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  #11  
Old 04-24-2013
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Re: Switching from marine head to porta potty

I suspect that a retro-fitted holding tank on a boat like the OP's is not going to be large enough to flush enough water very many times to maintain a good aerobic bacteria colony and keep the waste line clear. These are mandatory to keep it from smelling. It may be wise not to go there.

If you do remove the hose, I highly recommend removing the brass barb from the thru hull and replacing it with a threaded plug, until you get the chance to glass over the thru hull.

Having grown up on boats with porta pottys, they are objectionable too. They are very messy to empty and many/most marinas will not let you take it in their restroom and flush it. Perhaps the most objectionable feature of a porta potty are the nuclear chemicals that must be added to keep them from smelling aboard. Those chemicals end up in the environment, sewer system or your spectic fields. They were designed to kill the good with the bad. Keeping a holding tank with zero disinfectant chemicals is one of the friendliest environmental approaches. If pumped off shore or pumped out and sent to a municipal treatment plant, it is usually well managed by the environment (exluding some poor muni treatment plants).

I'm not a huge fan of composting heads, but this may be the place for one. It would probably allow more time between emptying. However, bagging up the "partially" decomposed waste in a plastic bag and sending it to a landfill that it not designed for this, is not the friendliest environmental approach. I know that some bring it to composter at their home, but doubt many do.

If the OP or anyone is interested in how to properly manage a holding tank, this is the bible.

Get Rid of Boat Odors: A Boat Owners Guide to Marine Sanitation Systems and Other Sources of Aggravation and Odor: Peggie Hall: 9781892399151: Amazon.com: Books Get Rid of Boat Odors: A Boat Owners Guide to Marine Sanitation Systems and Other Sources of Aggravation and Odor: Peggie Hall: 9781892399151: Amazon.com: Books


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Last edited by Minnewaska; 04-24-2013 at 08:12 AM.
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  #12  
Old 04-24-2013
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Re: Switching from marine head to porta potty

Since I'm in the process of replacing my PortaPotty and going back to the (previously removed) sanitation system, I'd chime in with those who advise keeping your fixed head.

You didn't say what brand you have; rebuild kits are available for most of them.

Even if you decide to remove and replace with a new unit, you can spend as little as $200. for the current Jabso manual models.

One of the most overlooked sources of head odor (other than old, permeated hoses) is the critter growth inside of the water supply. If you are in salt water, adding a fresh water strainer between the thru hull and supply to the head will make a huge difference. This is also applicable to fresh water boats.

If you don't have proper seacocks on the overboard discharge line or inlet line, I'd strongly recommend that you replace those.

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Old 04-24-2013
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Re: Switching from marine head to porta potty

Search "C-Head composting toilet" for what you are looking for: simple and 100 x's better than a porta potty.
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Old 04-24-2013
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Re: Switching from marine head to porta potty

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Knowlton View Post
Search "C-Head composting toilet" for what you are looking for: simple and 100 x's better than a porta potty.
I agree. I recently ordered a C-Head for my PS 37. The original owner had the head plumbed directly overboard and used the holding tank as a spare water tank. I decided to go the composting route. I canít say enough about the excellent support I got from Sandy, the owner. The PS 37 head space is pretty small and I was not sure that the unit would fit. I sent Sandy some pictures and measurements and he offered to modify one of his units (he sells several models) to fit the space. After making a cardboard mock-up with the instructions he provides, it turned out the standard angle back model fit fine. Due to the slight overhang, Sandy made some recommendations for adding a lower support that will be easy to make out of Starboard. I canít provide any feedback on the performance yet (just installed it), but the reviews are very positive. Also, I would not remove the through hulls. You might want them in the future for an AC unit, anchor wash etc.
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Old 04-24-2013
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Re: Switching from marine head to porta potty

I did exactly what you are proposing on my Cal 2-30. In my case, however, the holding bladder and hoses were well used. Also, the boat was hauled out when I bought her, so the first thing I did was remove the two through hulls (drainage, intake) and glass over the holes. Once on the water I proceeded to removing the rest. I won't lie- it was a smelly, disgusting mess that took some doing for one person. The hose to the bladder ran under the V-berth to the port side vanity where the bladder was mounted to the port wall. There was a pump out deck plate above (still there) and a vent above that (also still there) that I removed the hoses from and cleaned thoroughly. The deck plate remains sealed and the vent is now, well, a vent. I made a mess in the cabin when pulling the drain hose out, but my boat is pretty sparse in decor, so I hosed her down pretty good. I put in a Thetford on a home made stand and haven't regretted it. The moment I got rid of all that, my boat smelled different in a good way. Resale value may take a hit, but this is not an investment and in Southern California there are places that frown upon boats with heads that drain into the ocean.
As an aside, I rarely use the head. As a single hander, I have the old 'milk bottle with a line attached' in the laz and a bucket if I should ever need to go #2 (which hasn't happened yet). I use the marina toilet, which is about 100 yards from my slip.
If you have to do it in the water, just close the through hull, remove hoses and carry on until you do haul out.
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Old 04-24-2013
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Re: Switching from marine head to porta potty

Hoops, you had me at lady J, don't listen to the sea monkeys, its your boat do what you want. I used a porta-potty for years and yes there is good and bad. We used vinegar for odor control and cleaned it often. Marine heads are disgusting but so is pooping in general. We use a wag bag for emergency's, bucket and chuck-it when we can and the marine heads the rest of the time. Again you guys made a great choice in your new purchase, keep her simple.
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Old 04-24-2013
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Re: Switching from marine head to porta potty

You don't need any through hulls with a holding tank. You can pull water from a sink drain through hull. If you only use a pump-out then you just need the deck through hull for the pump-out, no underwater through-hulls. For most coastal cruisers there is no advantage to being able to dump overboard, since you can't legally do it in most coastal waters anyway.

A simple marine head + holding tank is barely more complicated than a porta-potty and a lot nicer to empty.
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Check Please !

Quote:
the owner has had it since 1985, and he has kept it in impeccable condition. I mean, this thing is incredible. He has kept up with everything. He even had all of the turnbuckles lubed, cleaned and ready to go for spring in labeled baggies. Even the seacocks are immaculate. No water penetration in the chainplates (he has rebedded everything a few times since he's owned it and always wonders why he's bothered since it's dry), the mahogany and teak is perfect, no soft spots, very little cracking in the gelcoat. He's selling because he's bought a bigger boat and he's going to be staying in the same marina. He said we could call him if we have questions, etc.
In one week, you've gone from this to "I'm gonna remove the new head, hoses and seacocks to **** in a bucket and hand carry my crap in the name of simplicity".
You started out so good, what happened ? Did you forget you got a boat to go sailing and got distracted by a holding tank ? I know you have no reason to respect my opinion, but did you run this idea past the PO. Seems like you kinda respected his opinion a while ago. I'd be willing to abide by his decision.
I'd normally have given up and shut up earlier but I'm feeling optimistic today.
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Re: Switching from marine head to porta potty

Removing the old and putting in a Porta Pot is not difficult. For the way we sail, the Porta is the best system, so that's what we use in our 2007 Catalina 309.

Just a matter of taking the old stuff out one piece at a time. Just remember, there will be times you will want to have safety goggles on and keep your mouth shut and/or wear a disposable face mask. You don't want to be tugging on a hose and have some splash back !!!!!!

In the case of our 309, I took out the toilet but left the holding tank intact to make it easier for me or a subsequent owner to re-install the old system.
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Old 04-24-2013
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Re: Switching from marine head to porta potty

I appreciate the mention of the C-Head by a few posters. I was only aware of Airhead and Nature's Head. A composting toilet is definitely our first choice, so hopefully the smaller size of the C-Head (or the willingness of C-Head's owner to modify) will work in our space.

As I posted earlier, I know that the type of head that people have almost always inspires a vigorous debate. I'm glad it does - that's how we learned about composting toilets as we read posts over the past year. Everyone has their preferred option, from buckets to electronic flushing toilets, and I think that's great as long as a person has a system that they are satisfied with.

I am not particularly concerned with what the prior owner has done in setting up this system. If the rest of the boat is any indication, I'm sure he did a fine job. But in looking at boats on-line for the past year, Mr. cthoops and I have never had a marine head on our "wants" list. In fact, initially we weren't going to look at any boats that had them because we knew we would just end up removing it. I'm glad we changed our minds on that one, or we never would have even seen our boat!

If we remove the system and eventually decide that we made a mistake, then fine. We'll reinstall. Is that an expense I'd rather not have? Sure. But I'd rather remove it when it's never been used vs. ignore our instincts only to end up removing a used one.

Ultimately, it doesn't sound like removing the holding tank and head is a difficult job. Thanks for the feedback!
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