We have big problems with river otters here in all our marinas
. They are a protected mammal and it would cost you a small fortune if you get caught trying to harm one. They are incredibly cute when a family
of them plays getting up and off a dock
and jumping around in the cockpits of boats.
However, they can make a mess of a cockpit
. I had to clean up 3 gallons of their poop out of my cockpit
this last winter. Luckily I got there within a few days and it did no lasting harm. Others have had very tight fitting canvas
covers and it festers under there in the sun for a couple of weeks and they had to replace a lot of canvas
, lines, and get a pro to clean it up - especially the smell.
What works best is to tie the boat away from the dock
as far as you can. And if you need to, to put barriers so they cannot easily jump onto and climb over. They especially like whole covers that are nice and cozy where they can hide out. Mine was open except for a bimini
so I didn't think I would have a problem. I was wrong. So I will tie my boat as far out as possible. My high free board will keep them from jumping up out of the water (I hope).
Racoons - they certainly would get inside a cage and kill things in that. But i don't think they go out and try to kill anything that can run very fast at all. They don't go after rats, cats, etc. but they are fierce if cornered or attacked by a dog. They will make a hell of a racket when cornered. I did that a month ago under my wife's car. I could see three of them under there and they were screaming bloody murder. I got my dog away from there asap. Luckily we don't have muskrats here and I have not heard of raccoons getting on boats here but it would be possible.
You do have to be careful with the seals
on the docks. They can be aggressive. And the heron poop is another issue entirely. And then there was the beautiful wooden 50' sailboat that a bald eagle would come over and sit on from dawn through the morning except to fish
. He whitewashed the whole boat. Nasty! But I loved to hear him wake me up in the morning. You'll never forget that cry.