How to Keep Birds off Your Boat

Seabird droppings are one of the less pleasant aspects of boat ownership, but it’s something every sailor has to deal with. Gulls love the high-up perches provided by your mast and spreaders, where they can gather en masse to rest and eat. Unfortunately for your poor boat, this means that everything they leave behind – poop, fish entrails and more – can wind up encrusted on your boat’s paintwork, deck, and canvas.

Returning to your boat and finding it smeared with droppings doesn’t just mean hours of cleaning; it may even cause lasting damage to the canvas and bodywork of your vessel. Seabird droppings are notoriously difficult to clean off and, if left awhile, can eventually bleach textiles, leaving unsightly white stains.

Mess aside, seabird poop has also been found to harbor large numbers of potentially dangerous bacteria, such as E.coli. With all the risks and inconveniences associated with gull droppings, the best way to protect your boat is to make sure birds don’t land there in the first place.

Deterring seagulls is easier than you might think, and the methods of doing so are often low maintenance and easy to implement. But which methods and devices are most effective for keeping birds off your boat?

How can you keep birds off your boat?


String up some fishing line

One easy way to stop birds from perching on the mast and spreaders of your boat is to string a monofilament fishing line a few inches above them. Birds won’t want to land on the wobbly, unstable line and will instead fly off to perch elsewhere, sparing your boat from aerial attack. This is one of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to keep birds off your boat, and many people report that this method is highly effective.

Use bird netting

Bird netting is another simple yet effective tool for keeping birds off your boat. All you have to do is drape the netting over your boat before you leave to make sure it’s still dropping-free when you return! Like fishing line, netting creates an unstable surface which birds are unlikely to land on. This means they’ll pass right on by your boat, leaving everything ship-shape for when you return.

Install items that move or sway

Birds will often perch on high parts of your boat, where they can poop-bomb your deck from above. Installing items on your boat that move or sway with the wind and waves can confuse birds, preventing them from landing nearby. By placing swaying items on high points of your boat, you can effectively deter seabirds from settling there.

Place reflective items around your boat

Reflective items are a well-established method of deterring birds, and many people string CDs up around their garden to keep feathery menaces at bay.

The flash of light from these items confuses incoming birds, meaning they are unlikely to land nearby.

The same principle works just as well to scare seagulls off your boat and can be a great low-maintenance solution to your bird-based woes. You needn’t use CDs, either; there is a wide range of attractively-designed reflective devices on the market that can keep your boat beautifully bird-free.

Bird deterrent devices

There is a wide range of bird deterrent devices designed specifically to keep your boat fowl-free, but which should you opt for? Anti-bird devices for boats come in a wide range of different designs!

The bird spider

As the name suggests, a bird spider is a seagull deterrent with long, spreading metal legs that resembles a spider. When put in place on your boat, the ‘legs’ of the bird spider move with the motion of the waves and wind, creating a visual disturbance that confuses birds as they come into land. This can effectively deter birds from landing on your boat and is inexpensive and very easy to set up.

Bird spikes

What’s the easiest way to stop birds from landing on your boat? By making sure they have nowhere to land! Bird spikes are very easy to install on your boat and create an uneven surface that makes it impossible for birds to land.

These durable spikes are weather resistant and suitable for year-round use. Bird spikes are a highly effective, long-term solution for keeping birds away from your boat.

The decoy cat

One of the simplest ways to keep birds off your boat is to equip it with a gull-repelling decoy cat. These stuffed animals work in exactly the same way as scarecrows; if a bird sees a potential threat on board, it won’t attempt to land! A decoy cat can be secured to your boat to stand guard while you’re away and can be easily dissembled and stored once you return. This method reportedly works well for seagulls, so it’s perfect for boat owners, though other bird species may not be so easily fooled.


Keeping birds away from your boat is a top priority for anyone who is over dealing with the sticky mess (and stains) left behind by gull droppings. Fortunately, there are several simple methods to choose from when it comes to repelling birds! There is a wide range of anti-bird devices for boats to choose from, or you can opt for a simple home remedy, such as stringing up monofilament fishing line to prevent birds from landing.

Many of these solutions require one-off installation and can be used year-round, or are very simple to set up, disassemble and store. Pick any one of the above methods for scaring seagulls away from your boat so you can get back to enjoying a poop-free deck!

Submit a comment

Your email address will not be published*