SailNet Community banner

1 - 20 of 88 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
444 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We are seriously considering a composting toilet for our 30ft Pearson. The boat currently has a porta-potti which limits us to about three days usage. Ask me how I know.

Space constraints seem to dictate putting a holding tank either under the v-birth or the dinette, both of which seem conducive to neither romance or dining.

So talk me either into it or out of it. I'd like to here from sailors who have real experience with these composters. The few dock neighbors who have them seem very satisfied with them, but I feel funny asking if I can take one for a test ride.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,892 Posts
Copy the following into the search field on your browser and you'll find tons of opinions and experiences:

site:sailnet.com composting head

I do not have one. In my opinion, they have their place. However, my largest objection is trying to explain to a guest how to use it and what's going on. Clean the skid marks with this spray, no water. I have guests nearly every weekend, not all are into camping.

The composter is a great solution for capacity and disposal, but knowing you're sitting inches from the last dude's doo and you're going to crank yours into it, will be unacceptable to some. Maybe not rational, but true nevertheless.
 
  • Like
Reactions: northoceanbeach

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,892 Posts
....putting a holding tank either under the v-birth or the dinette, both of which seem conducive to neither romance or dining....
Ours in underneath the cabin sole by our dinette. You would never know.

I might be a tad reluctant to put it under the v-berth, only because the possibility of a leak would make that a tough place to sleep.
 

·
Old soul
Joined
·
4,988 Posts
As Minnewaska says, there's lots that have been written about composting heads. I'd recommend you read through some of the recent threads. As someone who actually has one, I'd say yes. But there are real trade offs (and not really the ones Minn mentions).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
80 Posts
Ours in underneath the cabin sole by our dinette. You would never know.

I might be a tad reluctant to put it under the v-berth, only because the possibility of a leak would make that a tough place to sleep.
I own a Pearson 30, under the sole is about 5" deep at the deepest point, right in front of the companionway steps. This space is where all p30's I have seen out the bilge pump. Your answer therefor does not help the OP with his question.
I am considering a composting head for these same reasons, mine is under the v-berth.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
5,921 Posts
One other thing. My wife requests some comments from female users.
We don't have one, but if John suggested going that route I'd be game. I'm pretty much ok with trying anything that won't potentially sink the boat, otherwise be unsafe, or make us the laughingstock of any marina.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
969 Posts
We had a composting head for the last three years of owning our previous boat. The premise of sailing around with a tank full of liquefied waste was never very appealing to us so we were delighted to be rid of the tank, hoses, and the need to find working pump out facilities every so often. Ultimately, though, the “yuck” factor between the composting head and a holding tank ended up being about equivalent in our minds. We had to deal with a couple of fruit fly infestations, which certainly upped that yuck factor. Explaining usage to guests was about the same – if not a little easier for the composting head. There were definitely fewer opportunities for a guest to screw something up. Having to constantly empty the liquid container at first seemed a small price to pay for not having to deal with holding tanks and pump-outs, but it did get old, getting 36-48 hours max between emptyings for two of us. On balance, we wanted to like the composting head, but just didn't see any true advantage over a holding tank system. We sold ours with the previous boat and don’t plan on putting one back in the new boat.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,892 Posts
....Space constraints seem to dictate putting a holding tank either under the v-birth or the dinette........
I own a Pearson 30, under the sole is about 5" deep at the deepest point, right in front of the companionway steps. This space is where all p30's I have seen out the bilge pump. Your answer therefor does not help the OP with his question.....
Placing it under the dinette wasn't my idea.

Further, I was only trying to debunk the notion that having it there would interfere with dining.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,892 Posts
Just clarify, at least once per year, I will have a guest begin to walk down the transom steps to board the dinghy to go to dinner in pumps. This despite prior instruction. At the least, we have several each year that have never used a head aboard before.

I have this vision of the last one (son's girlfriend) in her evening dress, heals, painted nails and perfect hair/makeup being sent to piddle/poo on a pile of dirt. :laugher

I didn't raise the friends, I just have them along from time to time. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
270 Posts
I am in the process of switching out the holding tank/head the boat I just got came with for a Natures Head.

I did a ton of reading on it and while the traditional holding tank system seemed to be great while it worked, when it went wrong it seemed to cause a hell of a mess.

I like having to worry about 2 less through-hulls, and removing all the hoses and tank has freed up another compartment (right under the V Berth). The entire setup is a lot simpler and easier to troubleshoot, and I don't have to worry about whether or not the pumpout station is working.

Certainly pros and cons to both though - in the end it's down to personal preference
 

·
Old enough to know better
Joined
·
4,346 Posts
Seems to me there are real advantages of the desiccating head (It really does not compost in normal use) and few real disadvantages. Sure it takes some education, but a normal nautical head takes some as well. Seems your situation is about the perfect reason for one. Here is a good topic on a homemade one. Could work in a small head quite well.

http://www.sailnet.com/forums/pacific-seacraft/118138-homemade-composting-head.html

I hope your handle has nothing to do with the need for a head!
 

·
██▓▓▒▒░&
Joined
·
13,645 Posts
Just be aware that there really are no "composting" heads for boats. The ones that abuse that term really only separate the liquids and the solids, and you still have to handle and dispose of those separately. You won't be making any "compost" along the way, you'll still be handling sewage and disposing of it.
 

·
Old enough to know better
Joined
·
4,346 Posts
Just be aware that there really are no "composting" heads for boats. The ones that abuse that term really only separate the liquids and the solids, and you still have to handle and dispose of those separately. You won't be making any "compost" along the way, you'll still be handling sewage and disposing of it.
While it is still "sewage" it is relatively dry and does not smell. The liquid actually tends to have more odor issues than the solid. The C-Head sells extra buckets and a cover to let the full bucket actually compost. So you can set it out behind a shed and let it go a couple of months before dumping into the garden, or throw it into the composting heap. But yes, it is not likely a good idea to dump it straight into the flower bed, especially not a vegetable bed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
444 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks, Sailor. That is a good point that folks should be aware of.

Handling sewage is just a fact of life on a boat. Either you handle it or you pay someone to handle it.

Miata, the handle refers to my sailing across Johnson's Reef in the Virgin Islands - unintentionally - many years ago.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
602 Posts
There was a guy who posts here who wrote a book about buying a boat and going cruising without any previous experience.
In the book, the composting toilet was a disaster!
 

·
██▓▓▒▒░&
Joined
·
13,645 Posts
wienie, I know the book you mean just can't remember the name of it.

The author did all his research, picked the "separating" head, and then wound up at one point with 2? 4? women crew on the boat. Apparently the head he chose just didn't properly separate the urine stream from women, resulting in a huge wet mess in the "dry" section that promptly slopped out of the bowl when they were heeled.

At least, that was his conclusion.
 

·
██▓▓▒▒░&
Joined
·
13,645 Posts
paul-
I'm aware of that. But I think the folks marketing the heads are taking advantage of a new age "we're making compost! Nice clean fertile soil!" happy pitch to customers, instead of just honestly telling them "You're going to be dealing with semi-dry poo". Which doesn't have nearly the same sales appeal.

"Compost" brings up a vision of Waterworld's tomato plant set nicely on the stern deck, doesn't it? (VBG)
 
1 - 20 of 88 Posts
Top