How to Find the Right Deterrents for Birds on Boats

Posted by Bird Barrier on Apr 11, 2022 11:00:00 AM

Seagulls standing on a boat

As a bird control specialist, setting up deterrents for large buildings, billboards, and commercial spaces is probably the work you're most accustomed to. Providing effective pest bird control for a residential boat offers a different set of challenges. Pest birds on boats can be a boat owner's worst nightmare, quickly destroying expensive fabrics and essential features of the vessel. Boats are typically docked right next to the water, where seabirds are looking for a place to rest. Also, canvas materials, masts, railings, and radars offer perfect spots for perching. Due to the acidic, corrosive nature of bird droppings, birds have the capability to destroy materials like fiberglass and canvas.

Unfortunately, finding the right deterrents for these surfaces can be difficult. A boat isn't an immobile structure with large amounts of space. So some of the most effective deterrents used on large buildings are rendered unusable on a boat. Luckily, there are effective deterrents you can successfully apply to boats. 

Addressing the Challenges of Birds on Boats

There are a variety of reasons that boats are an attractive target for pest birds and present a new challenge for pest control specialists. For example, boats can go for several days (or even weeks or months) without use. They also have close proximity to the water. So it makes sense that they are an attractive landmark for seabirds like seagulls and sandpipers. However, the fact that boats aren't truly landmarks makes them more difficult to protect. 

These are a few of the challenges you'll need to address when trying to keep birds off boats for your customers:

  • • Mobility: Boat owners will have to remove most deterrents before using the boat.
  • Space constrictions: Any permanent structure takes up essential space. This is a problem when every inch of real estate is important on a boat.
  • • Attachments: Many of the boat surfaces damaged by birds are soft surfaces, which can make attaching deterrents a challenge.
  • • Off-Season Vacancy: When boats go for several months without use in a vacation area or near a body of water, birds can make it their home.

Visual Deterrents vs. Physical Deterrents for Birds on Boats

Pelicans crowding around the edge of a boat

Bird pressure is almost always the determining factor when deciding whether to use visual or physical (exclusionary) deterrents. The term "bird pressure" describes how dedicated pest birds become to a specific area. On a boat, heavy bird pressure usually means the area is a dedicated roosting spot. Birds may choose to spend the night frequently. Light pressure generally describes birds taking advantage of a temporary situation where they have access to a good view, a spot to rest, or food and water. 

Visual deterrents work best only in light pressure areas. But there may be some products that will be suitable for boats in medium pressure environments, too. Consider how these popular products could be effective in keeping pest birds off a boat:

Visual Deterrents

Visual deterrents don't physically stop birds from landing on a boat's vulnerable surfaces. But they can be quite effective at frightening birds away. These are some of the most popular visual deterrents for boat owners:

  • Daddi Long Legs: By far one of the most popular products for boats, this spider-like deterrent is designed for flat open spaces. It includes the option to purchase bases designed for boats that include a railing mount, boat base, and sandbag base. These bases make it possible to temporarily install the Daddi Long Legs on Bimini tops and canvas covers, as well as boat rails and floors, with the use of bungee cords or other external devices.
  • Eagle Eye: The Eagle Eye uses reflection to scare birds by reflecting direct sunlight when the pyramid rotates. The effect is like flashes of light that are emitted in a threatening pattern. When attached to a moored boat, this can be an effective deterrent for birds in light pressure situations.
  • Intimidator: The Intimidator is hung in a way that uses motion and bright flashing to scare away birds. Professionals typically use it in light pressure areas. It moves erratically in the wind and glows in the dark. However, larger infestations will require multiple Intimidators.
  • Flash Tape or Reflective Tape: These visual deterrents are generally used for light pressure areas or in tandem with other products. The highly reflective tape reflects sunlight and makes a humming noise when twisted in the breeze.

Physical Deterrents

Exclusionary products are typically the top choice for heavy bird pressure environments, but adapting them to boats can be difficult. For instance, the permanent installation of bird spikes isn't at all practical for a boat. Also, the structure of the vessel makes netting an unlikely choice. Still, there are certain physical deterrents that are just the solution for specific areas and situations when addressing pest birds on boats. These options include:

  • Optical Gel: While not optimal for all areas on the boat, Optical Gel can be effectively used to secure high points on your boat like the radar and antenna. These small dishes are easily attached and repel birds by assaulting their sense of sight, smell, and touch.
  • Birdwire: For boats that get a lot of use, bird wire is one of the only permanent deterrents that can be used in a practical way to protect railings. The wire stays elevated a few inches to deter birds. So the rail will remain completely usable while the boat is in motion or moored.
  • • StealthNet: While netting isn't a practical solution for most boats, it can be very effective in securing a boathouse or other buildings where boats are stored. 

Dealing with pest birds on boats can be extremely challenging for bird control specialists who have never encountered the situation before. However, the tight methods and tools make it possible. To learn more about how to successfully deal with birds on boats and other structures, get in touch with the bird control specialists at Bird Barrier. We can help you determine the most effective bird deterrents for your most complicated environments.

About Bird Barrier

Bird Barrier is a leader in innovative technology designed to prevent birds from landing, roosting or nesting. We specialize in urban bird control to remove birds humanely and effectively. Our website,, hosts a wealth of content to help people understand and identify bird control solutions for various problems with pest birds. Please contact us if you need help with a bird related problem. You may also benefit from our free guide, Bird Deterrents: The Complete Guide.

Free Guide: Bird Deterrents - The Complete Guide

Topics/Tags/Categories: Bird Deterrents, Bird Control Professionals, Humane bird control, outdoor bird control, sea gulls

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