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Old 04-23-2013
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Switching from marine head to porta potty

Mr. cthoops (aka Pegu Club) and I are the new owners of a 1975 Bristol Corsair 24' 7" (our first boat).

The boat came with a manual marine head and never-used holding tank, but we want to remove the holding tank and head and switch to a port potty. We like to keep things simple, and having a couple of less thruhulls is appealing. Given that it's never been used, we figure this is the perfect time to do it.

Is this a difficult job, or is it something that a couple of newbies can do? Approximately how long can it take? Most importantly, can someone point me to a link or even a book that would describe how to do this?

Thanks!
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Old 04-23-2013
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Re: Switching from marine head to porta potty

Really ?
Have you ever carried a full porta-potty to a head and dumped it? Familiar with the expression "Gag a vulture off a gut wagon"?
I spent half my life dreaming of the day I'd have a boat big enough to have a real head, don't remove it.
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Old 04-23-2013
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Re: Switching from marine head to porta potty

I can appreciate the desire to simplify. The prospect of tearing apart the head on my boat to rebuild it really isn't something that I'm thrilled with But, as Capttpb said, dumping the port-a-potty really isn't something I'm thrilled with, either. In the end, I'd rather rebuild the head every few years and handle the "mess" via a pump-out rather than having to carry a feces and urine filled port-a-potty to whatever location it needs to go to before I can dump it. But that's just my opinion. If you do decide to switch, do your best to keep the tank, etc. in place for the next owner. There may even be a way of plugging up the thru-hull without permanently glassing it over that would still address your concern.
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Re: Switching from marine head to porta potty

I know that people have strong opinions re: marine heads vs porta potties, and my intent wasn't to rekindle that debate. I'm just looking for info on removing the tank and head. It looks like a fairly simple procedure from what I've seen. Cut the hoses, take out the tank, repeat with head. Is that true, or am I missing something?
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Why a port a potty rather than a composting head? Best of both worlds (and better than both in some ways). That's what I intend to replace the port a potty with on my boat eventually.
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Re: Switching from marine head to porta potty

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Originally Posted by Rhys05 View Post
Why a port a potty rather than a composting head? Best of both worlds (and better than both in some ways). That's what I intend to replace the port a potty with on my boat eventually.
The composting head is actually our first choice, but we're not sure it's going to fit height-wise. We'll be doing some measuring when we go down to the boat this weekend.
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Old 04-23-2013
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Re: Switching from marine head to porta potty

there's nothing too it, pull it all out throw it away, fill the holes next time you haul out. I use a bucket and always will. All heads stink.
PS I've yet to have a single girl aboard that wouldn't use the bucket.
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Re: Switching from marine head to porta potty

Might affect re-sale value. Anyway, if you look up filling holes in boats with fiberglass, epoxy, backing plates covering the holes. Cost of hauling boat and launching, store on land cost, labor cost, materials. Don Casey's books are a possibility.
The hoses are really tuff and strong and so are the thru hulls and your life may depend on a good job done by somebody in sealing the hole.
..Is there anything that bothers you about the holding tank ? Where are you going to dump the porta potti ?
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Old 04-24-2013
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Re: Switching from marine head to porta potty

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Originally Posted by sidney777 View Post
..Is there anything that bothers you about the holding tank ? Where are you going to dump the porta potti ?
It's not the holding tank itself, it's just that (to me) the whole system is unnecessary.

I don't believe the boat was originally designed with one to begin with so the whole system needed to be kind of jury rigged. The holding tank takes up quite a bit of what is already limited storage, it doesn't seem to be in the best location (aft of amidships with the head in the vberth), the hoses, the thruhulls, the winterizing, etc.

I'm the kind of girl who has no problem using a lady j and a water bottle when I have to pee, so frankly between that and the marina heads, I doubt the porta potty will get much use anyway. Given all of that, it seems easier overall to just get rid of the system.

The marina has a portable pumpout and dump station, and bathrooms.
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Re: Switching from marine head to porta potty

I personally don't have the problems with a porta-pottie as others here do. They actually are pretty easily maintained... so I don't really get the stigma...

HOWEVER, a head with a holding tank is a good thing (in my opinion of course)... the ONLY reason I'd kill myself removing it, would be if pump out facilities are hard to find (which is my case)...

As far as removing it... your biggest problem is the through hull. You can leave the holding tank and cork it (but it may be just as easy to remove). Cutting out all the hoses is pretty straightforward. The through hull can be stoppered for now (if the boat is in the water)... then again at next haul out you can affect repairs on your schedule. Honestly, I think the job is doable by a noob... just have to be thorough. Also be prepared to haul the boat back out if it fails on relaunch!

Again, I wouldn't remove a functioning head with a holding tank for a porta pottie (because of the work)... but if it's because pump-outs are hard to get to... then by all means.

As far as not having any women aboard that wouldn't use a bucket... well, that MAY be but he also might not have had many aboard! or ones that came back! PP and Head is a little more civilized at least.
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