Mice & Rats On Boat? 8 Tips You Should Know (Easy Guide)

If you own a boat, you likely do everything that you can to take care of it and ensure it stays in a high-quality condition.

But even with the proper regular maintenance, there is still something that can ruin the quality of your vessel and that is pests!

How To Avoid Pests On Your Boat

Pests, like mice or rats, can be a nuisance in your home, in your recreational vehicles, or even on your recreational watercraft.

Mice and rats can be very hard to deal with due to the fact that they can fit almost anywhere and are very good at getting into places that they don’t belong.

For this reason, keeping mice and rats out can be a difficult task.

Mice and rats are not only a tricky nuisance, but they can also cause damage.

Mice and rats will often chew through things and can create holes in your seats, damage in your wood, leave droppings, or create possible damage at their entry and exit points.

They also shred things in the winter to nest in.

If you store food on your vessel, they can also chew through boxes or other containers and cause your food to be spoiled.

3 Ways To Keep Mice off Your Boat:

So the real question you are likely asking yourself is: what do I do about these pests?

Just because it might be challenging to keep mice and rats away, doesn’t mean it is impossible and there are some things you can do to deter these pests on your boat.

1) Keep Your Boat Clean:

One of the best things you can do to combat pests is to be preventative and keep your boat clean. Cleaning up spilled sugary drinks or crumbs of food can go a long way to prevent pests.

You will also want to make sure you clean any lingering odors as this can also attract animals and pests.

Without these things on the floor or other surfaces, pests will be less attracted to the idea of being on your vessel.

Cleaning up spills or other messes as they happen will not only reduce pests but will save you from more work later on if you only were to clean it out seasonally.

This works for both inside and outside your boat.

2) Sound Devices You Can Use

One way to deter animals is to use ultrasonic sound devices.

These devices are commonly used in backyards and gardens to keep away scavenger animals, but it is becoming more and more common for them to be used in marine environments also.

These devices work by emitting ultrasonic sounds that are only audible to specific types of animals and are silent to humans.

I personally use these devices in my home to keep away mice since my home is located near farm fields. In the year we have used these devices, we have had no incidents with mice in our home.

Make sure, if you plan on having pets on your boat, you make sure to check that the device you purchase does not bother them.

These work for both inside and outside your boat.

3) Effective Pellet Repellents

Pellet Repellents can be used to drive mice, rats, or other pests away with their odor.

You can place these around your boat to deter pests.

Make sure you buy ones that are meant to be contained and not that are meant to be sprinkled around, as this could get annoying and it would be easy to accidentally wash them away, or contaminate other items and surfaces.

You will also want to make sure you are replacing them as recommended.

These work for both inside and outside your boat.

How to Keep Mice Out During Winter:

Winterizing your boat is a necessary step for boaters who live somewhere that does not offer a year-round boating season.

Amongst the many other steps involved in winterizing your vessel, there are additional steps that should be considered when it comes to pest control.

Deep Clean Your Boat:

Much like the advice listed above that involves making sure there are no sugary spills or food lying around on your boat, you will also want to make sure you clean your boat out good before winterizing it.

One of the best ways to make sure there is nothing on the deck of the boat that you missed, it to pressure wash the carpet or vinyl flooring.

Clean out all cubbies and other storage areas, and make sure no food is being stored.

To keep your boat clean, as well as stored properly for winter, you will want to make sure you have a cover for it.

This works for both inside and outside your boat.

Use Dryer Sheets:

Heavily scented dryer sheets, mothballs, or even strong peppermint soaps can also deter pests.

In the same way, you might put mothballs in your winter coat pockets to deter pests, you can use mothballs on your boat as well.

Putting scented dryer sheets or mothballs on your boat work in a similar way to pellet repellant for driving off these creatures.

You will want to cover your boat in a handful of dryer sheets including in all your cubbies and spread them throughout the deck.

If you choose a scent that you like, your boat will even smell nice when you remove the cover in the spring.

These work for both inside and outside your boat.

How to Protect Your Boat Trailer from Mice

Boat trailers do not often get damage from mice or other rodents because they are generally just made of metal.

This does not mean that you want to completely ignore them though.

If you can deter mice from bothering your boat’s trailer, you might be able to stop them from attempting to climb up on the boat entirely.

Pellet Repellents set near the trailer can deter mice from getting near it.

If you are storing your boat and trailer in a garage or other building, you could look into getting an ultrasonic device.

If you notice mice droppings or any other indications that you are getting mice in the building you can also set traps on the ground near the trailer.

Deterring mice from getting up on the trailer can prevent them from reaching your boat.

How to Get Rid of Mice on a Boat:

If you have attempted to deter mice and other pests on board, but as you are out on the water, you could still discover that you have a mouse or rat stowed away on board while out at sea.

The question then becomes: how do I get rid of this pest now?

You do have a few options. These include:

Set a Trap:

One of the easiest ways to try to get a mouse or rat off of a boat is to set a trap. Traps are easy to locate and purchase no matter where you are.

You might not get to pick which trap you want, but you will likely be more focused on the bait than the trap anyways.

Make sure you get the proper trap for the pest you are dealing with.

To catch the pest quicker, secure all other food and garbage and make sure the only food available for it is the one on the trap. If you notice the mouse or rat has been near a certain type of food that might be your best bait option.  Peanut butter is almost always effective.

If you do not see results, you could always switch out the bait that you used.

Borrow a Cat:

If you have a cat or know someone who has a cat that is a tested and efficient “mouser” you could try letting the cat take care of your problem for you.

However, you will not want just any cat to attempt to solve your problem. Make sure you are using one that is a proven hunter.


If you cannot otherwise dispose of the mouse or rat, you could always turn to poison.

This option, while effective, should be a last resort. There are a few reasons for not turning to poison first.

These reasons include:

  • Often, the mouse or rat will go to a secluded inaccessible area to die. This makes cleanup easier and you might not know they are there until the body starts to decompose and smell.
  • Poison can be unsafe if you have pets or children aboard.

After the Pest is Gone:

There are also some steps that need to be taken after the pest is gone.

These steps include:

  1. Clean up any droppings left.
  2. Clean up any contaminated food.
  3. Replace any bins that might have holes.
  4. Check all your wiring for damage.
  5. Leave additional traps out for a few days to ensure there are not anymore.

In Conclusion:

Mice, rats, and other pests can be an incredible and possibly damaging inconvenience. The best way to deal with them is to be prepared and preemptive.

Deterring mice from coming onto your vessel is much easier than dealing with getting them off or repairing any damage they might have caused.

You do not want any damage to your boat or even effects on your health that can come with these particular pests.

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