row2k Features
Boathouse Hacks
Anti-Goose Buckets
October 3, 2013
row2k hackers

The goose bucket hack explained

Is the dock at your club or school the favorite hang-out of the local, no-longer-so-migratory goose population? If so, then we bet folks at your place have tried all manner of ways to goose-proof the dock, but here is one of the simplest ways to run an "anti-goose" line that turns your low, and very inviting, dock into a hassle for the geese: grab a few Home Depot buckets and some rope or string. By setting the buckets at the corners of the dock, and at tight enough intervals to keep the rope taut, you will have yourself a high-vis goose dissuading system--and a cleaner, more poop-free dock--in no time.

There are any number of goose-roofing hacks out there (see below*), but the bucket trick is simple, quick, and surprisingly effective. The buckets themselves, in addition to being really visible so crews can watch out for them as they land, help anchor the line as they fill--or get filled--with water, the rope can be easily attached to the handle if you don't feel like adding the step of drilling through the plastic, and said handle makes it easy to lift the buckets up and away from the edge when the time comes to launch crews.

Sure, these particular orange buckets, while cheap, are a bit garish, but you can substitute other colors like white, or paint the buckets up in your club's colors--and, of course, you are really in luck with this hack if your school's colors happen to include a close match for "Home Depot orange." Even if you think the buckets are an unsightly addition to the waterfront view, let's just remember that anything beats a dock full of goose-poop.

Some good tweaks for this hack would include tying streamers to the line to make it a bit more "active" in the breeze and even more discouraging to would-be avian squatters. You can also skip on using water to anchor the buckets, if that might be a bit too mosquito-friendly for your neck of the woods. Instead, you can weight the buckets with some gravel instead, drilling some drain holes in the bottom to keep the buckets holding water and becoming breeding grounds for any other natural pests.

No goose-proof hack is truly 100% effective: the geese, after all, get used to just about any deterrent and there is that window we leave them during practice time to sneak in and get comfortable while the goose defenses are down. Still, a "goose-line" like the one you can make with this bucket hack will keep most geese away, and give you a fighting chance to keep up with the leavings that do make their way onto the dock.

*Just for the (Hack) record, we have heard of some truly elaborate anti-goose poop hacks over the years, and that list would include the "winch-able line" that pulls up a whole dock's worth of line up out of the water at once, the motion activated sprinkler system we spotted along the Charles, a PVC pipe version of the bucket trick (which works really well on those plastic modular docks), a "well, it must be true" story of a club that uses recorded predator sounds that play on a loop all night long, and we've caught rumors of a place that may--or may not!--have tried using low-voltage "cow-wire" to make the surface of the dock a bit too uncomfortable for the local water fowl. We figured we'd start off with these Anti-Goose Buckets--an easy classic--but we promise to spend a few future columns on the truly inventive anti-poop strategies people have hacked up over the years.

Got a sure-fire goose-proofing strategy to keep your dock poop-free? Share your tips--and hacks--in the comments below.

Have a great rowing hack to suggest for future inclusion here? Send it to us!

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04/05/2015  7:59:32 AM
I found a product that acted the same was as this one did. It created a perimeter around the dock with some type of line, and this type of setup seems to work VERY well against geese. The problem with the buckets is that they need to be heavy in order to keep them from blowing away, which could be difficult to move pending on your strength. Also, the buckets are a big eye sore. The product I found is located at this webpage -

I have spent hundreds of dollars on fancy products, silhouettes, and anything else you can think of to keep the geese and their poop off my dock. Once i found this product, i was sold!

It was significantly cheaper than the other products I found, it took less than 1 hour to assemble, and then I was able to dismantle the perimeter and put it back up within 60 seconds. It was a very simple and effective idea, that wasn't a large eye sore like those big orange buckets.

I highly recommend this to anyone with a dock and a goose problem. Stop shoveling that poop on your dock and set up a simple perimeter.

04/21/2014  2:57:50 PM
On the Mystic River in Somerville, MA we have geese, ducks and swans to deal with. This standard goose line does not work. The geese and ducks simply go under and the swans walk over it. And if you've ever cleaned up swan poop, you know how disgusting that is. However, we found something that works. Use the buckets and rather than rope use flag rope. (  It's either the motion of the flags in the wind or the flags themselves appear to make the dock a solid wall. 4 weeks into our season and the all the waterfowl have stayed away.

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