Critters on Board Your Boat? 7 Simple Tips You Should Know

Critters on Board Your Boat? 7 Simple Tips You Should Know

How do you keep those critters and rodents away from your beautiful boat? What are the secrets to keeping mice, other furry creatures, and bugs off of the vinyl and away from your boat motor? It is beneficial to take the time to clean up your garage or find a clean storage space for your boat and make a list of items to buy which will help protect your boat during the fall and winter months. 

Here's 7 Simple Tips to Keep Critters Out of Your Boat 

1. Store your boat inside in a clean area with a concrete floor.

The most effective way to keep critters away from your boat is to store your boat inside. By storing your boat indoors the vessel is better protected from mice and critters as well as all rodents that can chew through wires or shred the vinyl. Make sure to also keep the area around your boat clean and clutter free that way there will be absolutely nowhere to crawl and hide. 

2. Make sure the cover or cowling is fitted.

If you have an outboard motor, it is essential that the cover or cowling is fitted. Though the cowling should fit snugly day-to-day, if you have been winterizing your boat you may have removed it and not replaced it correctly. Any gaps left between the top and the base can be a welcome mat for mice looking for a temporary home. 

Making sure that the cowling is secured properly before storing your boat is a simple step that will act as your first line of defense against mice. It is highly recommended that you take the time to make sure it has been replaced properly.

3. Block the intake and exhaust ports with steel wool.

It is very important to plug all gaps and holes, such as pipes or the propeller shaft, around your boat to prevent animals from entering through any openings. 

You can purchase steel wool in any hardware store or as a last resort, you can just use wire dish scourers. You can also use a silicone sealant, expanding foam, or galvanized steel mesh to cover up potential entryways into your watercraft. Some people use copper wiring. It works in the say way because mice don't like chewing it. Stuff the steel wool in any holes where mice could enter your motor. Be sure to block the intake and exhaust ports, as these are favorite places for mice enter. Any gaps or nooks you can find should be stuffed with steel wool too. Mice can fit through incredibly tiny spaces so make sure to get all openings. 

4. Use Ultra Sonic Sound Waves. 

Ultrasonic sound devices are usually used for backyards to keep away the deer, but recently have been adapted to marine environments. The ultrasonic sounds are silent to the human ear, but range in decibels and are head by several types of animals. The high frequency emitters can reroute animals away from your boat. These devices come in both plug-in and battery powered models. Many of them also include a strobe light, which is an additional deterrent.

Keep in mind that if you already have a rodent problem in your boat, ultrasonic devices will not work immediately. It can take several weeks for a rodent to move locations. 

5. Use a strong-smelling material such as peppermint oil.

Peppermint oil is a deterrent to some animals. You can make your own peppermint repellent - combine around 25 ounces of water and about 75 drops of peppermint oil into a clean spray bottle. As a secondary alternative, you can use the leaves of a peppermint plant. Submerge the leaves in a bowl of water, soak up the water with rags or old socks, then rub the scented liquid all over the vinyl and around the boat. 

6. Use Irish Spring to Save the Day! 

Rodents DO NOT like Irish Spring or any heavily scented bar soap. It is beneficial to cut bars of Irish Spring into smaller pieces and spread the pieces around the interior of your boat. Not only do mice and rats dislike the strong smell of Irish Spring, bugs hate it as well. Bonus!!

7. Dryer Sheets work really well.

This is the same principle meaning as the peppermint oil or spray. Bugs and rodents don't like a powerful smells. Bounce dryer sheets work great! You can stick them between the seats and underneath the console. 

If you can stand the smell, another alternative would be Moth balls. Most mammals, insects and other creatures find the scent of Moth balls unbearable. They really do the trick!

(Remember to inspect your boat lines and dock ties and replace as needed. Boat lines and dock ties weather and weaken over time.)

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