During a recent camping and fishing trip, I couldn’t help but notice all of the flies that were constantly swarming the boat. With the desire to prevent this fro happening on future trips, I consulted the internet to pull together some ways to get rid of flies on a boat.

How can you get rid of flies on a boat? If there are already flies present on your boat, you can spray them with repellent to get rid of them. Additionally, there are plenty of methods for prevention of a fly invasion in the first place, including keeping the area clean and coming equipped with a few extra supplies.

That’s the short answer, if you scroll down you can see a more in-depth response on how to get rid of flies on a boat, including a step by step method we use on our pontoon boat.

There is nothing more relaxing than floating through the water on a boat on a nice day. However, the fun can quickly be ruined with the nuisance of flying bugs interrupting your activities.

If you have ever experienced the same problem I went through with flies on your boat, this quick guide will give you some ideas of how to prepare for and get rid of these pesky critters.

How to get rid of flies on a boat

While you are out on the water in a boat, there are so many different types of flying bugs that you can encounter. With the potential to come in contact with annoying flies that swarm your fishing pole and try to eat your food, or even the ones that will bite you, there is plenty of good reason to try to keep them away.

If you find yourself surrounded by flies and can’t seem to swat them all away, use some of these helpful methods to get rid of them as they come.

  • Spray them with repellent.
  • Use fly traps or tape.

The first method that you can use to get the flies away is a commercial bug spray. They usually come in a convenient bottle or can that will make it easy to release the repellent into the air around you.

With these sprays, you can simply attack the flies that you see, distributing it all around the boat. The existing flies will usually drop if you spray them persistently, and any new ones that were previously on their way to your boat could change their minds (but don’t count on it).

If you can’t be bothered with hunting insects during your boating trip, you can use a fly trap device or a roll of fly tape to trap them as they appear.

The fly traps and tape can be positioned strategically on the perimeters of the boat to deter the insects away from entering.

Whether they are lured into the center of a trap or get their legs stuck on the tape they land on, they certainly won’t be bothering you anymore.

Keep reading to the next section to discover some of the most highly recommended insect repellents for flies on a boat, some of which you can purchase at the store while others are more of a DIY project.

Best fly repellents to use on a boat

When it comes to keeping flies away, there are several different materials to use as repellents, depending on the circumstances. It could be that you are embarking on a boating trip, you might be fishing, relaxing and reading a book, or even eating. 

In this section, I will go over the best repellent methods for all of these activities.

Best repellents for getting rid of boat flies

  • Yard Guard bug spray
  • White vinegar
  • Listerine mouthwash
  • Vodka and herbs mixture
  • Tobasco Sauce (while eating)

One of the best brands of bug spray repellent that works especially well for flies on a boat is Yard Guard. This particular product is very strong and can quickly get rid of your insect problem so you can get back to enjoying your day.

Aside from the bug sprays that you can purchase from the store, you can also make your own if you find it to be more convenient or effective.

When making your own fly repellent, it is important to keep in mind the kinds of materials that will keep them away.

Some of the best materials you can use in your formula are white vinegar, Listerine mouthwash, and even vodka.

All of these ingredients have a strong smell, which is key in repelling tiny insects. These ingredients can be mixed together at your discretion with the desired strength that you will need for your trip.

The vodka, more specifically, can be combined with a mixture of natural herbs such as lavender, lemongrass, and eucalyptus to keep the pests away.

Regardless of the DIY repellent you concoct, it can be placed in a household spray bottle to be used just like the ones you can get at the store.

If you are planning to bring a meal on your boating trip, the methods that were described above will not be the most ideal to spray and use around food that is being consumed.

In this case, you can bring a small bottle of Tobasco sauce and create a ring around your plate in order to keep the flies from landing on your food – it really does work!

How to prevent flies on your boat

There are plenty of ways to plan ahead and prevent flies from even coming near you during your next boating trip.

Instead of waiting for their dreaded arrival after you get out onto the water, follow the tips in this section so you can rest assured that they will stay far away.

How to prevent boat flies before they appear

  • Keep everything clean
  • Close doors/windows (if your boat has them)
  • Apply repellents before the flies appear
  • Apply bug spray product for skin before boating

The first thing that you can do to keep the flies away from your boat is to make sure that everything is kept clean. As we all know, flies love to swarm around areas with open food and garbage.

Therefore, if there is no open food or trash laying around on your boat for them to get into, they are less likely to appear in your area in the first place.

It is a good idea to bring garbage bags with you on your trip and dispose of them periodically wherever you can.

Depending on the size and type of boat that you have, there might be doors, windows, and other openings that can close you off from the outside. If this applies to you, then it is best to keep the openings closed in order to keep the flies out.

You might not be completely protected on the deck using only this method, but at least they won’t bother you when you are trying to take a nap or enjoy a meal in your closed quarters.

Additionally, you can take the initiative to apply the necessary bug spray and repellents of your choice all around you before the flies even appear. Why wait for the flies to be present before you start spraying them, when you can stay one step ahead?

There are also plenty of bug spray products that are actually made for the skin. So, along with applying the repellent solution of your choice to the boat itself, you can also make sure that the flies will not want to land on your skin.

As you can see, the common issue between fishers and boaters alike is the infestation of annoying flies swarming around and interrupting activities. However, there are several solutions that can be offered to eliminate pests for a more enjoyable trip.

Whether you choose to stay on guard and defend your boat with a can of extra strong bug spray in hand as the flies appear or you took the necessary precautions to stay one step ahead, you won’t have to worry about anything but having a great time.

Related questions

I’ve been through the gamut with bugs and nasties on our pontoon boat.

What can be used to get rid of mosquitos on a boat trip?

The repellent methods that can be used against flies on a boating trip can also be effective for getting rid of mosquitos, and any other flying insect for that matter.

Specifically, for mosquitos, you can use a portable device called Thermacell to zap them away as they appear in your area.

Do Thermacell devices work for flies, too?

While Thermacell can be very effective in getting rid of smaller bugs like mosquitos and ticks, they have proven to be ineffective for larger insects such as black flies and biting flies that will commonly be encountered on a boating trip.

What are the best brands of fly repellent that can go directly on the skin?

The product Skin So Soft by Avon is a great brand of fly repellent that can go directly on the skin. The best part about this particular type of repellent is that it doubles as a sunscreen with SPF properties.

That way, you will be able to protect your skin from flies and the sun at the same time.

The last word…

To be honest, there is no real effective way to get rid of flies form your boat that will work every time. All you can really due is reduce how annoying they are with some of the suggestions detailed in this guide.

Other pests are easier to get rid of though, with some proven methods which I have outlined in these additional guides.