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CaptainForce 10-20-2007 03:02 PM

Composting Marine Heads
I have seen two liveaboard vessels with newly installed "Air Head" marine composting toilets, but I haven't found anyone with experience to evaluate their performance over time with more than short term use. Are there any "Air Head" users out there with advice? Let us know,-Aythya crew

Lancer28 10-30-2007 10:09 AM

Oh man!

I saw one of these yesterday. It was misused / poorly maintained and it reeked so bad the entire inside of the yacht was spoiled.

I've spoke to a couple of other owners that say the pee-bottle catcher is good for about 80 wizzes (and I heard something about SUGAR in the tank to reduce smell). They also told me you don't have to empty one for years, if only a couple used it. The only BAD feedback I really heard about them is the vent line, and if you catach a breeze from it, you'll want to barf. I have heard nothign about parts, but I would check on the little fan in there and see how easy it looks to replace.

I don't know man. It's a toss up in my book; do I want a sloshing tank of goop I can flush out into the sea or pump at a station when I'm sailing inland, or ferry around 30 pounds of years old poo?

chucklesR 10-30-2007 10:19 AM

I don't have one. Many of my fellow Gemini owners have installed them and I've seen (and not smelled :) ) them. I want one, and will install one once I get to it on my list of upgrades. I just wish someone made a marine head with a house sized seat.

The simple fact is two less holes/through hulls in my boat is to be applauded. Properly installed these can not smell, clog or break, and especially can not sink your boat. Who can say that about a holding tank?

pegasus1457 10-30-2007 10:59 AM


Originally Posted by Lancer28 (Post 214317)
I don't know man. It's a toss up in my book; do I want a sloshing tank of goop I can flush out into the sea or pump at a station when I'm sailing inland, or ferry around 30 pounds of years old poo?

The claim of the composting toilet manufacturers is that the solid waste decomposes in a matter of days into a non-odorous powder that can be disposed of (in the garden if you have one) without any unpleasantness.
Where does the "years old poo" idea come from?

Cruisingdad 10-30-2007 11:06 AM

All I can say is: GROOSSEE!

Lancer28 10-30-2007 11:58 AM

Well, it is poo.... no matter how you look at it, dried or wet, powdered or fresh squeezed. They also say you shouldn't have to empty it for years if you were so inclined, which was why I mentioned years of it.

Personally, I'm perfectly happy not bagging it to take home to a garden. Cavemen pooped in the water and washed off, I bet. Fish poop in the water, land animals and fowl poop there too. Why is people poop so much worse, that I would need to bag it up and cart it home in the trunk of our Benz or Subaru? Fertilizer can be bought from a store, and if it was the money saving issue, you can compost in your own backyard in most municipalities.

With that said, I'm sure there is a market for the toilet with people who don't want to put two holes for a head in the hull, have to move the boat from it's slip to go to the pumping station or actually sail it and dump the head tank, or simply feel like the composting idea is contributing to the green world.

Bottom line IMO, to each their own!

snider 06-05-2008 09:06 PM

Old thread.
I know this is an old thread but I'm faced with a partially finished head/holding tank installation I inherited from the previous owner. I have a holding tank and two thru-hulls with a vent. No toilet, diaphram pump, anti-siphon or y valves. I've been reading about composting heads, specifically the Natures head

I figure it would be nice to get rid of two holes in my boat and this system is basically a head and storage system all in one. I have a 25 foot boat I plan to liveaboard when I finish the refit and I would gain a lot of space under the v-berth where the tank and valves are.

Does anyone have any updated experience with these units?
They do seem expensive for what they are, basically a bucket with two compartments to separate solids and liquids with a hook up for a vent on the side. Thanks Brandon

KeelHaulin 06-05-2008 09:46 PM


Originally Posted by pegasus1457 (Post 214347)
The claim of the composting toilet manufacturers is that the solid waste decomposes in a matter of days into a non-odorous powder

If I were living aboard, or just onboard I would not want to wait "a matter of days" for it to stop smelling each time I used it. That's regardless of if the vent works or not. Our neighbors have a "honey tank" sitting on the dock and sometimes the smell is enough to knock you over and I'd really hate to have to live with that kind of smell aboard my boat on a daily basis. I know... They say it should not smell but poo mixed with air generally leads to one thing... STINK! (at least until it dries out)

I tend to agree with Lancer28; what's the difference between human, fish, bird, or seal/sea-lion poo? 100+ sea-lions hauled out on docks pooing in the water and on themselves in an abandoned marina at Pier 39; yet it's illegal to pump any human waste overboard on the other side where boats are berthed? A few months back there was a huge spill of sewage into Richardson Bay here in SF (a designated No-Discharge Zone); millions of gallons of untreated sewage. The water was considered clean 1 week after the spill. If that's the case; why is it that boats are considered "polluters" if waste is dumped within 3 miles of shore? Maybe it's to prevent large scale dumping by cruise ships near shore or inland?

Why is it that with "sanitizing" system like an 'LectraSan is OK to dump sewage into the water where it would otherwise be illegal (not in an NDZ but inland)? Seems like poo is poo regardless of if it has been sterilized, no?

We follow all of the USCG regs; but wonder what would the actual impact be if there were not discharge regs.

camaraderie 06-05-2008 09:59 PM

The sanitizing systems actually produce cleaner effluent than the municipal sewer systems are allowed to dump into the water. So they are allowed the same privileges as the municipalities except in NDZ's which at least are supposed to be places where insufficient flow/dillution make no dischatges acceptable...though this NDZ designation is being widely abused by "greens" and political hacks.

KeelHaulin 06-06-2008 12:25 AM

So my poo needs to be "cleaner" than that sea-lion poo; so when the fish eat everyones poo (yes fish eat LOTS of poo) the "clean" poo I send overboard is the preferred poo? :D :D

I understand the need to treat/clean large volumes like from municipal sweage treatment; but isn't the sewage from recreational boats a drop in the ocean by comparison?

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