Gabe_nyc

Keeping gulls off boats - what works / what doesn’t ?

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So I have a new (to me) and pretty boat in a marina with lots of gulls.

People have all manner of sparkling, dangling, flapping things but it doesn’t seem to make much difference. 

In years past I found that if I set up enough streaming pennant strings to make a difference, setting them up & taking them down became a chore in itself.

A boat moored next to me had a VERY LOUD electronic squawker but this was only somewhat effective.

I am thinking of buying a giant piece of soft netting w 4” grid that I would raise about 10-12 ft high up the mast and then have it encircle the boat like a skirt. There would have to be a couple of slits at the shrouds and other accommodations, but not a big deal.

If you have any other arrangements that you have found to work please share it here.

Cheers,

Gabe

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While this is not something that will work 24/7 it will work to chase away gulls.  While it seems funny a taser will chase away gulls.  It is rather like a dog whistle that drives dogs crazy.

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I get methane for my car, at the harbor, next to a big industrial building with solar panels on the roof. A loudspeaker on the roof pumps out a bird-of-prey call every 30 seconds or so. When I asked the attendant what the story behind the muzak was, he told me it was a recording of a bird-of-prey that eats gull chicks. The solar panels are still clean after many years.

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We had a boat moored near us that used “birds in distress” sounds at random intervals.  Not sure how effective it was. Neighbors complained about the noise. Fishline “trip wires” tied above spreaders work for cormorants, but gulls going for the deck may need different tactic, as you suggest.  Netting that went over the lifelines to the sheer that you could prop up with boathooks or poles might be quicker to rig.  “Soft” sounds right.  Anything taut will be a place for them to land on. 

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I bought a Worx battery-powered pressure washer that sucks up water from ... the water (:-) and it works ok on bird poop, but eliminating it to begin with would be even better ...

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https://www.worx.com/hydroshot-portable-power-cleaner-wg629.html

(note that the $79 price shown does not seem to include battery.

i got mine for $160 w a bunch of accessories as well as battery.

Instructions say to only use fresh water. If you use salt / brackish you probably should at least rinse it off w a bit of fresh water afterwards.

 

78E9E24B-F6F9-4111-9662-B85CC1A491E4.jpeg

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On 9/7/2019 at 6:13 AM, PaulK said:

We had a boat moored near us that used “birds in distress” sounds at random intervals.  Not sure how effective it was. Neighbors complained about the noise. Fishline “trip wires” tied above spreaders work for cormorants, but gulls going for the deck may need different tactic, as you suggest.  Netting that went over the lifelines to the sheer that you could prop up with boathooks or poles might be quicker to rig.  “Soft” sounds right.  Anything taut will be a place for them to land on. 

Trip wires will last longer (UV resistance) if you use Gore Tex® dental floss.  I protect the masthead with it and they've been up there over a decade so far.

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On these shores, the big "windmills" seem to be the most efficient deterrent :

84747.jpg

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I tried the dental floss at my masthead but the ospreys would come over and land on my masthead light and floss their beaks after eating a fish in the top of the big pine tree at the end of my dock.

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The bastards in my marina break their mussels on my my steel deck, rarely shit there though... I guess they follow the advice of "don't shit where you eat"? They don't seem to break the mussels and crabs on anyone elses boat so they have either learned that the steel is harder or I'm being paranoid ... 

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There seems to be a new thread on this topic every summer......

The only long term solution I've found, after trying several others, is to completely cover the boat with bird netting. Works well. With practice you can set it up and remove it in a few minutes.

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On 9/7/2019 at 11:21 PM, nota said:

cormorants  are the worst

they shit 1/2 rotting fish all over the deck

 

I have found a line 4” above each spreader seems to make them move on.

Down here, they usually post someone up high as a lookout, they seem to move on if they can’t station one bird on the spreaders.

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2 hours ago, Fleetwood said:

The only long term solution I've found, [...] is to completely cover the boat with bird netting.

Thank you.

I found a source that can supply very large pieces as would work for a 30’ boat.

They can make the mesh from 180 lbs load line or 330 lbs load line. Do you know the strength of the net you are using?

Also, they can make 2” mesh or 4” mesh. What do you use, and what do you recommend in the light of your experience?

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If you have a fishing fleet nearby you can get old used netting for free, ask around.  At least thats the way it is at Fishermans Terminal in Seattle.  Pickings can be variable depending on who has thrown out what and when, but I've always found something useful.

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20 hours ago, Gabe_nyc said:

Thank you.

I found a source that can supply very large pieces as would work for a 30’ boat.

They can make the mesh from 180 lbs load line or 330 lbs load line. Do you know the strength of the net you are using?

Also, they can make 2” mesh or 4” mesh. What do you use, and what do you recommend in the light of your experience?

Stuff from the local chandlery, also available from hardware/garden supply stores.

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My boat was the widest boat in the mooring field (in Menemsha pond) and the cormorants loved it. After multiple attempts to keep the birds away from my Corsair F-28R, this was the only thing that came close to working. They now have a more expensive option that mimics predatory bird sounds but my experience is with the original, more basic model and it was the most successful thing I tried. My boat poop was 90+% diminished after adding one to the bow another to the stern pulpit of my trimaran. Good luck!

https://www.deck-guard.com/buy-now

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So you have the Ultrasonic one?

And it works and it’s quiet so it doesn’t annoy the neighbors?

 

Thanks,

Gabe

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2 hours ago, squiby said:

My boat was the widest boat in the mooring field (in Menemsha pond) and the cormorants loved it. After multiple attempts to keep the birds away from my Corsair F-28R, this was the only thing that came close to working. They now have a more expensive option that mimics predatory bird sounds but my experience is with the original, more basic model and it was the most successful thing I tried. My boat poop was 90+% diminished after adding one to the bow another to the stern pulpit of my trimaran. Good luck!

https://www.deck-guard.com/buy-now

Shags seem to particularly like Multihulls, especially if they don’t have lifelines....much easier to land and slip off.

We have had a couple of boats in our mooring area try sound/ultrasound scarers which work for a while until the shags get wise.

In the end, the only thing that worked in the long run, is netting suspended high enough, so they can’t stretch it down onto a deck or cabin top.

 

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A pair of crusty old geezers with shotguns:

image.png.b931d24635b606800d3fdeaf279bea52.png

May have to pick the pellets out of the halyards, but the gulls will get the idea after a while...

- Stumbling

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On 9/10/2019 at 2:48 AM, Gabe_nyc said:

So you have the Ultrasonic one?

And it works and it’s quiet so it doesn’t annoy the neighbors?

 

Thanks,

Gabe

It worked better than anything else I tried. I had the only version they made at the time which is the ultrasonic one.

If you were right next to it, you could hear when it was on. I don’t think a neighbor would hear it. When you’re onboard, you can press a button to turn it off. I removed them when sailing. 

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On 9/6/2019 at 5:27 PM, Gabe_nyc said:

So I have a new (to me) and pretty boat in a marina with lots of gulls.

People have all manner of sparkling, dangling, flapping things but it doesn’t seem to make much difference. 

In years past I found that if I set up enough streaming pennant strings to make a difference, setting them up & taking them down became a chore in itself.

A boat moored next to me had a VERY LOUD electronic squawker but this was only somewhat effective.

I am thinking of buying a giant piece of soft netting w 4” grid that I would raise about 10-12 ft high up the mast and then have it encircle the boat like a skirt. There would have to be a couple of slits at the shrouds and other accommodations, but not a big deal.

If you have any other arrangements that you have found to work please share it here.

Cheers,

Gabe

Rarely if ever have I noticed a gull on a boat that is moving.

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I used to have that problem, but then we hired Paul, our rubber snake. Sounds ridiculous, but it really seems to keep the gulls away. He's on a leash, on the dodger.

image.thumb.png.a2ee3b486956c37db4f277548c87ea30.png

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Hi Henley, 

Thank you for the suggestion. I have a friend who is a birder who suggested similar.

However, the situation this year is quite dire and I am beyond deterrence measures, to “full-prevention” mode.

Last Tuesday I wanted to go sailing and the boat was so gross that I just turned around and never even got off the launch. Yesterday I was power-washing / scrubbing / crafting at the dock and heard many other similar tales of woe. (Nobody knows why it’s so much worse this year than in the past.)

MY SOLUTION:

I found a plastic mesh fabric used on construction sites. It’s strong, light, very flexible, easy to work with, can be sourced locally and relatively cheap ($200 / 8’6” x 150ft). 

There are several grades available but any of them should work (but only comes in black and orange).

I made a crude tent that covers the entire boat, and that (theoretically) does not afford any places to perch other than the masthead.

I will see in the next few days if / how well this works and make it easier to rig / de-rig.

I will post some pics as soon as I figure out why SA does not like pics from my iPhone.

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You have a landfill nearby? Maybe something different going on there.  Had such a problem once.  Walking down the docks was so bad,  Sorry never got rid of them until the landfill quit doing what ever they were doing,   Firecrackers have worked well for buzzards nearby my house. 

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The marina is on the north side of Long Island. JFK airport is at the south, about 6 miles away.

One guy heard a rumor that JFK has a new program to chase away birds better than in the past to prevent any more “Miracle on the Hudson” accidents.

However, this was very vague and may be apocryphal. 

As far as I know, nothing else has changed in the area  - it’s been fully built up and very residential for decades.

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I had a Mexican toy snake that was made of lengths of bamboo hinged together in such a manner that you could hold it down near the tail and barely twist it on its axis and the head and body would undulate from side to side just as you would imagine a real snake would do. The Mexican guy who sold them was really good at sneaking up behind tire kickers like myself and would have that snake coming over your shoulder and scare the piss out of you! My Dad got such a kick out my my sissy scream that he bought the damn thing but you know I perfected the technique myself and scared a lot of cousins and friends for the next few years. Hard to find a good photo of the vintage originals but now they seem to be made with many kerfs from the sides and a fabric 'backbone' and appear to have the same action. A rubber snake laying on the deck or Bimini will fool the birds for a couple of weeks at best but I've always thought that the Mexican Mambo toy snake if clamped into a fitting that would plug into a winch handle socket that on each roll of a boat on a mooring would do its threatening slithering thing and doubt the birds would ever get used to that motion. 

Image result for mexican bamboo jointed snake souvenir

 

Here is my old school bamboo snake!

 

Related image

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Snakes appear to deter gulls nicely, and it would not be difficult to set them up to be wiggled by the motion of the boat in the water.

That being said, my problem this year is so acute that mere deterrence is not on the menu.

I will post pics of my decks soon, as well as of the covering I’ve made. 

In the meantime, I’m also considering this solution, which would be exceedingly effective, but more expensive than I would prefer:

 

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Find a boat or two down wind of you and nearby.  But not too nearby. Preferably ones not used much  

Chuck a few of these on their deck. 

Repeat as necessary  

works like a charm 

 

4B79457C-3510-4FE0-8D1A-35B8F76C45D5.jpeg

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Weedeater, electric, no guard, .80 string, at 18inches plus sweep, a motion detector and an anchor wash pump...mounted on the foredeck.

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A friend of mine bought a bag of snakes from amazon and he never has bird problems any more.  :)

 

https://www.amazon.com/Fun-Central-12-Pack-Realistic/dp/B01N9CYHFK/ref=sr_1_22?keywords=bag+of+large+snakes&qid=1569374124&s=gateway&sr=8-22

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Maybe it depends how smart the local birds are, but ours figured out after a few weeks that the plastic snakes weren't a threat.

Netting. (Doesn't have to be neat.)

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