Ah, the majestic sea lions, nature’s lethargic, barking piles of blubber, who — like a pack of sun-starved, snowbird tourists — can turn docks into lounge chairs and laze in the sun for hours. Sure, this might be an unflattering description of one of God’s creatures (both sea lions and tourists), but there’s no doubt that pinnipeds and sailors’ habitats have a tendency to overlap.
What have been your experiences when sea lions get a little too close, or too possessive of the docks?
Case in point:
Earlier this year, Steve Gann of the Monterey-based Cal 40 Boomer wrote to describe what he called a growing problem not just with sea lions, but with their inevitable excrement. Gann said sea lion poop is toxic and discolors docks.
Sea lion droppings also inspire hilarious signage. Case in point:
Earlier this year we put in a call to the Monterey harbormaster, who reminded us that sea lions are transient, and tend to come and go with the food they’re chasing. While Steve Gann said he believed that there was an increase in the population, the harbormaster could neither confirm nor deny that was true
For those of us who grew up in the Bay Area in the ’70s and ’80s, when the Bay was filthy and polluted, we see the proliferation of sea life as a positive sign of a healthy ecosystem. But when is nature just a little too robust, potentially crossing lines both literal and metaphorical, and potentially causing conflict with humans?
Case in point, Freya the Walrus:
Are sea lions (and/or their poop) a problem in your neck of the water? What deterrents does your marina use to ward off pinnipeds?
On a delivery to Ventura in 2020, we saw plastic “statues” of dogs on the dock to dissuade sunbathing sea lions, as well as ropes, anchored by orange five-gallon Home Depot buckets, running the length of a dock. NOAA says, “There is no single non-lethal deterrence method known to be universally effective in discouraging pinnipeds from engaging in problem behaviors. Nevertheless, [some] methods and techniques have been found useful, in some circumstances, for deterring nuisance animals that are damaging property, fishing gear, or catch.”
Please comment below with your experiences, observations, etc. If you have any pictures of trespassing pinnipeds, please send them here.