How to Keep Seagulls Off Your Boat: Top 10 Tips

Although most people believe that pigeons are the rats of the air, in the boating sphere, seagulls are awarded that infamous title. The reason is simple -- it’s because they act like rats. These intrusive birds will poop on anything and everything. And if you’ve got a boat lift installed at home, they’ll take up residence there, too.

Seagulls will invade your boat, drop their poop everywhere, and smear your pristine vessel with all the germs, microbes, and contaminants you can think of, and then some. So it’s only natural that you might be looking for ways on how to keep seagulls off your boat. Fortunately, we might have some answers.

Tips on How to Keep Seagulls Away

1. Scaregull Humane Seagull and Bird Scarer

scaregull humane seagull and bird scarer

This nifty device features two propellers that extend sideways from its central pivot. It works without the need for a power source or battery, so you can install it without having to worry about wires and other technical details.

The device mounts on any solid part of your boat and moves in the wind, acting as a deterrent for seagulls and other kinds of birds. It will work even with a gentle breeze, so you can be sure the scarer will operate even when you leave your boat unattended.

What’s best about it is that it doesn’t hurt any birds. It quite literally just scares them off. Bigger pontoon boats install a couple of these at opposite areas of their boat to provide more protection on all fronts.

2. Bird B Gone Spinning Spider Bird Deterrent

bird b gone spinning spider bird deterrent

This one operates kind of the same way as the previous gadget. The Bird B Gone Spinning Spider Bird Deterrent doesn’t require any sort of battery or power source, and simply bops along to the movement of your boat.

The spindly little legs and their erratic movement deter all sorts of birds including seagulls. They’re also available in a range of sizes so you can get one that’s a perfect fit for your boat size.

The spider legs can screw off from the base, allowing easy storage in case you don’t need it in place. And because the design uses sturdy, UV-resistant material, you can be sure this thing will stay intact and functional for years down the line.

3. Seagull Stopper Standard Bird Deterrent for Canopies

seagull stopper standard bird deterrent for canopies

Unless you’ve got the time and motivation to keep cleaning your boat lift canopy, then you might want to consider installing the Seagull Stopper. This clever design uses magnetic attachments that make installation just that much easier.

The framework sits on your canopy and creates a barrier between the birds and the canopy material itself. And how exactly does it work? Well, seagulls have webbed feet. The the frame’s sleek tubes make it impossible for them to rest or perch on your canopy so they’ll have to look for a new place to hang out.

4. Bird B Gone RFLT Reflect-a-Bird Deterrent

bird b gone rflt reflect a bird deterrent

If aesthetics are a big deal for you and you don’t want a spindly spider contraption sitting on your pontoon, then the Bird B Gone RFLT Reflect-a-Bird Deterrent might be a better choice. This design looks more like fancy satellite dish and uses more than just funky movement to deter your neighborhood seagull.

The Reflect-a-Bird contraption uses a super polished chrome finish that reflects light and produces a blinding glare that most birds are known to dislike. It also moves in the wind, making it a beacon of sensory discomfort for seagulls looking for a place to terrorize a local boat owner.

5. Chephon Upgraded Bird Scare Disc Set

chephon upgraded bird scare disc set

Another interesting design, this set of hanging discs can add a quirky aesthetic to your boat interiors. The discs hang from set of delicate loops that hold them together in a line. Up top, the design touts a simple hook that you can use to hang the disks from your bimini top or other areas on your boat.

What’s nice about the Chephon Upgraded Bird Scare Discs is that they look more decorative than functional, so you don’t really have to worry about messing up your boat’s look by putting these in place.

6. Owl Ornaments

owl ornaments

There are a bunch of boating enthusiasts that claim seagulls are afraid of owls because their birds of pray. That’s why some boat owners have found that having an owl ornament on display on their boat might actually be a good way to keep seagulls away.

Sure, no one really wants to decorate with a tacky owl ornament. But if it might reduce the chances of having seagulls mess up your boat, then it’s definitely worth a shot. Just make sure you keep it somewhere where its daunting, lemon-sized eyes can get the job done.

There are lots of different owl ornaments on the market, but this one seems to be the perfect size. Plus, since its designed for the outdoors, you can be sure that it will stand against the typical damages associated with water exposure and UV rays.

7. BRITENWAY Bird Deterrent Reflective Scare Tape

britenway bird deterrent reflective scare tape

Another quirky way to keep those seagulls at bay would be scare tape. Just like the other reflective choices on the list, this tape touts disco-ball level shine that most birds tend to dislike.

What’s nice about tape is that you can tie it virtually anywhere on your boat, and it even improves your visibility in certain conditions. The ultra strong and sturdy tape was developed with the outdoors in mind, so you won’t have to think about the stuff deteriorating over time.

8. Bird-X BirdxPeller Pro Electronic Bird Repeller

And now we step into high-tech territory. The Bird-X BirdxPeller Pro Electronic Bird Repeller is exactly what it sound like -- it’s a device that emits noise to keep birds away. This specific model was designed for pigeons, starlings, sparrows, and gulls.

The device emits predator calls that keep seagulls away. The powerful noise can be heard up to an acre away depending on the noise in the area. Keep in mind though that it isn’t exactly waterproof, so you may want to consider keeping it properly concealed during use to prevent water from causing any damage.

9. Bird-X Bird Repellent Gel

bird x bird repellent gel

Now if you’re desperate for a solution and you don’t mind gelling up your boat just to get rid of those birds, then the Bird-X Bird Repellent Gel might be an option. This sticky stuff can slather on a variety of surfaces and make it uncomfortable for seagulls to take residence.

While the stuff is mainly recommended for residential use, some boat owners have found it to be a suitable choice especially if you’re docking your boat for a long time and you want to keep your boat seagull poop-free after your hiatus.

10. Good Ol’ Fido

Sometimes, the best repellent is sitting right in your living room. If you want to keep birds from pestering your boat, your dock, or your local marina, you can take ol’ Fido with you. Seagulls typically don’t like dogs very much and they’ll do what they can to steer clear of a mutt.

Dogs are also particularly keen when it comes to intruders like birds. Even friendly ones will serve their purpose by trying to get up close to a gull to find out what it is and what it’s doing. So even if your dog isn’t necessarily guard dog material, you can be sure it’ll work just fine.

If you don’t have a pup at home, then a cat might be able to do the same thing. Keep in mind though that keeping a feline on board requires significantly different procedures than a dog. See to it that you brush up on how to go boating with a cat to keep your feline safe and comfortable throughout the entire trip.

Why Should You Keep Seagulls Away?

always keep seagulls away from your boat

Somewhere down the line, you’ll find that the process of keeping seagulls off of your boat might start to feel like an episode of Tom & Jerry. That old cat and mouse dynamic gets old real quick, and you might start pulling quirkier and quirkier techniques just to get the job done.

But while it might call for some effort (and although some of these solutions might cramp your boat’s style), there are some pretty serious reasons why it’s important to practice effective seagull repellent techniques. Here are a few of them:

They Carry Loads of Disease

They’re not called rats of the air for nothing. When seagulls aren’t pestering boat owners at the dock, they’re scavenging through garbage cans and other unsanitary areas. They’re hunters by nature, but they don’t really mind grabbing a scavenging opportunity whenever they can, especially if it guarantees a full stomach.

Unfortunately, that means that when a gull lands on your boat, it’s probably been to some pretty questionable places first. And it doesn’t even matter if you’ve got kids or older adults on board - no one should be exposed to the kind of germs and microbes that seagulls bring.

They’re filthy and unsanitary, and they can make your boat a breeding ground for bacteria. The same goes for the waste they so generously leave behind. And because they’re there for the food, you can expect any food or drink they come into contact with to become absolutely unsafe for consumption.

They’re Incredibly Annoying

You know how frustrating it can be to have an uninvited guest force their way into your home. In the same way, gulls can be incredibly intrusive, making their way to the most intimate parts of your boat like nobody’s business. Of course, you can always just wave your hands at them to make them go away. But did you know studies have found seagulls actually study human behavior?

It’s true. Researchers have discovered that gulls are actually smart enough to pick out patterns of behavior in humans. So when they start to notice that your angry arm waving is nothing more than a ruse, they’re likely to keep coming back.

At some point, they might not even feel threatened by you anymore, so they’ll stick around and even assert their aggression against you if you try to get them to leave. That’s why it’s incredibly important to implement the right tactics, especially if you don’t want them to overtake your boat.

They Can Cause Serious Damage to Your Boat and Equipment

Have you seen a boat lift canopy that’s infested with seagulls? It happens. These birds tend to flock together in large groups, and when one of them finds a suitable place to hang, you can expect several others to follow suit. And because boat lift canopies are nice and spacious, they make the ideal breeding ground for these annoying pests.

A single seagull might not weigh a lot, but a whole flock of these birds can place serious weight on your boat and equipment. For boat lift canopies, seagulls can apply significant heft on the framework and even cause damage to the poles that hold the canopy in place.

Other than that, seagull poop can be crazy difficult to remove. Their waste can stain seats and bimini tops, requiring intense routine cleaning. And while you might be able to remove these stains with the right cleaners, it’s important to keep in mind that excessive cleaning can wear away the material and cause deterioration over time.

That said, the best solution is always to prevent these pestering birds from causing damage in the first place. The right repellent techniques should help keep them off of your boat and equipment and keep your pontoon comfortable and clean for longer.

Bye Bye, Birdie

No doubt, seagulls can be a major problem not just because they’re annoying but also because of the damage they can cause. On the upside, there are a bunch of ways on how to keep seagulls off your boat. So see to it that you try some of these tips to keep your boat bird-free even while you’re away and reduce the risk of all sorts of damage and headaches that seagulls can bring.