How to Stop Ducks From Roosting on a Boat Dock

by Bjorck DiMarco
Keep your boat dock free and clean of ducks with a few easy steps.

Keep your boat dock free and clean of ducks with a few easy steps.

Ducks and other birds which are commonly found around boats and harbors leave an unsightly mess in the places where they land and roost. Yacht owners and fishermen alike have to contend with the damage that both salt and fresh water birds can do to their boats, equipment and docks. Luckily, there are many solutions to this problem. Most of these solutions are inexpensive and take very little time to implement, and even persistent ducks can be permanently discouraged from roosting on docks.

Nail plastic strips with either plastic or stainless steel spikes along the area where the ducks are roosting. These spikes last a long time and will prevent the bird from roosting anywhere they're installed.

Buy pennants such as the ones used at car lots or for a store's grand opening. Make a series of masts out of 2 x 4 or PVC and space them around the edges of the boat dock. Then string the pennants from mast to mast. The constant motion discourages birds from landing and the string also hinders take-off..

Cut Mylar ribbon, found in card and scrap booking stores, into streamers and place them on posts around the dock. Iridescent tape will also work.

Spray the ducks with a two to three second blasts of water from a motion-activated water sprayer. This device hooks up to a standard garden hose and has a motion detector that will sense movement up to 40 feet away and within a 100-degree angle. It can be adjusted to smaller areas as well.

Obstruct perching areas by stringing mono filament or fishing line (30 lb) about an inch above the dock area around the edges. A web of this same material can also be created over the dock and attached to posts every few feet.

Purchase a solid ceramic owl with a spinning head and hang it between posts on the dock.

Install a floating alligator. The replica of an alligator's head is made of styrofoam and the head has hooks on the bottom to which anchors can be attached. It also has a line that attaches the alligator's head to the dock or shoreline so that it will appear to be moving.

Tie balloons along dock pylons or on sticks or posts which are attached to the dock. Draw octagonal shaped eyes on the balloon. Alternately, draw the face of an owl on the balloon. These will appear as predators and frighten the ducks away. This method works best of the ducks are just beginning to roost. Balloons can also be purchased with these designs already pre-printed on them.

Apply a scented repellent to the area where ducks are landing and roosting. These usually come in liquid form, for large areas, or a gel form, for smaller areas that can be applied with a standard caulk gun. Additionally spraying the dock with a bleach and water solution will deter ducks.

Items you will need

  • Step One:
  • Nails
  • Spike Stripes
  • Hammer
  • Step Two:
  • Pennants
  • 2 x 4 lumber or two Inch PVC Pipe
  • Hammer & Nails or Heavy-Duty Stapler and Staples
  • Step Three:
  • Mylar ribbon
  • Scissors
  • Step Four:
  • Motion-Activated Water Sprayer
  • Garden Hose
  • Step Five:
  • Mono Filement or 30 lb Fishing Line
  • Step Six:
  • Ceramic Owl
  • 2 x 4 for Post
  • Ceramic or Wood Glue
  • Step Seven:
  • Floating Alligator
  • Step Eight:
  • Balloons and Markers or Pre-Printed Balloons
  • Twine
  • Step Nine:
  • Bleach, Water and Garden Sprayer or Scented Repellent
  • Scented Repellent in a Tube & Caulk Gun

About the Author

Bjorck DiMarco has been the Senior Editor at an independent publishing house since 1994. She holds advanced degrees in teaching, English and creative writing, graduating summa cum laude from Tufts University and the University of Massachusetts. DiMarco has also worked in construction, fine woodworking, graphic design and theoretical mathematics.

Photo Credits

  • Jim Arbogast/Digital Vision/Getty Images