■ Plastic owls work great for some, but
problems include the owl blowing away or
the birds getting used to it and coming back.
One reader wrote that hanging an owl from
the spreader, so it moved slightly, made it
■ Cormorants tend to like being high up
(sorry, sailboaters) so one reader found covering the top of the mast with tacks stuck
through sail repair tape did the trick. Before
you say that’s cruel, our reader pointed out
it was no different from a thorny branch.
■ Stringing monofilament line on favorite
boat perches has worked well for many. Just
don’t tangle yourself up in it, and don’t let it
fall overboard. Recycle if you can, and other-
wise, dispose of it in covered receptacles.
■ Pinwheels, multicolored flags, and shiny
string or ribbon festooned around the boat is
another good tip to try.
■ Large wind-driven “rotators” work well,
as do bird “spiders.” They’re easy to put on
the hardtop, bow, or back deck, and easy to
stow when it’s time to use the boat.
■ A large feather duster (preferably ostrich)
stuck in a box on the deck allegedly worked
for one reader.
■ Got trouble with birds of the webbed feet
variety? Hot sauce diluted in water on the
final washdown where your unwanted guests
like to walk is said to keep them off the boat.
No word on whether it’ll repel the visitors
you want onboard, too.
RODENTS: That Which
We Shall Not Mention
If you’re unlucky enough to encounter rats
and mice aboard the small space of your boat,
you’ll need to outwit the wiliest of creatures
with a plan. Apart from being hugely unpleas-
ant, they can become costly – chewing plastic
fittings and wiring, and also hoses to thru-
hulls, which have been known to sink boats.
Here are some do-it-yourself ideas:
■ Prevention is better than cure. Store food
in glass jars and regularly dispose of garbage.
■ Cover vents if possible when you’re away.
Put wire mesh or hardware cloth on the
inside, if the vent needs to stay open.
■ Rats are nocturnal and like it quiet and
dark, so leave a bright light on and maybe
the radio, if you can.
■ Get a dog. Enough said.
■ There are ultrasonic mice and rat repellent
devices available that don’t use much battery
power. You won’t be able to hear them, but
they might drive your dog crazy.
■ If there’s already a rat aboard, you’ll need
to consider traps. Peanut butter, bacon, and
Tom Neale says you’ll never meet
someone with a rat on their boat. It’ll
always have happened to someone
else. To read about the “someone else”
Tom knew, see this article online.
than just a
bad taste in