One of the downsides to being on a boat is all that water can bring on an urge to use the toilet, and it’s a slightly more complicated issue than when on land. Fortunately, there are several solutions to this problem, but many of these solutions can seem quite complicated to first-time boat owners. This guide will explain the benefits and downsides of each system and help you discover which system is best for you.
This is the most basic solution and is similar to the portaloo concept. Think of it as a tank that stores the waste, and when full, you take it away to empty into a land toilet. They normally have a foot or hand pump to activate the refillable flush system, which passes the waste into the portable tank. It is a practical solution for some boats as there are no external connections required for installation. It is a common choice for small boats that don’t stay at sea for long trips.
Manual Marine Head
A manual marine head is a porcelain bowl making it very easy to keep clean. There is a hand-operated pump that flushes the bowl clean with raw water, so it does require some connecting. You have to manually activate the flushing mechanism by pumping up to draw water into the bowl, and then down to push the waste into the discharge elbow. You may need to pump a few times to expel all of the waste.
An electric head takes away the waste without needing the manual pumping action. It is operated by a button that causes water to expel the waste into a holding tank. There are many different types of electric pumps, but the main idea is that water will dilute the waste down, and then suction will push the waste into the tank. It is similar to the manual pump but removes the need for the manual flushing.
Compost and Incinerating Head
With all of the pumps above, the waste cannot be discharged overboard. It needs to be sent to a holding tank and can be emptied when back on land. If you plan long trips at sea, there is an eco-friendly option instead of the holding tank. A compost or incinerating head treats the waste onboard and then minimises the need to empty the tank as often. This solution is a lot more complex than the others and requires some special hoses, different types of valves, and a venting system. Over time the waste is treated so it can be ideal for longer trips at sea when it might not be practical to empty a tank so often.
Leesan sells a wide range of marine heads in their online store, and can help you find the best option for your boat. For short trips or small boats, a portable head, manual head, or electric head would probably suffice. For longer journeys, a compost or incinerating head might be the best choice.