Are You Being Watched?

by Art Onweller

The best part of owning a boat is having the ability to travel, visit friends, sight see, hit lakeside restaurants, or just get away for awhile. In our experience, all these activities involve mooring or docking at remote locations. And while you might not be aware of being watched, you are.

The design of our Rat Guards is how vermin navigate. Rats and mice are nocturnal. They can not see more than six inches ahead but can smell 100 times better than humans. They leave a scent trail whereever they go so they can find their way back to the nest. Multiple vermin use the same scent trail. So, if the trail is broken or not established, they can not find their way. Therefore, even if they can reach the edge of the OFFBoard® Rat Guard, they won’t jump further because they can’t see the line on the other side and risk loosing their ability to navigate. The Rat Guard is an elegantly simple and superior design using the vermins natural tendencies against itself.

Field mice, rats and other vermin are always looking for food and shelter; boats make great homes.  They frequently use mooring lines or utility cables as an open passage way to climb on board - hence the birth of OFFBOARD® Rat Gurds to "keep pests from being guests."

Vermin eat plastic covered wiring to get the salt content in the plastic. A rat can raise havoc by shorting out wiring and can even destroy electronic equipment and wiring systems.

Vermin are also responsible for the spread of many diseases by transmitting them directly or by contaminating food with their urine and feces. It is well known that vermin can have fleas that carry bubonic plague. Another example is the Deer Mouse, it can carry the Sin Nombre Hantavirus. A single vermin may produce 50 droppings daily. Within a few weeks droppings will become gray, dusty, and crumble easily. In a recent study in Colorado, of those that contract Hantavirus, the death rate is 48 percent. Sometimes vermin will carry the Salmonella bacteria and will leave it in their droppings on dishes, silverware, or food preparation surfaces, thereby transmitting Salmonella to humans.

Where (and when) to find the Rat Pack
You may not ever see rats or mic on or near your boat, however, they are typically nocturnal creatures and are most active when we're not. They are social animals and some species live in colonies. Outdoors rats and mice constantly travel the same route. They mark their trails with urine so that they can return to sites where food can be found. An ultraviolet light can be used to determine if vermin have "visited" the boat. Both wet and dry urine stains will glow blue-white when under the light.

Cleaning Up After Unwanted Guests
Once rats are on-board the boat owner has a real problem. Once a food is identified rats/mice will try to establish a nest. A female can give birth to as many as 4 to 6 at a time and as often as five to six times a year. Upon finding a nest, the EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) strongly suggests:

  • Never sweep or vacuum mouse droppings and dust or debris in mouse activity areas.
  • Wear a respirator equipped with a High Efficiency Purifying Air (HEPA) filter as well as un-vented protective goggles, and impermeable latex or rubber gloves.
  • Soak mouse droppings and dusty areas with an EPA-registered disinfectant then wipe up with paper towels. Place the soiled towels in a sealed plastic bag and dispose in an outdoor trash receptacle.
  • Clean protective equipment with the EPA-registered disinfectant, then again with soap and water, and allow to air dry.

Keep rats, mice and other critters from gaining access to your ship, boat or house, order OffBoard® Rat Guards today!