Boat toilets

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: Humanure Composting Around the World: Boat toilets
Author: qlg7n1k@dmoz.org
Tuesday, August 01, 2006 - 11:45 am
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Author: Pat Vance
Monday, May 26, 2003 - 5:16 pm
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Hello
My husband and I have a 30-foot boat that we intend to live on. We are looking for an alternative to traditional marine toilets which are extremely uneco-friendly. Does anyone know about placing composting toilets on boats? We will be limited in size and will not be able to use a typical compost pile. Thanks

Author: Anonymous
Tuesday, May 27, 2003 - 8:28 pm
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If you're not to far from shore maybe you could rent some land to have a composting system.

Author: Greg Roscoe
Monday, September 22, 2003 - 11:11 am
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re: boat toilets

Good for you. Thinking about it is the first step. I have a 30' sail boat myself and have been thinking about the boat composter for several years. I am determined to get my own prototype going this year. Here are some of my thoughts on what's out there and not.

There are several commercial models that claim to be adaptable for boats (Envirolet and Sunmar). I almost plopped money down for the Sunmar but even though I own the most popular 30' sail boat in the world (a Catalina 30) it wouldn't fit without serious chain saw level modifications to the head which I was unwilling to do. In fairness, size will be an issue for boats in the 30' range, but I don't think its insurmountable.

One area that I believe both manufacturers have inadequately dealt with is urine management. There are other systems (like Airheads) that use a urine diversion approach and essentially dessicate the fecal material. I really believe that for a successful boating toilet alternative, the right system must deal with urine and feces as a batch system that succesfully deals with both space and electrical limitations and yields an odor free process that won't drive you from the head or your cockpit (I have heard of some approaches where the head is vented through the mast).

There is also an incinerating toilet that claims to be adaptable to boats. I haven't heard much about how well it works but it doesn't interest me.

So, right now your options are to try one of the commercially available models but be aware you may still need to deal with excess urine, (could collect in a bottle for later disposal), composting capacity and space constraints. Or, you could experiment with your own design (its not rocket science but there are things to factor in).

This is a huge policy issue. Pump outs are a mythical policy option that is broke and doesn't work for the masses. Onboard treatment systems are not always mechanically reliable and can be energy intensive and are more and more being limited by government designated no discharge zones.

There is an interesting article in the Sept/Oct issue of Boating Industry called "The EPA in NDZs? Boatings Dirty Secret" which I think is very illuminating.

I would be happy to share my experiences as I get my own prototype worked up and hopefully on my own boat.

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