Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ways To Protect Your Boat from Birds

Introduction by William L. Gills aka Bos'n Bill

Like most of us who keep our boats in the water you can be afflicted with occasional or frequent prickly affronts from sea birds, particularly scavengers like seagulls that love to perch on your vessel, unabashedly leaving behind a calling card of pasty or dried up white bird dung.

You can't take it personally, they don't know any better (or do they?).  At any rate, they just don't care and you are the one's that's left to clean up their mess, now your mess. I've tried snakes and owls as deterrents and they work for about a week until the culprits realize they're not moving, so no cause for concern, only to return again to their menacing habits.

What can you do about it, how do you prevent them from assaulting the boat you try so hard to keep shipshape and clean?  Well, I found some alternatives to snakes and owls.  You may find these products can help you in your campaign against the ravages of birds.   

Article by Alex A. Kecskes and Meredith Walako

If you're a boat owner or skipper, you know about pest birds. They're the seagulls and cormorants that perch and poop all over masts, spreaders and those beautiful navy blue canvas covers. 

As many boat owners have painfully learned, pest birds create far more than a visual nuisance. The high concentration of uric acid—higher in sea birds—can discolor paint, permanently stain canvases and eventually erode steel. In addition to being pests, these birds can create an inherent health risk. The bacteria and parasites that live and grow in bird droppings can carry and transmit any of 60 known diseases.

The bottom line: controlling pest birds and keeping them at bay is a wise investment in time and money. But where to start?

Fortunately, there are a number of effective products to keep pest birds away from boats or marinas. This includes an entire family of bird spikes. Ideal for pigeons, gulls and other large birds, the strong, rigid spikes are often made of unbreakable polycarbonate. Other products in this category have marine grade stainless steel spikes . Both types will discourage pest birds from landing on radar antennas, masts, ledges, or other flat surfaces. Just as effective are bird spiders. Their spider arms move with the breeze, keeping birds from landing. Most are sturdy and stable, come in a variety of diameters, are easy to install and usually maintenance free. Spiders are particularly useful for canvas boat covers, biminis, radar antennas and other similar areas.
Bird Spikes

Bird Spider

If you're on a budget (who isn't in this economy), you can opt for inexpensive low-tech visual deterrents. Things like iridescent reflective foil or flash tape, which is easily strung around a boat or turned into pennants around a marina. Inflatable balloons are another economical visual scare device. Ideal for masts, radar arches, antennas and overhangs,  their lifelike reflective predator eyes and markings drive birds away by creating an “Optical Distraction Zone.”
Flash Tape
Another effective bird deterrent is the bird repeller,  a solar powered propeller that uses continuous motion to prevent large pest birds such as seagulls from landing.  These scare-eye diverters are easy to hang in problem areas. Opt for repellers that have iridescent foil eyes to scare birds by day and glow-in-the-dark backsides to keep them away at night. One tip: since most birds like to land on the high points of a vessel, mount these bird control devices as high as possible. Birds are always on the lookout for predators, food sources, and stable landing perches, so reflective, flapping objects will discourage them from making your boat or marina their next perch or nesting place. 

Bird Repeller
All these bird control products are humane and will not harm animals, birds or humans. We share the waterfront with our feathered friends, but it doesn't mean we have to be responsible for their mess.  Taking small steps to bird proof your boat allows you to focus on your passion, boating!

About the Authors:  Meredith Walako works for Bird-B-Gone in southern California. She has worked with the company since 2001.  Her interests include birds, gardening, reading and writing. 
As a widely published writer/journalist, Alex A. Kecskes has written hundreds of articles and web content on a wide range topics. He also does marketing and advertising copy. 

William L. Gills aka Bos'n Bill is the author of the book, Lubber's Log published by Llumina Press; a boating primer and adventure story about a couples experiences in moving up to a bigger boat.  You can visit his website here


  1. It’s really well thought. I have read your blog you have posted nice information about a bird dropping. I think the pest control method is most effective ways for bird control.
    Bird netting

  2. I agree John. The other methods like owls and snakes don't see to work for very long. Bird control products seem to work best.

  3. To get obviate the assorted issues caused by pigeons, necessary steps have to be compelled to be taken for columbiform bird management.

    Pigeon Control | Nets n Screens