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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 06-16-2011
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Marine Head Tank install?

In looking for a boat to live aboard, I'm concerned about the every day tasks that I take advantage of now, mainly "taking care of business." I have to cast aside all my lady-like tendencies and dash into the nitty-gritty here, so my apologies to the overly sensitive. But we all must do it, right? What goes in must come out.

So. One of the boats I have on my "maybe" list, is a 1975 30' Newport Sloop, with ten gallon fresh water tank, and a marine head that needs a holding tank. I'm new to the boating scene, and hoped someone could educate me on how difficult it is to swap or install new tanks. I'm planning on anchoring out in the summer, so I really want a boat with a crap-holding tank, if you will. Also, ten gallons of fresh water seems a bit small to me, considering I'll be cooking and doing my dishes aboard, washing hands, and cycling water through my little throne.

Anyone ever swapped tanks before or had to install a poo-holding tank?
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Old 06-16-2011
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Installing a new holding tank is not the toughest job in the world, and it's much less revolting than replacing an old, leaky one. Peggy Hall is considered the guru of MSDs. Here is a page of her wisdom that is probably as good a place to "dive into" this topic as any.

A few things I would advise: first, many of the problems associated with MSDs are due to the hoses, rather than the tanks themselves. Get the best hose you can, always use a bit of extra flushing to clear as much waste out of the toilet to tank hose as possible, and try not of have any sags in any of the waste hoses (so water drains back into the tank, rather than setting in the hose long term). Second, if at all possible situate the tank so that it only has fittings on the top surface; any fitting with fluid pushing against it 24/7 is bound to leak sooner or later. Third, make sure your holding tank has TWO vents to allow a free exchange of fresh air and keep the contents as aerobic as possible. Fourth, always empty and rinse the holding tank ASALP (as soon as legally possible).

You might also consider a freshwater flushing system, or going the composting toilet route. The former can help reduce odors, particularly if the thru-hull for the flush water is a long run from the toilet. Many folks swear by the latter, but it takes a bit of a different frame of mind.
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Last edited by SlowButSteady; 06-16-2011 at 07:50 PM.
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Old 06-16-2011
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Ten gallons of fresh water is not much. Most 30 footers will have 20 to 40 gallons. And putting in a holding tank is a bit time consuming but not a difficult job. I've done it. Biggest problem will be finding a suitable tank that will fit in the available space you have. All the major marine suppliers carry a variety of plastic tanks for water storage and holding.
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Old 06-16-2011
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SlowButSteady,
Good to know about the holding tank. I've asked the broker how large the tank needs to be. I agree, I'd much rather put a new tank in then have to change out an old, smelly, nasty used tank.

JimsCAL,
Yes, ten gallons seems a pitiful amount considering all I intend to do inside the boat. I'm investigating whether or not this boat can be fitted with a larger tank. 20 gallons seems doable.

Thanks both of you, for your wisdom and advice!
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Old 06-16-2011
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From an old thread ( how to install head? )

a source for tanks
Ronco Plastics - Marine Water Tanks, RV Water Tank, Auto Detail Tanks, Water Tanks

And to comment on installing an underwater thru-hulls while afloat, I've installed a thu-hull log sensor while afloat. It takes two, one in the water and one in the boat. The person in the boat drills the hole until the person in the detects the bit penetrating the hull. The person in the water puts a plumber's helper (plunger) over the hole to be, the drilling continues until the hole is made. Remove the plunger, install the bedded thru-hull in the hole. We did it with fewer than two gallons of water getting into the boat. No big deal.
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Old 06-16-2011
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I recently installed a new holding tank in mine, too. The boat never had one, so I installed it from scratch and had to design a mount to hold it where I installed it. You can check out some pics here: Sailing Vessel Footprints ¬Ľ Blog Archive Ľ More Work on the Head

It was mostly time consuming to figure out where it should go, decide about routing the additional hoses, etc. This is one place where I did not want to cut corners. You want easy access to all the connections just in case something happens. Think it through several times before you get into actually installing it.

I also installed a macerator with it, and I recommend that. I don't have a pump-out routed, and am not sure if I want one, but you probably will if you are going to live aboard and have your boat at a marina. We are always heading a ways offshore, so we can pump out the tank as frequently as needed.

Other additions that are on my website are a shower sump, which if you don't have one and the shower drains into the bilge, you should consider installing. It will help keep the bilge dry and help keep down the "boat smell" that can creep in on you. Within a few weeks I also decided to install a new toilet and all new hoses. It wasn't very expensive, and it was well worth the effort, which was really minimal. Now the head has NO smell with the exception of the soap that we have sitting in a tray. Makes it really nice when we have people aboard and not have to worry!
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knothead has a spectacular aura about knothead has a spectacular aura about knothead has a spectacular aura about
Quote:
Originally Posted by SlowButSteady View Post
or going the composting toilet route. The former can help reduce odors, particularly if the thru-hull for the flush water is a long run from the toilet. Many folks swear by the latter, but it takes a bit of a different frame of mind.

Yeah, like a sane one.
Why anyone thinks it a good idea to have a sloshing cesspool of sewage under their cabin sole is beyond me.
Why anyone thinks it a good idea to have a toilet that can get clogged up by an oversize wad of toilet paper is beyond me.
Why anyone would think that it's a good idea to have two or three holes in their boat so that they can install a stinky MSD is beyond me.

Composting is the wave of the future. Or should I say the past, since it's only been going on since the dawn of civilization.
It's simple, foolproof and natural. Why complicate something as basic as dealing with poop? Oh yeah, it's that "frame of mind thing".
Fecophobia is alive and well.
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Apologies for my insanity.
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1969 Crealock/Columbia 36 Sloop completely refitted in 2000 and new Yanmar in 2006.

Last edited by tomperanteau; 06-16-2011 at 03:38 PM.
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Old 06-16-2011
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Apologies for me insanity.
No need to apologize, it's not your fault. Blame it on the brainwashing that we've all been exposed to.
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Old 06-16-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knothead View Post
Composting is the wave of the future. Or should I say the past, since it's only been going on since the dawn of civilization.
It's simple, foolproof and natural. Why complicate something as basic as dealing with poop? Oh yeah, it's that "frame of mind thing".
Fecophobia is alive and well.
A composting toilet makes a lot of sense, especially anchoring out. Is this the one you were referring to? Page 4 : Nature's Head, Inc.
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