What keeps birds away from a boat?


Your boat is your off-shore oasis, but even if you take every precaution in cleaning and securing your boat after docking, you may have something to worry about: pest birds. There's no worse feeling than returning to your boat, ready to set sail, and being presented with a mess left behind by birds.

Not only are bird droppings unsightly, but they can also be incredibly difficult to remove once set. Additionally, opportunistic nuisance birds like gulls may even try to get into your stash of extra bait or decide your mast is the ideal area to roost.

Luckily, there are some tried and true ways to deter birds away from your boat, here are just a few:


For many years, decoys have been used to keep birds away. Of course, you won't need a full-fledged scarecrow on your boat to deter birds. Decoy cats are a popular option for deterring gulls from settling on your craft. These boat bird deterrent systems trigger the bird's natural fear because of its life-like crouching stance and ability to move in the wind.

You could also use a decoy like a large owl or hawk to deter smaller birds from landing on your rails or mast. Don't underestimate the bird's intelligence, Mother Nature Network explained that after time, most birds realise that a stationary decoy is fake. The key is getting a model that moves with the wind and changes its position often to keep pest birds away.

Covering your boat is the best way to prevent bird mess from ruining your interior surfaces.Covering your boat is the best way to prevent bird mess from ruining your interior surfaces.

Bird repellers

These bird boat deterrent systems utilise movement and a wide berth to keep birds from landing on your boat. While some are simply a two-pronged propeller, other systems - sometimes called bird spiders or daddy long legs - use multiple metal rods that move and bounce in the wind to deter birds. These systems can stick out 2 metres in all directions for 360-degree protection of your boat's surfaces.

As standalone systems, these deterrents are easy to instal and move around as needed and effectively prevent birds from landing on your boat.

Audio deterrents

If movement and decoys aren't working, you should pair them with an audio deterrent. Sciencing explained that birds can be scared away by a variety of noises like predator sounds, other birds and ultrasonic frequencies. There are many control products available to mariners that emit these noises, but if you don't want to annoy your surrounding boats an ultrasonic bird repeller may be best, as these devices produce frequencies undetectable to the human ear.


If you have a sailboat, a passing bird may see its mast as an ideal place for perching or roosting. Bird Proofing Guide recommended installing microfilament strings on your mast in a zigzag pattern to prevent birds from perching. If you leave your mast and stainless steel railings unprotected, birds will likely land and still make a mess on your boat so it's important to close these areas off to pests.

Brightly coloured bird scare tape that moves in the wind can also prevent them from landing on your rails.

Depending on your watercraft, a mixture of these deterrent methods is most likely ideal for keeping nuisance birds off your boat. Of course, it's always recommended that boat owners cover their craft when not in use or use a boat lift canopy to protect it from any passing bird overhead and invest in a good fabric cleaner in the event you do encounter a mess.

There's no way to ensure your craft won't be messed on by birds, but investing in the right bird deterrents for boats can make these instances few and far between. For more information on how to keep birds away from your boat, contact Hunts Marine today or browse through our covers to keep your boat pristine.

May 04, 2020 by Bryce Lowry
Tags: Tips