Previously on Pontoonopedia I have written a guide on how to pest-proof your boat from critters such as rats, mice, ants, and other assorted vermin. But what I didn’t cover in that guide was insects and in particular spiders.

Spiders love a warm and covered boat, and it’s really hard to keep them from getting in. They leave web, trails, and also tiny pin pricks of poop on your vinyl seating… yes, that’s what those little black dots are. Spider poop.

Is there a way to keep spiders and other insects out of your pontoon boat, or any type of boat for that matter?

Honestly there is no 100% guarantee that you will stop them completely. They are small enough to get through tiny cracks, and as you know with your house, they always find a way in.

But… there are some steps you can take to reduce the chances of spiders and insects getting into your pontoon and messing it up.

Here’s an original question that was posed on Facebook in 2017, with my responses and answers shown below.

“We have a problem with spider poop on our seats. It’s under cover but they still make their way inside. Does anyone know if peppermint oil is ok to put on the seats?? Or have any suggestions how to stop them getting in and leaving webs as well?” 

I know from bitter experience how spider excrement can make pinhead stains on white upholstery, such as vinyl boat seats. They can take some scrubbing to get off too.

Trying peppermint oil could work, I’ve not used it personally but would definitely test a spot first with a couple of applications. My wife uses oils for everything at home including getting rid of ticks, mosquitoes, bugs and other insects, and swears by it.

If I was going to use peppermint oil, I would put it on a cotton ball and place the ball in a small plastic container left on board, and then see what happens. It’s meant to discourage bugs.

Whether it will take poop stains off though, I am not so sure, so how do you clean insect mess off?

What you can use is something called Magic Eraser. I’ve already described in detail on Pontoonopedia how you can use this product to remove mildew stains from vinyl boat seats, and you can use exactly the same process to get rid of insect mess.

To find out, read this guide to cleaning boat seats.

Cleaning seats

Click the image to read the guide on how to clean up your vinyl boat seats using some very cheap products.

How to Flush Spiders Out from Under Seats

If you remove the spiders completely, the spider poop will go away.

One hack I have recently learnt is to use incense sticks. Spiders seem to hate this stuff, and one whiff of the smoke and they come out of hiding, and let you catch them in a glass to dispose humanely.

If you suspect you have a nest or they are hiding under your seats, walk around the deck with the smoking incense stick, wave it under the seats, and the insects and spiders will soon show themselves. You can then catch them and take them off of your pontoon boat. 

How to Insect-Proof Your Pontoon Boat

Once you have got rid of all the spider and insect excrement from your vinyl seats, you should next insect-proof it, so you don’t get any more unwelcome visitors in the future.

The steps below are what I do before I place my pontoon into storage for the winter.

  1. Wash the boat completely and let it dry out.
  2. Spray the inside with Black Flag insect repellent, not the killer spray.

With the Black Flag insect repellent, I find the best way is to mix 2 ounces of it with a gallon of water, and then spray using a small water spraying bottle.

It doesn’t stain or smell and won’t wash away easily.

In most cases, that leaves my pontoon boat bug free, with no flies, bugs, or spiders.

It will work for about two months and does a great job.

If you leave your pontoon boat in a covered marina slip, then I would also spray this mixture into the immediate area as well. At the very least, spray it up and overhead under the slip covers and that’s a prime area for spiders and insects to hide out and fall into your boat.

Also spray insect repellent on your dock lines after you have got rid of all the ones on board. But don’t let any spray into the water as it can harm the fish and marine life.

Handy Hint: Aside from spiders, one of the most common and expensive repairs will be when rats get onto your boat. Click here to read my guide on how to prevent rats coming on board, and how to get rid of them completely.