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How To Keep Mice Out of a Boat during Winter Storage

How To Keep Mice Out of a Boat during Winter Storage

Winterizing and storing your boat comes with many challenges, including keeping mice and other rodents from invading and causing damage. An infestation can lead to chewing through upholstery, cushions, wiring, and more. Luckily, there are several easy, safe methods to deter mice and keep them away from your prized vessel while it’s in storage.

Use Strong Smelling Repellents

Mice have a very strong sense of smell, so strong odors are an effective deterrent.

  • Place mothballs in small mesh bags or open containers throughout the boat. The smell discourages mice from entering. Replace monthly as the scent fades.
  • Grated Irish Spring soap also works. Mice dislike the strong scent. Spread shavings in hidden corners, compartments, cushions, etc.
  • Dryer sheets like Bounce contain odor particles that mice avoid. Stuff them anywhere mice could get in. Swap them out every few weeks when scent weakens.
  • Fresh Cab pouches give off a plant-based smell that drives mice away naturally. Put them in concealed spaces and replace once a month.

Seal All Entry Points

Mice can squeeze through incredibly small gaps and holes. When prepping your boat for storage:

  • Seal all cracks, crevices, holes, gaps around pipes/wiring etc with caulk, foam, steel wool, copper mesh.
  • Close up vents with wire mesh that keeps rodents out while still allowing airflow.
  • Make sure doors, hatches and windows are shut tight with no gaps.

This denies mice access to the interior where they build nests and cause damage.

Use Baiting Systems

Exterior bait stations lure mice out of structures. Rodents eat the bait, leave in search of water, then expire outside. Professional baiting systems are most effective. Or use:

Bait blocksChild and pet safe bait blocks placed in tamper-proof boxes around exterior perimeter.
Live trapsTraps that allow humane release (inspect and empty frequently).
Glue boardsBoards that catch mice in sticky traps outside entry points.

Maintain Cleanliness

Mice forage for food and nesting material. Before storage:

  • Remove all food/drink – crumbs, spills etc.
  • Thoroughly vacuum and wash the boat to eliminate food odors.
  • Clear all clutter; mice use materials like rags, paper, ropes for nest building.
  • Pick up debris and trim vegetation around exterior.

This eliminates food sources and nesting sites. Starve them out and they will move on.

Use Repellents and Deterrents

  • Sprinkle or spray natural repellents like peppermint oil, white vinegar around the exterior.
  • Place ultrasonic pest repellers on board. The high-frequency sound drives mice away.
  • Set up flashing lights. Mice avoid movement and illumination.

These methods create an unwelcoming environment that makes mice look elsewhere for shelter.

Store Indoors or Under Cover

If possible, storing your boat indoors or under a well-sealed canvas/plastic cover offers maximum protection. This fully blocks access, light, and prevents nesting on the vessel or in surrounding area. Just be sure no rodents are inside before covering. With their entry denied and base of operations gone, mice won’t find your boat hospitable.

Inspect Regularly

Check your boat at least monthly when in winter storage. Look for signs of mice like droppings, nesting materials, chewing damage. Immediately treat any infestation signs and seal up access points. Don’t give them a chance to settle in.


With some prevention and diligence using these tips, you can successfully keep mice from making themselves at home in your boat. Implementing multiple deterrents and maintaining cleanliness creates an inhospitable environment that drives mice away for good. Enjoy peace of mind knowing your boat is safe from rodents while in its long winter’s nap.

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Steve Momot

Steve is an accomplished professional photographer and marketer who specializes in the Fishing, Yacht, and Boating industry. With a strong presence as an influencer and marketing expert in the Marine Industry, he has made a significant impact in the field. Additionally, Steve is the original creator and co-founder of Sportfishtrader. Prior to his career as a marine photographer, he gained extensive experience as a licensed boat and car dealer in South Florida.

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