Pooping on the boat is a HUGE question for most people. Here’s the down and dirty.
Our boat has a working head. Which is awesome. A head, for those of you who may not know, is boat-speak for toilet/bathroom. Since I’m pretty sure you all understand the basic biology of pooping, I won’t write about that here. But, I will explain our bathroom processes. Also, I’ve included links so you can get an idea about what the parts look like in case you’re curious. They’re all Amazon links so everything is fresh and clean and no grossness!
But in case you’re curious about poop, check out this book The Truth About Poop. It will tell you more than I can!
Here’s the process. We have a button on the wall rather than a lever on the toilet. This button activates a couple of things. It pumps sea water in, activates the macerator and pumps the poop to the Lectra-San system and then on out.
So, we do our thing, wipe, press the button, the macerator makes it’s terrible noise (it’s really loud!), the water swirls around the bowl, the stuff get sucked down, chewed up, sanitized and then pumped out.
A macerator is a great contraption. It basically “chews” up the poop and toilet paper and mixes it with the sea water so it can be pumped through easily.
We do not have a waste holding tank. We have a sanitizing system in the Lectra-San. Coast Guard regulations don’t allow for waste to be flushed off the boat without treatment, at least here in the harbor. There may be other regulations when one is underway or otherwise off-shore. Ironically, we could poop in a bucket (and I have friends that do) and dump it directly overboard with no legal issues. But, put that poop in a toilet and suddenly it’s a whole different issue.
Click the links for the Lectra-San to get an idea of what it looks like and note the costs! I am NOT excited to have to replace it when the time comes!
Our toileting hasn’t exactly been drama free. We’ve had some mechanical issues. We had an impeller fail. Twice. The impeller (click link to see what one looks like) is a surprisingly important piece of the assembly! We have gone without a toilet it more than once as we’ve had to troubleshoot and then get repairs made.
Of course, what does one do when the toilet is out of commission?? Ah yes. An Alaskan standby comes into play. Ye olde honey bucket. If you’ve watched Buying Alaska, you’ve probably got an idea about what I mean! Don’t know what a honey bucket is? A honey bucket is essentially an outhouse. At the top of the ramps at our harbor, there are port-a-potties. When our toilet is out of commission, we use that. It is no fun trudging up the dock and ramp in the cold, windy weather of fall or spring! Even less so when you have to wait outside because one of your kids is too young to go by himself!
(Outhouses are a big deal and a reality up here. There’s even books about them!)
Super fun, eh? Out bathroom is REALLY small, so it’s funny, but the honey bucket feels quite spacious. And there is absolutely no worry that one is using too much toilet paper! (Yes, that is definitely a worry I have!) And, there is no worry that someone isn’t flushing long enough to get all the stuff OUT of the system. (Yes, that’s a worry as well.) But, I still prefer the warmth of my little boat to the cold honey bucket!