‘Twas time to put the boat away, but there in the boathouse, a small creature was stirring - a raccoon or perhaps even a mouse.
As we relax and settle into the holiday season, it’s easy to forget about your boat, safely snuggled away under its wraps or locked in the boathouse. However, as you’re feasting and getting warm in front of the fireplace, there may very well be some critters making themselves at home in your boat. You likely won’t ever know they were there, until you bring your boat out of storage, put it back on the water, and discover wires chewed, or that the seats have been absolutely shredded.
Before you exclaim and run out of sight, you should know that the right kind of boat insurance will help you avoid these start-of-the-season frights. Before we can address what, you need to protect yourself and your boat, let’s first examine why vermin can be so bad for your boat, and how you can help prevent them from ever settling down for a long winter’s nap.
Why Vermin Won’t Bring You Christmas Cheer The idea of a cute little mouse curling up on your boat might not seem like a big deal at first. After all, it’s just one mouse, right? How much damage could it possibly cause?
The answer can reach thousands of dollars.
Mice, raccoons, rats, and squirrels all love nothing better than to chew and build cozy nests for themselves in the winter, and for them, your boat is a winter wonderland. Not only will there be plenty of vinyl or upholstery to rip apart and snuggle into, but your boat will likely also be somewhere dark, and covered from the wind and cold with a shed or firmly secured tarp. It’s the perfect place for critters to curl up, hunker down, and defecate.
Of course, what would a winter hideaway be without something to do? And for vermin, their preferred activity is chewing. A single mouse can cause as much as $5,000 in damage just by chewing through your boat’s wiring. If the critters decide to nibble around their favourite places to enter and exit your boat, there’s a good chance one of them will include your hull hoses, and that means that your boat will sink as soon as it touches the water again.
How to Keep Your Boat Free of Critters No matter how thorough your wrapping work or how secure your boathouse is, there’s always a chance that a critter will find its way in. However, there are some things you can do to reduce the chances of them hunkering down if they do come across your boat. Remember to always follow the manufacturers recommendations when closing up your watercraft for the season.
Generously scatter moth balls across your deck and on the upholstery. The smell will help deter pests from finding your boat appealing, and if you’re concerned about the smell in the spring, tuck a few laundry dryer sheets under the seats and in storage spaces around the boat.
Before you close up for the winter, clean your boat thoroughly of any food or drink debris that might remain from earlier outings.
Remove any blankets, towels, or other cloth articles from the boat. These are precisely the type of thing that critters would find ideal for a nest, so don’t give them the opportunity to bundle in!
Clean your upholstery well. The idea is to remove any traces of good-smelling suntan lotion or dropped condiments which critters might find enticing.
Stay vigilant! If possible, visit your boat occasionally throughout the winter. The moment you notice any signs of a vermin infestation, like droppings, chewed vinyl, or dropped food, it’s time to invest in some traps. If you can catch them early, you can also reduce the chances that they’ll have enough time to seriously damage your boat.
Finding the Right Boat Insurance Company If rodents or other vermin do make their winter home on the deck of your boat, they can do a lot of damage, and you’ll likely need to arrange for repairs before you can get your boat back on the water in the summer. This is where finding the right boat insurance company is critical. Vermin coverage does exist, but not all companies provide it automatically. If you sign an insurance policy without understanding precisely what’s covered, you could be left on the line for thousands of dollars due to a few hungry mice, emptying your wallet and wasting several summer weekends as you wait for repairs.
Vermin Coverage with MD Marine Boat Insurance At MD Marine, our boat insurance is designed specifically for the Canadian boater, which is why each and every policy we provide includes vermin coverage. And that’s just one part of the MD Advantage. You’ll also enjoy emergency towing and on-the-water repairs, a dedicated in-office claims specialist, and a free, no-obligation boat insurance quote to allow you to make the best choice for you and your watercraft.
For more information on our boat insurance, quotes for your craft, or the advantages bundled into our insurance policies,call our office at (877) 627-4633. You can also send us a message online.