Boats and birds: how one family keeps birds off their boat

scare eyes on sailboat

scare eyes on sailboat

For years, one Florida family accepted pest bird infestation as an inevitable side effect to their love of sailing.  It seemed as though the neighborhood birds – seagulls, mockingbirds, blackbirds, owls, osprey, and worst of all, pigeons – were using their boat as an outhouse.  In addition to the constant need to clean up droppings, the birds were causing serious damage to the vessel itself: the wind indication instruments at the top of the mast were being mangled by the large birds that perched upon them.  These instruments cost thousands of dollars to replace, and only slightly less to repair!  The frustrated sailors began searching for a solution.

Fortunately, their son is an accomplished towboat captain who, in his many years of professional marine experience, has heard of Bird-X.  He soon introduced his parents to the Bird-X Scare Eyes.  Scare Eyes are inflatable predator replica balloons that can be hung or mounted anywhere to deter birds.  Once installed, the immediate improvement was astonishing to the boat owners.

“You can actually observe birds nearing the boat and swerving away in fear!”

This Florida family has been able to enjoy their sailing experiences without the burden of pest birds for over four years now, with the help of Bird-X Scare Eyes.  The product has endured high winds, heavy rains, and the intensity of the sub-tropical Florida sun – proving to be quite durable.  No longer struggling to clean, wax, and repair their boat constantly, these adventurers turned a stressful (and expensive) situation, into a smooth sail.  Now they can finally relax, enjoy the ride, and feel confident that their cherished vessel is protected and looks fantastic!

“Our enjoyment of sailing has been compounded by the use of [the Bird-X Scare Eyes]!”

Questions? Let us help you!

2 + 2 = ?

3 replies
  1. Sheri Barg
    Sheri Barg says:

    We have purchased your Bird X for around our pool, it works pretty good at keeping birds at bay. Now we are having trouble
    with Purple Martins & we believe Barn Swallows that are making a mess all over our power boat. Do you have any suggestions other than a Bird X (afraid other boaters would not like the bird calls going off) for keeping them away???
    Thank You
    Sheri Barg

    • Bird-X
      Bird-X says:


      Thank you for your question. It is very considerate of you to anticipate possible objections to use of Bird-X sound units in a crowded setting. Actually they are widely used in marinas and docks worldwide. Some important things to consider include using the day/night features so that sounds are not being produced if people are sleeping on neighboring boats; and timing settings so that the sounds occur at fairly long intervals, where they are less likely to be noticed among all the natural gull and other bird sounds that arise anywhere there is water and people. For example, one of our sonic units was noticed by a Bird-X employee in use at Busch Gardens, because we recognized the sound – but none of the passers-by seemed aware of it.

      However, if you don’t want to use sound, don’t despair. In a small area like a boat where there is alternate perching available on other property, visual scares can be extremely effective. This blog post actually describes successful use of one of our Visual Scare devices on a sailboat. A lot of boat owners have also reported success with the Terror Eyes or Prowler Owl visual scare devices. Each of these is a tough, heavy-duty product that can withstand water, weather and salt spray on a stationary boat – though we suggest for longest life you don’t leave an inflated device tearing at its string in the wind if the boat is traveling at speed.

      As far as the Purple Martins are concerned, any bird that poops on your property may be considered a pest, even if it is a widely-loved species such as the Purple Martin or relative in the swallow family. They can still make a mess. Purple Martins live in colonies, and many marinas have a popular purple martin house on or near the dock as these birds keep up a cheerful chatter and keep down the insect population. Swallows are a common sight darting and skimming over the water in summer in pursuit of insects on the wing, and many leisure tourists enjoy watching their aerial acrobatics. Still, you may want to enjoy them at a safe distance where their droppings are not damaging and degrading your investment, your pride and joy.

      Native birds are legally protected and their nests may not be disturbed. Also, many bird lovers feel very protective of these species and do not want to see them disturbed or harmed in any way. However, a harmless scare to keep these messy visitors away from your property is absolutely allowed and – in this case – just what the doctor ordered. If you can make the area immediately round your boat (within sight of the scare) feel threatening and inhospitable, the birds will confine their poop-dropping flights and aerobatics to neighboring property… the best of both worlds.

      We hope this information helps!


  2. Tom
    Tom says:

    What I found to work on my sailboat is the swimming pool noodles. I cut a slit length wise and slip them over my life lines. The swallows dont like to land on them and that keeps the poop off my boat. It is kind of a pain taking them off when I sail but it beats cleaning up all the time.


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