Keep a Rat-free Ship!

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Protect Your Health

  • Rats, mice, and their fleas can transmit diseases including salomonellosis and rat bite fever.
  • Rodents cause unsanitary conditions - they leave about 50 droppings each day and spread urine to mark territory.
  • They usually die and rot in cramped, dark places producing noxious smells.

Protect Your Cargo
  • Rodents will chew on almost anything. Because their front teeth grow constantly, rodents must chew to grind them down.
  • Rodents cause fires by chewing on electrical wires.
  • They can create hydraulic leaks – shred materials for nests – and eat and contaminate food.
Protect Your Environment
  • Invasive rodents threaten Alaska’s islands.
  • If introduced to new areas, they kill wildlife, destroy habitat, and may infect animals with diseases.
  • Keep a clean ship.

Don’t let your vessel carry rodents to new places where they could escape with freight, gear, garbage, or by shipwreck. Things you can do to prevent rat spills:

  1. Eliminate sources of food and water. Keep trash and food in metal or other rodent-proof containers.
  2. Boxed or bagged food attracts rodents that will smell and chew through packaging. Store food on high shelves in sealed rooms and check often for rodent sign.
  3. Clean up piles of debris that can shelter rodents. Seal holes between areas that give them access. ALERT - Rats go through holes as small as 1/2-inch across. Mice go through 1/4-inch holes. Steel wool is an effective material to plug small holes because rodents will not chew through it.
  4. Keep onshore facilities as clean and rodent-free as possible. Warehouses and docks should also have a rodent control program.
  5. Inspect cargo for rodent sign. Do not take suspicious cargo Trawl nets stored in port or from an infested ship often have rats inside.
  6. Post information about rodents for the crew. Early spotting of these enemies means faster removal.
  7. Use line guards on ship-to-shore lines. These can help keep rats from walking aboard from infested ports.
  8. In new boat construction - use modern design features to beat rodents.
  9. Use traps - Out-smart the Rats - Catch Them!


  • Use a combination of snap traps, sticky boards, and poison bait boxes for best results.
  • Place traps in dark areas against walls (along their travel paths).
  • Place traps in areas of food, garbage, and freight storage.
  • SET TRAPS with TRIGGER NEXT TO WALL. A double set (side by side) boosts your chances for success.
  • Regularly check the traps to make sure they are set, in good condition, and baits fresh. Surprisingly, moldy bait is less effective.
  • Extend the life of snap traps by wire brushing and oiling springs if rusty.

When you catch a live rodent, NEVER throw it overboard. They are excellent swimmers and may reach land.