The Pesky Problem of Dealing with Boat Pests

Boat Stationed on the RiverThe dog days of summer are behind us, and boat owners across New England are getting ready to say goodbye to their watercraft for the winter. Before you pack it up for the season and get cozy indoors where it’s nice and warm, remember that pests will be looking to do the same—and they may choose your boat as a place to make themselves comfortable. From prevention to resolution, here’s how you should be dealing with boat pests, now and year-round.

Common Pests Found in Boats

Same as with your house and your car, rodents and insects can make their way into your recreational watercraft any time of year and cause problems for boats, yachts, and ships of any size. And what tends to make boating so enjoyable for us humans are the same things that make the ideal environment for pests: moisture (from the water) and heat. Some of the most common pests found on boats are:

  • Ants and cockroaches
  • Mice and rats
  • Termites
  • Fleas and bed bugs

Preventing a Pest Problem on Your Boat

Some pests are merely annoying inconveniences, while others can be seriously destructive. Just as you would with your home or vehicle, there are several measures you can take in an effort to get ahead of any pest infestations before they occur.

Keep Your Boat Clean

In dealing with boat pests, the most proactive thing to do is keep your watercraft clean. This means cleaning up all drink spillage and food crumbs, disposing of trash properly, and eliminating odors. Make sure any food you keep on your boat is stored in sturdy, sealed containers, as rodents are known to gnaw through materials.

Winterize Your Boat Before Storing Away

First-time boat owners should especially take notice: properly winterizing your boat is key to maintenance in the colder months. More than just draining the engine and adding fuel stabilizer, this process should involve a deep cleaning and double checking that you’re not leaving any food or other items aboard which may attract pests. Additionally, if there are any cracks or crevices on your boat, be sure to seal those before storing it.

Use Ultrasonic Sound Devices and Other Deterrents

These devices emit ultrasonic sounds which can be heard by certain animals but not by humans. The sounds deter critters from whatever space you use the device in—be it your boat, home, backyard, or garden. Heavily scented items like dryer sheets, mothballs, and peppermint soap or oil can also be useful deterrents.

Damage Control & Cleanup: Dealing with Boat Pests After the Fact

Unfortunately, no pest prevention method is 100 percent guaranteed to be effective. If you do discover an infestation, droppings, or other signs of pests on your boat, you’ll want to tackle it as soon as possible before damage (or further damage) is done. Depending on the type of pest and severity of the issue, the solution may require traps, baits, pesticides, and poison. To proceed with caution, your safest bet is to call in an exterminator and get their professional opinion. Once the pests are gone, take immediate action to:

  • Clean up droppings left behind and contaminated food.
  • Replace any bins with holes.
  • Check all wiring for damage.
  • Follow the advice from exterminators and continue to implement the preventative measures discussed above to try and keep the pests away for good.

Whether on your boat, or in your home or car, pests can be a real pain. But following these easy tips and working with a trusted insurance agency like TJ Woods to ensure your treasured possessions are protected will save you a lot of time and headaches in the long run. Contact us today to review if your boat insurance policy is still the right fit for you and discuss why it’s needed.