How To Keep Spiders Off Your Boat (And Other Insects)

Imagine…you’re walking down the dock, expecting and hoping for a nice relaxing time on the water with your friends or family. You’ve got a small cooler full of cold beverages, a bag full of snacks and towels, and your best friend has the speaker sending out one hit after another.

After settling in, you feel a little tickle on the back of your neck and turn around and see a massive spider the size of a golf ball. Who knows how many more are hiding in your boat, waiting to traumatize a new victim.

In order to keep these spiders off of your boat, you need to properly protect it by spraying it with a spider repellent or essential oils such as peppermint or rosemary. You should also cover your boat after every use. For serious cases of spider invasion, you may need to use a fogger.

Spider Repellent Spray

This is easily the most recommended method for keeping the spiders away, but you need to be careful. There are many sprays that may keep the spiders and insects at bay, but they might also damage the interior or exterior of your boat.

Spider sprays with harsh chemicals can:

  1. They can discolor your paint or vinyl seats.
  2. It can be toxic for humans or pets.
  3. They can leave an unpleasant odor after use.
  4. These chemicals are extremely bad for the environment.

So, I would recommend sticking to all-natural or safe spider sprays such as this one on Amazon.

Here are 3 of the best places to spray spider repellent:

  1. Spray along any ropes, cleats, or other connections you have from the lift or dock to your boat.
  2. Spray along all doors and entrances to your boat.
  3. Spray in the nooks and crannies of your boat where spiders are likely to build a web.

Routine Clean

Photo Credit: ristok

Not only can keeping your boat consistently clean and tidy make your whole boating experience more enjoyable, but it is also a deterrent to keep other insects and bugs out of your boat, which decreases a spider’s food supply!

Despite what some people might think, spiders will not eat any crumbs off the floor. They will, however, eat all of the flies, ants, or other insects that will come into your boat from leaving food on it. 

Here are 4 tips to help keep your boat clean and organized:

  1. Make sure that there is no food or drinks left on your boat when you are not using it.
  2. Keep a small broom handle (purchase at a dollar store for cheap) in the boat that you can brush the floor with if there are any spills or crumbs from the ride.
  3. Spray off surfaces with a hose after every use or at least once a week.
  4. Periodically use a cordless vacuum or shop-vac to suck up food crumbs or spider webs you see in the boat.
  5. Keep the clutter to a minimum to decrease the number of places a spider has to make a web.

The best way to make sure your boat stays clean is to make it a habit. Once you commit to taking the extra 15 minutes at the end of your boat ride to do a thorough clean, you would be amazed at how fewer spiders and other bugs/insects will hang around.

Essential Oils

Using essential oils is very similar to buying an official “spider-spray” from the store. The benefits of using essential oils are that it is much more natural, better for the environment, and you might already have some laying around your house!

Here are a few tips for using essential oils to repel spiders:

  1. Peppermint and Rosemary are two very common extracts that are used to repel spiders and other bugs.
  2. One method is to soak cotton balls in the oils and place them in high-traffic areas or dark corners.
  3. You can also use them as a spray by diluting the oils in water and spraying in the high-traffic areas I talked about above.
  4. Setting up a diffuser in the boat can help disperse the odor over a larger area.

Other than potentially decreasing the number of spiders and other bugs in your boat, using these essential oils will also end up making your boat smell that much better!

Fogger or “Bug Bomb”

Insect foggers or “bug bombs” work by releasing microscopic particles of pesticide into the air in a thick fog. This allows the product to get into the small nooks and crannies of your boat and take care of any spiders or bugs hiding where you can’t see them! These products can usually be purchased at your local hardware store or here on Amazon.

Note that this should only be used in serious cases as it can be difficult to set up and slightly dangerous if the directions aren’t followed correctly.

  • Your boat has a cover, or you are treating an enclosed area.
  • You already have a bit of a spider or insect problem in your boat.

Not only will these foggers potentially kill all the spiders in your boat, but they can kill the other insects and bugs that the spiders are eating every day.

Warning: These products use harsh chemicals that under no circumstance should be inhaled by you, your family, or your pets. It is very important that you follow the instructions on the canister label to ensure you stay safe while using the product. 

Giving the vaper plenty of time to disperse, as well as performing a deep clean of your boat after using your fogger will ensure you and your family stay safe. After it’s all said and done, you should be left with a few dead bugs and spiders to vacuum up, as well as the leftover spider webs that are now vacant!

Covers and Screens

This 5th and final tip for keeping spiders out of your boat is probably the one that is the most specific to your boat. 

Using your boat cover or buying spider netting or screens can not only decrease the number of entry points into your boat, but it can make all the other methods listed above much more effective!

Boat Cover

If you own a boat, chances are you likely own a boat cover that you use when it’s in storage. Taking the extra time to put on the cover every time you’re done using it can greatly decrease the number of spiders and other insects that want to call your boat home.

Going one step further and spraying the edges of the cover with essential oil or “spider-repellant spray” can make the cover that much more efficient at keeping the spiders out!

Bug Screens and Nets

Using a bug net or screen uses essentially the same principles as a boat cover. The bonus with the bug screens and nets is that they are usually much more customizable and cheaper than buying a full cover if you don’t already have one.

There are multiple options online to purchase. Since you have a good idea of what your specific boat may need, find a net and screen that you can install that will have the tightest seal, which will be the most beneficial.


As you can tell, there is hope for a spider-free boating experience! 

Although using any one of these methods will likely result in fewer spiders in your boat, I would recommend using two or three of them in tandem for the best results.

One common theme with all of these is that they do not require a lot of money or complicated methods. With just a little bit of extra time put in, you can make sure you have the best boating experience possible!