PORTA POTTI - A 'no no' or 'okay' for cruising? - Page 2 - SailNet Community

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  #11  
Old 05-30-2012
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Re: PORTA POTTI - A 'no no' or 'okay' for cruising?

If you are doing serious cruising (even just in the Bahamas or eastern Caribbean) you will rarely be in a marina. In many places there aren't even marinas if you did want to pay the money so there is no where to dump a PP. We are currently visiting a marina in Bundaberg, Oz and they have signs indicating no dumping of PP since the chemicals used are bad for the septic system. If you are at anchor for a period of weeks or months having to find places to dump could quickly become a major annoyance (way beyond an inconvience).

BTW, very few places that have no overboard discharge rules have pumpout facilities. People do one of two things - they either have the ability to pump-out their holding tanks when well away from shore (or at least the no discharge zone) or they just ignore the rule in the first place. I suspect there are many more of the latter since few people have indicated to us that they have holding tanks.

A slight diversion from the topic - the best place I have seen for making sure that sewage does not get into the water is Mystic/Noank CT. They have a free pumpout boat that comes to your boat. If towns/cities are really serious about the problem you need something like this. Otherwise you need an entire generation of boaters to get used to the idea of going to a pumpout station - and the stations have to work. End of rant.
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  #12  
Old 05-30-2012
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Re: PORTA POTTI - A 'no no' or 'okay' for cruising?

I have been in a fair number of marinas that have signs posted in or near the restrooms that prohibit emptying porta potties. We had one over 30 years ago. It had to come home to empty. Not ideal.

Since porta potti tanks are not like ventilated, biologically alive spetic/holding tanks, odor control is an entirely different matter and usually done by nuking it with chemicals.

The only way to cruise is with a properly installed and maintained holding tank. You just need to know and follow the rules to make one work properly.
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  #13  
Old 05-30-2012
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Re: PORTA POTTI - A 'no no' or 'okay' for cruising?

A notable example is Block Island which has a pumpout boat that constantly cruises around the harbor, asking if you need a pumpout. They make it simple. The harbor is clean now. It wasn't clean 40 years ago when everyone had direct discharge heads and jumping in the water meant looking that no turds were directly below. It seems to me, municipalities that benefit greatly from boat traffic, if they are actually serious about keeping crap out of the water, should be compelled to do this. If getting pumped out is a major PITA, you know people are going to figure out how to dump wherever and whenever they can. If at anchor somewhere for any length of time with more than one or two people aboard, even large holding tanks are going to fill up often and become a problem. Putting a small outboard with a tank into operation is a miniscule expense for any town deriving major revenues from sailors.

I took the old direct discharge head out and replaced it with a USCG porta-pottie with a pump out deck fitting. It works and I'm usually offshore enough to dump outside the limit. It's OK for the time being but I can see where it could be a problem in the future. There really is no good place I can find to put a decent sized holding tank much bigger than the one on the MSD, other than to use up half my largest locker.
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Re: PORTA POTTI - A 'no no' or 'okay' for cruising?

my boat is currently near the head waters of the tenn. river,this river comes from several moutainous streams and one would think the water would be near pristine but it contains some of the nastiest water i've seen,a dock line accidently left hanging overboard for a couple of days looks like something you don't want to handle,i can remember on some occasions the city of knoxville's wastewater plant malfuntioned and several millons of raw sewage was dumped untreated into this river,large houseboats are common here and i seldom see them getting pumped out,there are also lots of small fishing,bass and pontoon boats on this river without holding tanks,i wonder what these people who are often on the water for 8-12 hrs do when nature calls! i realize that like litter,every small piece adds up,lots of people swim in this sewer but i wouldn't
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Old 05-30-2012
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Re: PORTA POTTI - A 'no no' or 'okay' for cruising?

If your life is like my life, ask yourself what the odds are that at some point you will trip on a twisted dock board, or overbalance when transferring "the load" from the mothership to the dinghy.
Yeah, that's what I thought.

Now, if your life is REALLY like my life, ask yourself what the odds are that it will happen to your WIFE.

After you get done shuddering at the outcome, you know what you gotta do. Right now.

If you're gonna be a real cruiser on a real boat, get a real boat head.
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Re: PORTA POTTI - A 'no no' or 'okay' for cruising?

I use a porta-potti and think getting rid of the marine head was one of the best things I evr did. With the marine head, I spent more time working on it than all other systems combined. The marine head stank no matter what you did even with new hose. The porta-potti is foolproof. I went over a year without emptying it (weekend use only) and with the right additive it never stank.
Generally, any place with a pump out will also pump out your potti.
I would not hesitate to cruise with a porta-potti, in fact, I do so.
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Old 05-30-2012
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Re: PORTA POTTI - A 'no no' or 'okay' for cruising?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bljones View Post
If your life is like my life, ask yourself what the odds are that at some point you will trip on a twisted dock board, or overbalance when transferring "the load" from the mothership to the dinghy.
Yeah, that's what I thought.

Now, if your life is REALLY like my life, ask yourself what the odds are that it will happen to your WIFE.

After you get done shuddering at the outcome, you know what you gotta do. Right now.

If you're gonna be a real cruiser on a real boat, get a real boat head.
Mr. Jones,
That's pretty funny, but it's not an open 'bucket'. Maybe you've never used a modern PP. They have sealed holding tanks, fit into a canvas shopping bag, and tote just fine.

And honestly, any comments about being a 'real' or 'serious' cruiser...and what absolutes that entails...gives me pause. One of the most common complaints and common projects fellow dock-mates or sailors seem to be dealing with is some disgusting issue with their 'real' head and plumbing. If I'm not going to get stopped at every border because of it, I'd rather deal with some inconveniences than some major debacles down the way.
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Re: PORTA POTTI - A 'no no' or 'okay' for cruising?

I think I've done more cruising than most and I find the Porta-potti to be very practical, even in the Bahamas. Consider, in the Bahamas, you can rarely pump out a marine head so what do you do? You would pump it overboard. With a Porta-potti, you can empty it in a toilet with caution. Any place that will pump a marine head will pump a porta-potti, If necessary, you COULD empty it overboard but I have NEVER had to do so.
Simplify your life and minimize costs and get a porta-potti.
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Re: PORTA POTTI - A 'no no' or 'okay' for cruising?

You will carry water and fuel to and from the boat far more often than your porta-potti yet that does not make you from worry about tripping.
My porta-potti also serves as an indication that I am heeling too much. It has brackets that hold it in place bit it can tip just a bit. When I see it tipping, I reduce sail.
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Re: PORTA POTTI - A 'no no' or 'okay' for cruising?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SailMonkey View Post
Maybe you've never used a modern PP. They have sealed holding tanks, fit into a canvas shopping bag, and tote just fine.

.
Hey, if you're perfectly happy toting a canvas shopping bag of human waste on a regular basis, be my guest.

But if that was the case, would you have started this thread in the first place?





The honest-to-neptune old school jabsco head on my boat is over 15 years old. In the five years we have had her, our total maintenance has been...

...zero.

No hoses to replace, no gaskets to fix, no valves to rebuild, even though our winterization has occasionally been suspect and the boat is stored on the hard uncovered in winter.

A little baby oil in the bowl from time to time and a spoonful of sugar once a month or so takes care of any odor issues.

When you hear about those who have had major issues with marine heads, ask them why. Chances are you will discover that somebody didn't bother to read the freakin' instructions- didn't flush it properly, disposed of something they shouldn't, or inherited a problem, and the head was a symptom of a great deal of other deferred maintenance or ill maintained aspects of the boat.

Meanwhile, friends of ours who bought a powerboat with a porta-potti head couldn't figure out why the underside of the aft cabin mattress was always wet and stinky- turns out there was a crack in the holding tank from a PO's overzealous fastening of hold down brackets, leading to leakage whenever the boat planed with the tank more than 1/4 full.the leaking liquid would run back under the aft bulkhead into the aft cabin to be absorbed by the mattress. When the boat came off plane, the leak stopped, making it a difficult problem to trace...for weeks.
When they finally discovered the cause behind the sodden aft cabin bedding their daughter wigged right the hell out and refused to sleep in "the cave" any longer, they sold the boat and divorced shortly thereafter. Not saying the last two events were connected but...
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