One of the main problems faced by any individual on water is when nature calls. There are many ways in which mankind has tried to solve these issue including use of marine toilets. The different types of marine head, and their individual benefits and drawbacks can be quite complicated for new boat owners.
There are a wide range of marine sanitation devices (MSDs). Also, there are many regulations governing installation and use. As a boater, we would like you to get it right and choose the right marine head. A company such as LeeSan Online Store can also assist in your marine head selection. Here is a simple guide that will assist you demystify the basic parts of a boats’ sanitation system.
Porta-Potty or Portable Heads
Short of a bucket, a portable head is the simplest device when dealing with onboard sewage. Some boaters refer to it as porta-potty. They have a refillable fresh-water supply and an integral holding tank.
When using these heads, you simply finish your business and flush the bowl contents away. To achieve this you only need to actuate a foot or hand-operated pump. The waste in the bowl goes to the holding tank which is detachable. Once the tank reaches its full capacity, you will have to take it ashore and empty into a toilet. Alternatively, you can take it to a suitable pump-out facility.
A Manual Marine Head
A manual marine head has a discharge elbow, porcelain bowl and a hand-pumped raw-water intake. Once you do your business, you will have to actuate the pump a couple of times to flush away the contents. The up-stroke draws the water into the porcelain bowl and flushes the contents inside. Actuating the down-stroke leads to the expulsion of the waste via the discharge elbow.
An Electric head
An electric head consists of an electric pump with the primary function of water suction. Also, the pump expels the waste from the bowl. A unique feature of this head is that its pump, macerates the waste during discharge. A boater using this type of head just has to press and hold the button until the bowl is clear.
There are other designs of electric head, some have an electric pump that creates a vacuum which pulls the waste back into a holding tank. A boater has to simply step on a foot pedal to flush the contents in the bowl. An example is the Seeland’s Vacuflush which is a fairly popular electric head among boaters.
Compost and incinerating toilets
Yes, you heard it right, there are compost and incinerating heads that can be installed on boats. These toilets are well suited to long stints at sea, and are specialized to treat waste and minimize the need to dispose of stored waste. You think the vacuum heads have a complicated design? Well, the composite and incinerating toilets are much more complicated.
If you install a manual, portable, or electric head, you can’t have it discharging sewage overboard. There are rules and regulations that govern such discharge. Thus it would be illegal to discard untreated waste into water bodies. You can either flush the waste to a holding tank, or process the waste on-board via a composting or incineration device.
Such a device would need a specialized hose, Y-valves and a vented loop. These special features ensure that the waste is adequately treated before discharge.
When choosing a marine head consider how you intend to use your boat. If you are going to be spending long periods at sea, then a composting or incineration head would be best suited to your needs. If you are only using your boat for short pleasure cruises or fishing trips, a manual or electric head should be perfect.