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How to Keep Mice Out of Your Boat

By : Greg Sweeney

We made it… Memorial Day has come and gone, and summer has begun! Preparations for this summer probably began right after Labor Day last year, but it’s time to double-check some of our work.

Last time we connected, we were discussing how to Prevent & Keep Mice Out of Your Grill This Summer, and today we are going to arm you with information in case these mice try to take to the water and infest your boat.

The presence of mice can quickly turn a relaxing boating experience into a stressful one. The constant fear of unexpected encounters with rodents, the worry about damage and safety issues, and the frustration of cleaning up their droppings can rob you of the joy of boating. By keeping mice out, you can maintain a peaceful and worry-free environment, allowing you to fully enjoy your time on the water. Dealing with mice in boats is not only an annoyance but can also lead to significant damage and health concerns. Rodents can chew through wires and seats, create nests in boat motors, eat your food, and leave droppings and urine behind. We go over methods for preventing an infestation which can help boat owners avoid costly repairs and messy cleanup.

Why Mice are Attracted to Boats

Boats have a lot in common with typical places where mice like to nest:

  • Food:Mice are attracted to food, and boats often have a lot of food sources, such as snacks, drinks, and bait. Here are the most common food sources that attract rodents.
  • Shelter:Watercrafts can provide a safe and warm shelter for mice, especially in the winter.
  • Water:Mice need water to survive, and boats have access to water duh!
  • Access:Boats are often left unattended, both during the summer and in the off-season, which gives mice the opportunity to enter and nest relatively undisturbed.

Though summertime is when boats are typically being used out on the water, they still spend a good amount of time sitting untouched. They also often have a lot of food, crumbs, and spills left on them in between rides. This mixed with all the small compartments found on boats provides an ideal place for mice to intrude.

During the winter months, boats become even more of an ideal nesting location for these critters because they are stored away for months at a time. They provide a warm place for these pests to seek shelter from the elements and provide a safe space to avoid predators.

4 Ways to Keep Mice Away From Your Boat

Maintaining a Clean Boat

Mice are attracted to food, so it’s important to store food properly in airtight containers and clean the space after each time it’s used.

  • Regularly clean and declutter the boat’s interior, especially after each time the boat is taken out. Pay attention to areas on the side of the boat where crumbs can pile in corners and crevices.
  • Store food and trash properly to minimize attractive odors. Using reusable containers with lids that snap-on help to keep food organized and minimize odors.
  • Seal and secure all food containers.
  • Make sure to empty and dry all water sources. Hulls and ice boxes with leftover water provide rodents with ample water.
  • Remove live bait and clean fish storage areas after fishing.
  • Remove life jackets, cushions, blankets, towels, straps, and any other soft materials mice can use for nesting materials.

Sealing Entry Points

Mice are very good at finding small openings, so seal up any holes or cracks in your boat.

  • Identify and seal gaps, cracks, and holes in the structure.
  • Pay special attention to areas around electrical wiring, plumbing, and ventilation openings.
  • Use steel wool, caulk, or expandable foam to seal gaps effectively.
  • Keep all compartments closed tightly.
  • Use a boat cover.

Installing Barriers

  • Use wire mesh or hardware cloth to cover openings such as vents, hatches, and exhaust pipes.
  • Install door sweeps or weatherstripping to prevent mice from entering through doors and hatches.

Deterrents and Repellents

There’s likely many people spending time on your boat, so it’s best to avoid using harmful chemicals due to safety concerns for your boaters. EarthKind’s Fresh Cab® Rodent Repellent is a botanical rodent repellent that can help keep mice away from your boat. These pouches contain essential oils and plant-based ingredients that emit fragrances that will overwhelm a rodent’s nose and cause them to leave the area. This mouse repellent is easy to use and can be placed in areas where these pests are likely to enter both during the summer and when the boat is in winter storage. Place the pouches, deter pests… it’s that easy.

Dealing With an Existing Infestation

Unfortunately, we are often too late, and mice have already made themselves at home. Here are common signs of mice to look for:

  • Droppings
  • Gnaw marks
  • Shredded materials and food particles in areas they should not be.
  • Nests or nesting materials in hidden areas of the boat (people often try dryer sheets as a form of pest control but they can be used as nesting materials).
  • Strong or strange odor, AKA dead mouse smell.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to take action and start trying to get rid of the pests. Start by cleaning and sealing the boat completely. Once clean, place Fresh Cab pouches in any of the areas where you noticed rodent activity to start repelling these pests.If the infestation is severe or persists, consult with professionals before any damage occurs on your watercraft.

If you come across droppings, follow the CDC’s instructions for cleaning up after rodents to prevent the risk of disease.

Keeping Rodents Away

Whether you have a pontoon, sailboat, or personal watercraft, the best defense to keep mice out of your boats in the summer and winter is a good offense. Routinely inspect your boat, both during and after the boating season. Look for signs of mice, such as droppings, chewed wires, or torn insulation. Early detection can prevent a minor issue from escalating into a full-blown infestation. Preventative pest control is key to treating the core issue and not just covering up the problem.

EarthKind rodent repellent pouches are an easy, proactive way to help prevent future infestations. They are safe to use around kids and pets when used as directed and 100% guaranteed effective when used according to the instructions. Buy online or in-store.

Boats are a substantial investment, and repairs can quickly become expensive. Repairing the damage caused by mice can be a time-consuming and financially burdensome process. By proactively taking measures to keep mice away, you can avoid costly repairs and preserve the value of your boat. Consistent vigilance and proactive steps will save a lot of time, money, and surprises in the future. Please enjoy a safe and relaxing start to your summer!