Outdoor PestsBirds

How To Deter Seagulls From Dock

Seagull Is Flying Above The Water

Having seagulls hovering around your dock can be annoying. These pests will steal your food and create lots of nuisances.

The height of their nuisance is their droppings that can spread diseases and even damage your boat. They are the last visitors you want around your dock.

In this article, we will consider a few anti-seagull strategies you can use to deter them from your dock.


Seagulls are always on the lookout for resting places. These noisy and aggressive animals can pose serious health risks to humans. If you find them coming to your dock, here are some ways you can scare them off:

  • Use ready-made tools like sound repellers, bird spikes, sheepdogs, air horns, electric shock tape, and fake owls.
  • Sprinkle salt and baking soda over your boat.
  • Hang reflective materials like old CDs and mirrored tape shiny paper on your boat lift top or boat canopy.

As much as possible, also avoid leaving food and trash cans out on your boat. The food you leave outside is an easy target for them.

In the following sections, we will discuss 11 easy ways to keep seagulls away from docks. Apart from the seagull deterrent techniques, we will also consider how to deal with aggressive seagulls and answer other pertinent questions about seagull infestation on docks.

11 Ways To Deter Seagulls From Dock

Seagulls Flying Near The Dock In The Evening

Seagulls are always on the lookout for a resting place. Once they make a habit of sleeping or eating on your dock, getting rid of them may be difficult.

So, it is better to rip the problem in the bud from the onset. Do not allow seagulls to roost on your dock, as they will return there daily.

If you are struggling with a seagull infestation already or you are looking for preventive measures to keep them away from your dock. Here are a few methods you can try out:

1. String a Wire Across Your Dock

Dock With A Hut

To drive seagulls away, you must first understand how these birds operate and what they don’t like. Like other birds, seagulls love to fly, and anything that affects their flight pattern annoys them.

These birds will do anything not to get entangled. If you are looking for how to keep them away from your dock, you can use this weakness against them. Bird wire or a simple fishing line is a discreet, humane, and very effective control strategy.

Seagulls, unlike humans, require a higher UV range to see things around them. Hence, these birds can conveniently see underwater.

A nylon or metal fishing line appears like a bright line to them, day and night. This line interferes with their flight, and as it moves in the wind, they get alarmed. When compared to other birds, seagulls are heavy birds.

Thus, they need a clear path to take off. Stringing a wire horizontally across your docks, about seven to eight feet above the pier, can deter them. The wire prevents them from landing on your dock or other surfaces that attract them.

However, don’t string the full length of your wire or fishing line in one place. Instead, string the wire from leg to leg and tie it off. That way, if one section breaks off, the line doesn’t go down entirely.

2. Use Sound Repellers

Ultrasonic, Solar-Powered Mole Repellent Or Repeller Device

A sound repeller is a battery or electricity-powered device that releases ultrasounds that seagulls hate. These ultrasounds are merely discomforting to the birds and do not hurt them.

Sound repellers work on a majority of nuisance birds, including seagulls. The device is small and only requires minimum power to stay running.

It covers up to 100 ft., and you don’t need to direct the sound towards necessary areas. If you have a reliable power outlet, it is easy to run this device throughout the day.

Since seagulls are out during the day hunting, you can leave the device on when it gets dark.

Most sound repellers have “constant” and “motion sensor” options. With constant power, you can set the device to “constant,” and the seagulls hearing the sound will stay away.

If you have limited power and rely on batteries, the motion sensor option is a better alternative. Once the birds come close to the device, the sensor picks up the signal and comes on.

Using it this way is just as effective, with a power-saving feature as an added bonus.

3. Deter With Bird Spikes

Barrier Wire Fence Of Bird Spike

Using bird spikes to deter seagulls is arguably the oldest technique in the book. Spikes or bird control spikes are attachable needle-like rods that discourage birds from roosting.

They are typically attached to street lights, commercial signages, and building ledges to drive feral birds away. You can apply these spikes around your boat, and their sharp ends will discourage seagulls without harming them.

Whenever the birds try to land, they will find no safe space to land and will eventually run away. However, this technique may be time-consuming and expensive.

4. Use Sheepdogs

Sheepdog Swimming In A Pond In Summer Outdoors

This strategy works best for people who own or manage docks and manage marinas with a seagull infestation problem. Routing patrols with sheepdogs can help reduce this problem to a minimum.

However, you must target your patrols at the right time. Peak seagull hours are early in the morning and evenings. Of course, the intention here is not for the sheepdog to kill the birds but to scare them away.

Seagulls see dogs as a predator and will stay away.

5. Apply Straps of Electric Shock Tape on Your Boat Sides

Danger Sign

This method is old as technology and a very effective seagull prevention strategy. The tape is transparent, so it won’t affect your boat’s look.

Simply apply the straps of electric tracks on the sides of your boat. Once seagulls land on your boat, they will feel a minor shock course through their body.

Although the shock will cause them slight discomfort, it won’t kill or harm them. They will try to return so that time until they realize that your boat is not a comfortable roosting spot.

Before applying electric shock tape, ensure that the surface of your boat is dry and clean. Electricity runs through these wires, and if the boat is wet, it can cause serious problems.


Although electricity shock tape releases a mild current, it is advisable to keep children away from it. Children’s bodies may not be strong enough to withstand the electric surge.

6. Bird Nesting

Pigeon Caught In The Nest

This is another effective way to keep seagulls away from your dock. Birds nesting, otherwise called pigeon netting, involves using nets to keep birds away from certain areas.

Although commonly used to protect buildings and crops, the heavily-wired netting will keep your boat seagull-free and clean.

7. Blow Air Horn

Man Is Blowing Air Horn

Air horns are often considered the most effective anti-seagull strategy. Simply go outside and blow the horn at least twice daily.

Seagulls find the sound of air horns irritating, and they take it as a signal for them to stay away. After some time of enduring the discomfort, they will stop coming to your dock.

The only downside to using air horns is that you must do it repeatedly. It works only for a limited duration.

So, for you to get the required results, you need to use it constantly. While this method is cost-effective, it is time-consuming.

8. Change Their Location

Hite Bird Seagull Sitting By The Beach

Seagulls and other birds perch around areas with food and water sources. So, if you have trash cans on your boat, move them inside or cover them with a lid.

That way, your boat will no longer be attractive to these birds, and they will find no motivation to land on it.

9. Sprinkle Baking Soda or Salt Over the Boat

A Black Hull Speedboat Racing By Sea

If you cannot afford to use any of the above strategies, here is a homemade fix you can try:

Get some salt or baking soda and sprinkle them all over your boat. Seagulls do not like the texture of baking soda under their feet.
So, anytime they land on these substances, they will become uncomfortable and fly away.

However, they may return a few times to test your boat’s surface. If it still feels the same, they will stop coming entirely.

10. Hang Reflective Materials

Boats Ready To Go From The Dock

Another way to keep seagulls off your docks is to use shiny objects. You may have seen gardeners hang up old CDs to chase birds away.

This strategy will work on your boat too, but there are now more sophisticated options than CDs.

For example, you can buy mirrored tape shiny paper and stick some pieces on your boat lift top or boat canopy.

11. Place Fake Owls in Strategic Positions

Owl Has Kept A Close Eye On The Garden

Seagulls hate owls; there is something in an owl’s eyes that scare these birds off. To prevent these birds from landing on your dock, get some wooden or plastic owls.

Then, place the fake owls in strategic positions along the waterfront. Once the birds spot these fake intimidating objects, they will stay away out of fear of becoming prey.

However, this method is not without its downsides. It may not work effectively for a while until the birds notice that the owls always stay in one position.

So, the fake owl strategy is less reliable than other methods. That said, there are varieties in the market with more life-like features that tend to give better results.

While shopping for a seagull deterrent, you can get those with reflective eyes and head swivels.


Seagulls are noisy and aggressive animals that pose serious health risks to humans. There are many ways to keep these unwanted birds off your dock.

The methods discussed in this guide will work well if you follow the steps properly.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Do Seagulls Eat?

A typical seagull diet consists of rodents, fish, eggs, insects, earthworms, reptiles, and even other birds. As intelligent birds, they are versatile in how they catch prey.

The food you leave out is an easy target for them. Seagulls do not need to scrounge around for food if you leave food or trash cans out on your boat.

What Is the Seagull Nesting Season Like?

Seagulls enter their nesting season annually, lasting for three to five months. During this time, these birds can get very aggressive. Hence, it is advisable to steer clear of their nests.

These birds tend to defend chosen territories from rivals through calls and aerial attacks. As ground-nesting birds, they go for live food like small fishes and crabs.

Other times, they scavenge for whatever they can get.

How Can I Deal With an Aggressive Seagull?

Once you notice a seagull swooping at you, lift your arms to cover your head. Keep your arms in this position, and don’t wave them around.

Next, slowly move away from the area until the seagull stops the attack. Flapping your hands can aggravate the bird and make the attack worse.

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