like visual deterrents or bird repellents will increase the chances of success in keeping birds off your boat.

True History: Shock track technology has been used for many years in commercial aviation to keep wildlife off airport runways. This method is now being adopted by individuals and boat owners as an eco-friendly approach in managing avian nuisance.

Prevention is key, but if birds still find their way back, these maintenance tips can make your boat less appealing than a seagull’s dumpster dive.

Maintenance Tips to Keep Birds from Returning

Regularly Cleaning and Disinfecting the Boat

  1. Remove all debris, including feathers, droppings, and nesting materials.
  2. Use a high-pressure washer to rinse off any remaining debris thoroughly.
  3. Clean all surfaces with a solution consisting of equal parts water and vinegar or bleach. Scrubbing with a stiff-bristled brush may help remove any stubborn stains.
  4. Rinse all surfaces thoroughly with clean water and allow them to dry completely before using them again.

Pro Tip:

Properly Storing Food and Trash

Strategizing the storage of edibles and rubbish is imperative to bird repellent measures. Here’s how you can ensure that food and waste disposal does not beckon avian attention:

  1. Store food in airtight containers
  2. Dispose of leftovers promptly in sealed trash cans
  3. Consider investing in bird-proof garbage bins or dumpsters

Additionally, keeping bird feeders clean and away from any entry points would be the cherry on top.

It’s worth noting that most birds are inclined towards easy access; thus infrequent cleaning may attract them back.

A pigeon once made a habit of pecking at uncovered trash bags outside Tom’s café until he replaced them with sturdy containers with fitted lids. Since then, the winged intruder has been thwarted from feasting on human scraps.

If birds can’t find a way in, they’ll have to find somewhere else to poop.

Sealing Entry Points or Openings

Detecting and Covering Up Access Points to Keep Birds Away

To prevent birds from fulfilling their natural inclination to return to familiar places, it is crucial to seal up potential entry points effectively. Here are four essential steps you should follow when sealing entry points or openings:

  1. Identify any cracks, gaps, or holes that could become accessible bird entrances.
  2. Determine the appropriate materials needed for the specific type of access point identified.
  3. Fill gaps with weather-stripping or caulking, including vents and pipes.
  4. Use wire mesh or bird netting to cover larger openings.

Remember that while some birds may seek new entryways after old ones have been blocked off, consistent vigilance and maintenance will help keep them away.

In addition, be mindful of areas such as roof lines and gutters where debris can accumulate over time. Blocked gutter systems can create water leaks leading to open areas around your vents. Regular cleaning of these parts can significantly minimize opportunities for birds around your property.

Pro Tip: Sealant should be used after assessing how easily birds chew through the substance selected. Seek professional opinion if unsure about what product to use.

Remember, the key to preventing birds from returning is to make your home less like a resort and more like a Motel 6.


To wrap up, deterring birds from landing on your boat is vital to maintain the vessel’s cleanliness and keep it visually appealing. While bird droppings can corrode surfaces, bird nests can also be a potential fire hazard.

Using visual or sound repellents such as reflective tape, shiny objects or air horns can effectively keep birds away from your boat without harming them. Installing netting or spikes on specific areas where birds tend to perch or nest is another long-term solution to deter them.

Aside from these commonly known methods, it’s essential to avoid feeding birds near your boat. Feeding them creates attachment and habituation, making it difficult to discourage them in the future. Regular cleaning of your boat after usage is also a preventive measure in keeping the area unattractive for birds.

In summary, by employing certain non-lethal techniques and good practices in cleanliness, you can successfully protect your boat from becoming a habitat for unwanted avian visitors.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why do birds keep landing on my boat?

Birds are attracted to boats because they offer a safe place to perch, rest, or find food. Boats also provide a vantage point for birds to survey the water for potential prey.

2. What are some effective ways to keep birds off my boat?

You can prevent birds from landing on your boat by using visual and audio deterrents such as reflective tape, scarecrows, or owl decoys. Another method is to use physical barriers such as netting or spikes.

3. Is it safe to use bird repellents or poisons on my boat?

No, it is not safe to use bird repellents or poisons on your boat. These chemicals can harm birds and other wildlife and can contaminate the water around your boat.

4. How often should I clean my boat to remove bird droppings?

You should clean your boat regularly to remove bird droppings as they can be corrosive and damage your boat’s exterior. It is recommended to clean your boat at least once a week during the boating season.

5. Can birds cause any other damage to my boat?

Besides bird droppings, birds can also damage your boat’s electronic equipment by building nests or roosting on antennas. They can also chew on wiring, causing electrical issues. In addition, birds can also scratch or chip your boat’s paint or gelcoat with their beaks and talons.

6. Are there any laws or regulations regarding bird control on boats?

Yes, there are laws and regulations regarding bird control on boats. Some frequently used bird control methods, such as shooting or trapping birds, may be illegal in your area. It is important to check with local authorities or wildlife agencies before attempting to control birds on your boat.

Julian Goldie - Owner of

Julian Goldie

I'm a bird enthusiast and creator of Chipper Birds, a blog sharing my experience caring for birds. I've traveled the world bird watching and I'm committed to helping others with bird care. Contact me at [email protected] for assistance.