Toilet for your boat: There are alternatives!

Toilette für Ihr Boot: Diese Alternativen gibt es!

Boat is heading for sunset in the harbor

The boat toilet is one of the decisive factors for well-being on board. Leaky on-board toilets and toilets that are complicated to use massively dampen the feeling of happiness on the high seas. After all, apart from unpleasant odors, there is nothing more embarrassing than when the toilet bowl is full and you have to call for help!

So that no aversion to cool boat tours can develop in you, your buddies or your girlfriend, we show in this article,

  • What types of on-board toilets are there?

  • the advantages and disadvantages of the respective toilet variant,

  • how to fix toilet problems on board,

  • Tips for buying an odor-free and comfortable on-board toilet and

  • which boat toilet is the best solution on board.

On-board toilets: You often come across these types of models on ships, yachts, etc.!

The electric on-board toilet or the mechanical on-board toilet are standard on boats. The difficulty of both types lies in the complicated handling.

Therefore, before the start of a cruise, instruction in the use of these on-board toilets is mandatory. If you haven't already jumped ship, you can form your own opinion of the practicality of the toilets during the practical test.

Mechanical onboard toilets

Next to the toilet bowl of a mechanical on-board toilet are two switches: one for flushing and one for pumping. Furthermore, there is also a pump lever.

To pump out the waste, you flip the pump-down switch and at the same time operate the pump lever manually. Then reset the pump-down switch and flip the flush switch. While the water is running, pump the lever up and down about 20 times to flush down your feces.

To finally pump the toilet bowl empty, flip the switch back to "pump down" and manually pump five more times. After locking the pump lever, the on-board toilet is ready for the next course.

Advantages of mechanical on-board toilets:

  • Use without electricity

  • Quieter than an electric on-board toilet because there is no electric pump

  • Inexpensive to buy and to obtain spare parts (price for simple porcelain toilet bowls from 150 euros upwards, ceramic toilets on the other hand cost at least twice as much)

Disadvantages of mechanical on-board toilet:

  • Operation requires a lot of explanation

  • Complicated handling

  • Lots of manual pumping

  • Problems caused by uncontrolled water consumption during flushing, so that the holding tank fills up too quickly or the drinking water tank empties too quickly

  • Tend to clog quickly

  • Spare parts kit is a holiday essential

Electric on-board toilets

An electric on-board toilet works in a similar way to a manual on-board toilet. The crucial difference is that the electric system replaces manual pumping. Accordingly, there is no pump lever, but only the two switches for flushing and pumping.

Advantages of electric on-board toilets:

  • All the pumping of a mechanical on-board toilet is no longer necessary

  • Controlled water consumption (1.5 - 3.5 liters per toilet flush)

Disadvantages of electric on-board toilets:

  • Use is associated with high power consumption

  • The pump is quite noisy, which is very annoying, especially at night

  • Purchase price higher than for a manual on-board toilet

  • A set of spare parts is essential in order to limit the downward trend in bad moods in the event of breakdowns (price around 70 euros, more depending on the model)

Manual and electric on-board toilet: flushing tips

Regardless of whether you have a manual or an electric on-board toilet on your boat - to avoid strong odors, it is recommended in any case to flush with drinking water. Otherwise, the toilet flush works with the help of a seawater pump. This pulls up water from the sea and makes it available for flushing.

You will quickly notice the difference between flushing the toilet with salt water or with fresh water. For the sake of your nose and the atmosphere on board, it's best to opt for the drinking water version.

Manual and electric on-board toilet: Use of toilet paper

To prevent unpleasant repair operations, some prefer to throw the toilet paper into a bucket placed next to the on-board toilet. However, this is less hygienic and leads to odors.

To prevent hoses and pump from clogging, there are on-board toilets with macerators. However, these do not always help. How much the macerator can do in each case before it fails to do its job remains to be tried out in practice.

Manual and electric on-board toilets: disposal of faeces

The wastewater is collected in a holding tank. Under which circumstances and in which regions ship sewage may be discharged into the sea is regulated internationally by the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (MARPOL). You can find out more about the legal requirements for disposing of ship sewage in the sea here.

The contents of the holding tank can be emptied by means of a fecal pump on board. When purchasing such fecal pumps, be sure to pay attention to the required head and flow rate.

In coastal areas, you can only dispose of waste at the stations provided for this purpose in the harbor. You can empty the full waste tank of your yacht, ship or boat with the help of the waste extraction system in the harbor.

Problems caused by on-board toilets below the waterline

Electric and manual on-board toilets that are flushed with seawater or river water require connections on the on-board passage below the waterline. Due to the siphon effect, there is therefore always a risk that on-board toilets will overflow. This risk can be minimized by installing a gooseneck, but it cannot be prevented.

When your boat heels, in strong waves and when pumping, the risk of the on-board toilet overflowing remains.

Intermediate conclusion: Electric on-board toilets and manual on-board toilets

Even if the closest toilet is the best and an on-board toilet is better than none, these toilet options are not particularly pleasant. As you've probably gathered from reading, everyone on board can expect a mishap or two one way or another:

  • Overflowed onboard toilet

  • Clogged on-board toilet

  • Leaking valves, broken hoses

  • Feelings of shame, because only after the business has been completed does it become clear that one has not understood all the measures for using the on-board toilet

Mobile on-board toilets not only for small motor boats, sailing boats & Co.

Sailboat on the sea with sunset

On small boats, there is not enough space for an installed toilet with water tank, holding tank, etc. Since relieving oneself "big" in the sea or river is not everyone's cup of tea, mobile on-board toilets are ideally suited to still have a quiet place on board.

Small boat on the water

Which mobile toilets are there?

Chemical toilet

A chemical toilet is a portable toilet box that has its own small tank filled with a special mixture of chemicals. These chemicals are used for flushing as well as to decompose feces and toilet paper.

For the sake of the environment, you should not empty this chemical-faeces mix in the sea in any case, but necessarily at the port in the designated places.

Advantages chemical toilet

  • Transportable, therefore usable wherever a toilet is missing

Disadvantages chemical toilet

  • Use of chemicals and therefore bad for the environment

  • There is always a risk of spillage due to liquid

  • Cleaning with water is necessary and care should be taken with chemicals that are caustic to the skin

Dry toilet

If the issue of the environment is also important to you, then opt for a dry toilet that does not require any chemicals at all. These toilets are small, portable and therefore fit perfectly on small boats, yachts and sailboats.

Especially practical is the small Boxio-Toilet from our online store. This dry composting toilet is made of recycled plastic to actively support the issue of sustainability.

It is black plastic, which makes the mobile toilet much more modern and pleasant in terms of visual design alone. Because the big disadvantage of white plastic toilets is: they quickly turn yellow and then look unsightly.

How does the dry composting toilet work?

The dry composting toilet consists of a compact Euro crate, a toilet seat and two separate collection canisters underneath. In one canister flows the urine. And in the other container lands the "big business".

Separating the contents is not only practical for subsequent disposal, but also ensures that odors are prevented. Because by collecting urine and feces separately, the formation of odor-causing ammonia is inhibited.

With appropriate bedding, the moisture can be bound, which also counteracts the formation of odors.

How does the disposal of dry composting toilets work?

YYou can either empty the urine canister in the sea or wait until the next port toilet.

The solid waste can be disposed of extra easily if you have previously lined the corresponding container with a compostable bag. In this way, the feces do not come into contact with the container and it is sufficient to remove the bag together with its contents, close it and dispose of it in the trash. There is no need for time-consuming cleaning with water.

Advantages of dry composting toilet

  • Modern box design with black plastic

  • Transportable and space-saving, can therefore be used anywhere where there is no toilet

  • Odorless thanks to the separation of urine and faeces

  • Sustainable + environmentally friendly, as there are no chemicals

  • Disposal made easy thanks to hygiene bags

Disadvantages of dry composting toilet

  • Possibly also take bedding on board

Interim conclusion: mobile on-board toilets

The mobile dry composting toilet surpasses the chemical toilet in all points. What stands out are the advantages for the environment and the ease of cleaning.

No more holding tanks, overflowing on-board toilets and disgusting repair calls

Through this article we have clearly seen: Onboard toilets on boat trips can be real killjoys. Instead of sunbathing on deck, it often happens that below deck the boat toilet calls for first aid!

Idea of ​​the sailing trip: man enjoys the sun and the wind

Reality of the sailing trip: First repair the clogged on-board toilet.

The handling is complicated and apart from the skipper, who has had to disassemble and reassemble the toilet often enough, everyone has to practice using it. That the "soup" occasionally spills over and it smells, you have to come to terms with that.

Really? No, absolutely not!

Whether you're a water sports enthusiast taking a trip on your yacht, enjoying a sailing trip or cruising around on a small motorboat, the on-board toilet is crucial to your good mood at sea! That's why it's worth installing the dry composting toilet as standard on your yacht or boat!

  • Bye-bye sewage pumps, because disposal is easy with compostable bags

  • Goodbye leaky valves and overflowing toilets, because this toilet upgrade does not require water and intensive maintenance

  • Hello finally use the toilet without waking up the whole crew

  • Hi odor free zone, because the litter and the separation of urine and big business work wonders

  • Wow low acquisition and no maintenance costs

  • And yay, because the environment is protected. No chemistry. Sustainable and suitable for the ecological cycle.

In terms of design, the dry composting toilet can be implemented as a standard installation according to personal taste. How about a maritime wooden cladding, for example?

Converting to a dry composting toilet as a boat toilet means an upgrade for people and the environment that is worthwhile!

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