Are the pesky gulls using your boat as their public bathroom or hangout place? The reason is that the canvas materials, mast, railings, and radars of your boat are perfect spots for perching. It’s docked right on the water where many seabirds are looking for a place to rest. The end result would be cleaning gross droppings on the mast and other fabric materials. And for your information, it’s not as easy as wiping mud off the surface. Scaring birds away from boat areas is best done to avoid this scenario from happening.
You have to accept that bird invasion on marine vessels is quite a normal thing. Aside from gulls, blackbirds, crows, ospreys, and the notorious pigeons are going to perch on it at least once a day. You’re lucky if they won’t poop, but most of the time, they do.
If there are already droppings on your end, take the diligence to have it cleaned first before following the tips and using the products I’m going to suggest here.
Before anything else…
Consider waxing your boat
It’s not that waxing will stop the fowls from landing on your boat. This added layer of protection will stop the droppings from seeping into the metal surfaces of the vessel. Such thing will prevent corrosion and protect your boat from the damaging effects of ultraviolet rays, scratches, and saltwater. It will also be easier to remove droppings when you have a waxed boat.
Tips to keep the birds away
1. Place a crouching cat on board
Cats are direct enemies of birds. The furballs are natural hunters and the sight of a feathery being ignites their stealth skills of scaring birds away from boat. If your vessel is plagued with pesky birds, you can utilize the cat tactic. It’s not that you’re going to let the cat stay on your boat for the whole day. You’re going to purchase a spot-on model of a cat on a crouching position ready to snipe the birds in mid-air.
A cat deterrent decoy like the one from Bird B Gone is an effective strategy to drive the seagulls away. The resemblance isn’t uncanny but it’s enough to scare the hell out of the feral birds. The cat decoy has a furry coat with whiskers and a raised tail to denote more threat. This Bird B Gone cat has circular yellow eyes and an open-mouth that sports sharp-looking teeth. It’s UV-resistant too!
2. Install microfilament strings on the mast
Of course, the cat decoy works for the onboard space. Some birds can still ignore the decoy and stay within the mast and spreaders. They will poop and perch and even an actual cat can’t stop them because of the height. Also, the beams of the mast are just perfect to roost on with the view of the surroundings and any incoming predator. So how can you stop this from happening?
Install microfilament strings to start scaring birds away from boat. By making the space here unavailable for potential landing, you basically stop the birds from visiting your boat. You can install the strings in a zigzag pattern to remove enough space for perching. Through this, the birds can’t spread their wings or stay on your boat.
If you don’t have the microfilament type, any string will do as long as it can withstand the pecking and continuous exposure to outdoor elements.
3. Let scare tapes flapping
Scare tapes had already proven its efficiency in household use. If you have a full roll, you can put some on your boat’s railings, spreaders, radar, and other parts. This will keep flapping in the air and it also reflects the light that it gets struck with. Birds have more sensitive eyesight and what we see is just a mild version of what is registered on their vision.
Any shiny streamers or surfaces will do here but if you want to make the solution easy, buy one of DE-BIRD Scare Tape Bird Repellent. This is a 150-ft. roll that you can use for years to guard your boat. Just let the other end flapping in the air and you’ll be scaring birds away from boat. Aside from the shiny effect, the tape also produces a metallic clatter that becomes scarier for any birds trying to perch.
4. Reflective mirrors are useful
Just in case you don’t want strips of scare tapes on your boat, you can resort to reflective apparatus like mirrors or spiral rods. The light reflected on it will work the same way as the scare tape but without the large movement. Anything that directly reflects light is annoying to birds.
Take the HOMESCAPE CREATIONS spiral rods for example. These shiny decors reflect light and swings in the air as they rotate. Each piece of the set of 6 is 15 inches long and works for pigeons, woodpeckers, sparrows, and other birds. You can hang this on the railings or spreaders of your boat using the hooks in the package. Just secure it so even strong winds won’t take it off.
If you want a less conspicuous choice way of scaring birds away from boat, get the repellent owl discs from the same brand. It can be hooked and tied on your boat and have the same thing blinding effect to birds.
5. Use squirt guns as a defense
Having a motion-sensor water blaster on your boat is probably the best shot you have to drive these fowls away. But like what I said, this won’t stop them from staying on your mast beams, but at least, the space for people would be kept clean in an instant.
One of the best options is the Hoont Outdoor Jet Blaster for Animals. This has a built-in motion sensor that will engage the moment it detects a movement in as far as 30 meters away. Birds will be startled and the spraying would take place for five seconds, enough to drive the gulls or pigeons away. Just mount this safely into your boat and a water source to stop the birds on their tracks.
The water blaster won’t kill animals in the process and it will just send the birds flying and the critters scurrying. This one is typically used in gardens but it will also serve its purpose of scaring birds away from boat.
6. Patrol with a sheepdog
If the gulls are too invasive and they hang out on your boat every day, it’s time to take your sheepdog for a walk. Let the furry one roam your boat and chase the gulls away. Do this repeatedly and you’ll observe a massive decline in the number of birds pestering your docked vessel.
A group of researchers had conducted a study about the efficiency of using sheepdogs to discourage birds from invading the coastlines. They let a sheepdog walk the 200-meter beach stretch with its handler. The result is a staggering 99% decline in the presence of seagulls. Doing this in the peak hours of perching during early morning and evening is seen to be the best strategy.
The sheepdog doesn’t need to chase the birds nor kill them. Its mere presence is enough to send the fowls away. Just do this on your boat on the said times of the day and you can see the uncanny result.
7. Keep your boat netted
So you don’t have a sheepdog around and the visuals aren’t scaring birds away from boat. If that’s the case, you better resort to keeping a net draped all over the exposed part of your boat. A dinghy without a mast on it is easy to wrap with a net or mesh. But for those with a towering spreader, only the lower part would be netted. You have to keep those microfilament strings in place.
Some boat owners would use a thick tarpaulin in securing their boats. It’s a good choice but not breathable.
The BeGrit Sunblock Resistant Net is a good choice. It’s originally used for patios and lawns but the tailored edges and grommets also make it a good choice for boats. Just get some strings and tie it across your boat. This way, you can start scaring birds away from boat together with their droppings.
8. Let the sounds rolling
To level up the security of your boat, you can install an ultrasonic device that will emit irritating sounds. This will drive the birds away from your boat as well as other critters. In case you don’t have the money for this, you can resort to cassette tapes with distress sounds of birds and predators. This can work for some birds but not for all.
If you want a higher chance of driving the pesky birds away, mount a Broox Solar Ultrasonic device on your boat. This has pre-programmed sounds of predator calls and distressed birds. You can program it to have the sound of distressed seagulls in it. Just connect it to the 110V plug, probably the battery available on your boat.
The sound of this Bird B Gone device can cover as much as five acres and can last under intense UV rays.
9. Zap them mildly
Another strategy that boat owners utilize is using a mild zapper to give the birds a bit of shock when they try to land on the boat. Usually, bird zappers are made of flat strips that look like a sticky tape. It comes with two strips of a conductor in it where the mild electricity will flow. Putting this on the spreaders and anywhere the gulls tend to perch will give them the lesson they deserve. It won’t kill them but you definitely will send the message to the birds. Scaring birds away from boat is quite easy with this product.
One great kit for this that you’ll get from the market is the Shock Tape. This is a 10-meter roll lined with strips of aluminum wires connected to a small, rechargeable power source. You can place this anywhere since the material is suited for all weathers. If the 10 meters is too much for your boat, put some on the ledge your roof.
10. Color it red
There’s no solid science to prove this technique, but one man who’s plagued by the pesky gulls has some substantial evidence to back this up. Ian Watson, a resident and community councilor in Arbroath, U.K. has a withstanding problem about seagulls on his roof. Arbroath is a community near the coastlines of the North Sea.
Watson threw leftovers of his daughter’s birthday cake but he was curious as to why the ravenous gulls won’t touch it. The cake is in crimson red and to confirm his assumptions, he used red panels on his roof. No gulls spotted. The shade is with that of shiny, Manchester United uniform.
However, this technique has its limits. Only seagulls and crows tend to back off while the likes of blackbirds will ignore it. It’s better to pair it with another method for the best results.
11. Use mechanical propellers
A mechanical spider is sometimes used to drive away birds due to its bouncy leg wires. But if you want more movement for a guaranteed scare, use a propeller-like scare. Most of these kinds are moving through the breeze while others are battery powered to continuously scare the fowls.
You can get the Bird B Gone Spider Propeller for this task. This has bouncing thin steel arms with a spinning base that will move in a light breeze. The mechanical spider is durable even on strong winds. Put it on top of your boat awning and experience fewer gulls.
Scaring birds away from boat is a task that can be made easier with the use of some commercial products. The options I listed here are all effective and you can get it for a small price. The good thing here is that some of the methods are free to utilize. What do you think?