Boats are expensive. Finding out that a mouse has chewed through your wires, rain jackets, and other gear is frustrating.
The easiest way to keep mice out of a boat is to place scented dryer sheets in the compartments. It is also important to thoroughly clean the boat after eating in it to reduce the chance crumbs will attract rodents.
I’ll never forget the excitement I had pulling the boat out of storage after a long winter. The weather was warming up and the water looked perfect. There was a slight chance of rain so I rummaged around in the starboard compartment to get my gear.
My mood changed instantly.
A mouse had chewed multiple holes in my very expensive rain coat and bibs.
The bad news continued while checking other compartments. I never made it on the water that day because of the mess my lack of preparation caused. It could have been easy to blame the mice, but in reality, it was my fault.
First Step to Successfully Keep Mice Out of a Boat
This seems so simple, yet it may be one of the most often neglected areas of boat ownership.
It’s common practice to bring snacks with us while we fish. On really slow days, a bag full of trail mix can brighten anyone’s mood.
It is inevitable that some of the food will end up on the boat deck and eventually work its way into the cracks and crevices between seats and compartments.
Taking the few minutes needed to vacuum out a bass boat after food has worked its way all over is important in combating future rodents. It may not cause much issue during the warmer months when food is abundant for mice and rats, but when the weather turns and snow covers the ground, potato chip crumbs are easy pickings for these unwanted pests.
Make the Vacuuming Process Easy and You Will Do It
Most people neglect vacuuming a boat because of the hassle.
Untangling extension cords, locating the Shop-Vac, or even worse, sneaking the house vacuum out to the garage, is reason enough to put off the mundane task.
Planning and maintaining an area of your garage dedicated to easy boat cleaning will mean you are much more likely to do it.
This might mean dedicating a permanent, retractable extension cord that hangs from the ceiling near your boat. A small vacuum with hose attachment can be purchased for well under $100. I prefer this method over the traditional shop vacuum because I like to stand and vacuum the carpet just like I would in a living room.
The rest of the hard-to-reach places are handled by the hose attachments. Find a vacuum that has a reasonable hose length and the job will be even easier.
A dedicated cleaning space means you can vacuum out the entire boat in just a few minutes – leaving nothing for those mice to snack on.
Eliminate Potential Nesting Material
Mice have lots of babies throughout the year. Not a surprise, they are pretty low on the food chain and get eaten by a variety of critters.
This constant need to reproduce means nesting is top priority for them.
Be careful to keep potential nesting material out of your boat, or in a secure container.
Toilet paper comes to mind.
Yes, I am writing about this tip because my boat was once home to a toilet paper mansion that had scores of baby rodents in it. The entire process was quite disgusting to deal with.
Toilet paper is a must-have for any die-hard bass angler. Keeping the stuff in a bag or hard-sided container is an excellent deterrent. While a thick plastic bag is still no problem for a mouse to chew through, it is often enough they look elsewhere to find easier nesting material. Since I have stowed my onboard toilet paper, I have never found a nest in my rig again.
Dryer Sheets Work Great to Keep Mice Out
This simple trick is easy yet it is so effective.
I prefer to get dryer sheets that have a strong scent to them. I know folks that have done just fine keeping mice out with low-scent, or even no-scent dryer sheets, but why take the chance.
I drop one or two sheets in each compartment and put several in the battery compartment. Rewiring a boat is zero fun so I go plenty heavy in this particular location.
When the boat is put up for winter storage I will take out the sheets that have been in there all summer and replace them with fresh dryer sheets.
I have been doing this for about ten years now and have never had a problem with mice since. (Let’s hope it stays that way now that I wrote about it.)
Why I don’t Use Poisons to Keep Mice Out of My Boat
First, I have pets and it terrifies me that one of them may accidentally eat the poison.
Second, I want to repel the mice, not have them potentially die in the boat and fill it with a putrid smell.
Third, I am not a big fan of taking the poison traps in-and-out and having a situation where I may accidentally get the poison all over me, the garage floor, and who knows where else.
The dryer sheets work so well I have seen no need to load my rig with poison.
Don’t make the same mistake I did and not worry about mice until it is too late. Seeing a $400 set of rain gear full of holes is enough to make a man cry.
Tight lines. Be safe and make sure to encourage someone today. You never know how you may change their life forever.