How to Get Rid of Fish Smell on Your Boat

By Debbie Hanson

Oct 29, 2019

List of tips on how to get rid of fish smell on your boat, including how to get rid of fishy smell in boat areas like your anchor locker, hatches, more

You love fishing, but don't want your boat to smell like one for days after your angling adventures. What can you do if you want to learn how to get rid of fish smell on your boat? Check out these five handy tips for "destinkifying" your vessel.

  1. Open doors, hatches, and compartments to let fresh air to circulate throughout your boat. When maintaining a boat, you always want to be mindful of proper ventilation. Ventilation issues are a primary cause of boat odors and they are generally relatively easy to remedy.
  2. You can fill a large glass bowl with activated charcoal or make your own deodorizers. Activated charcoal is sold in loose granule form, so you can use it anywhere to remove strong fishy odors. Fill cheesecloth or another breathable material with the granules, tie it closed with a string, and place it in the areas in need of air freshening.
  3. Another helpful tip that covers how to get rid of fishy smell in boat areas where the odor is particularly strong, involves the use of white vinegar. Try pouring some white vinegar into a bowl, and then let it sit out for a few hours on a countertop. White vinegar is an effective natural deodorizer that is non-toxic.
  4. One of the best boat maintenance tips you can use for removing fish odors from boat carpeting is to sprinkle it with a dusting of baking soda, let it soak in for several hours or overnight, and then vacuum it up. Be sure to check with the boat manufacturer before using any type of cleaning agent on your boat carpeting or upholstery.
  5. Clean your anchor locker and fishing tackle. Your anchor locker can often be a source of fishy odors, particularly if you throw a cast net. Baitfish can slip into the anchor locker, the line gets wet, and the chain is usually gets covered in sand or muck. If you are learning how to boat, keep in mind that a thorough cleaning of your anchor line, your anchor locker's interior, and your terminal tackle will help reduce foul odors.

It's not hard to take care of your boat and learn how to get rid of fishy smell in boat areas that are stinky. When it comes to figuring out anything from how to get rid of fish smell to how to register your boat online, there are plenty of resources available to you.

Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.