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mowens's avatar

What do you do with the poop in a boat?

Asked by mowens (8350points) November 16th, 2009

Serious question… boats have toilets. Where does the poop go? They don’t dump it into the water do they?

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34 Answers

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trailsillustrated's avatar

they used to flush into the water now they have to have chemical toilets- it’s handled like poop in an RV there are pumping facitlies at the marina

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nxknxk's avatar

I think larger boats use toilets that treat (and… liquify) the waste and discharge it safely in the water so it doesn’t contaminate the water. Smaller boats use self-contained toilet/systems that must be pumped/emptied after several days of use. I’m really not sure, though.

Edit: What @trailsillustrated said!

Obliquely related: I have one of my friends convinced that at any moment she is at risk of being assailed by falling fecal matter discharged from airplanes flying overhead.

mowens's avatar

Do they empty it at the marina? How do they pump it out?

aphilotus's avatar

Why wouldn’t you just poop off the side? I like to call that “free-birding”.

mowens's avatar

Oh and is it a pump you’d have to buy separately?

CMaz's avatar

you toss it over the side.

Shit happens.

erichw1504's avatar

Maybe they should have human-sized litter boxes where we have to scoop our own poop.

trailsillustrated's avatar

you can poop over the side. men pee over the side all the time. Big fine if you get caught. It’s just like an rv, you pull up to the station at the marina and they pump it out. All older boats are retro-fitted and new ones have chemical toilets.

markyy's avatar

In the old days (up to 10–20 years ago) you threw it overboard, because they threw everything overboard (garbage, etc.). Don’t know about you guys in the states, but here in Holland the waste is collected by the harbourmaster’s office. There is also a company that has a couple dozen of boats in the water and offer the service of collecting your waste on board (which is thriving business because boats can’t dock that easily just to drop of a doodoo baggy). @trailsillustrated is right, the coastgoard patrols regularly (one of their tasks is to check people on their waste removal).

Dog's avatar

[Mod Says:] This is a legit question. Please keep on topic folks.
All off-topic quips will be removed.

mowens's avatar

Don’t RV’s use gravity? Wouldn’t they have to physically push the poop up? Is there a pump on the boat, or do they suck it out?

Heh I jsut want to make sure I understand the process. :)

trailsillustrated's avatar

they suck it out. with a pump. you can’t get a boat (here) certified as seaworthy without a working toilet system. It’s contained in a tank, with chemicals I think, they use a hose that looks like a petrol hose.

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trailsillustrated's avatar

@markyy har har well when it gets to that place in our boat excursions I usually wander away but my eye has caught the basics of the process….

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Waste disposal services hook up a tube and empty the waste containers into a tank and is taken away for proper disposal.

proXXi's avatar

There’s a deck for this application.

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MissAnthrope's avatar

This question made me think of train bathrooms. I don’t know how it is elsewhere, but in Italy, the toilet just drains straight down onto the tracks. Like, literally, you can stand there and watch the tracks whiz by through the toilet.

It kind of blows my mind, actually. There must be tracks o’ poop all over that country.

trailsillustrated's avatar

that’s why there are signs not to use the restroom while the train is in the station. lol

evegrimm's avatar

In a much larger boat (this one to be precise), the, um, remnants from the toilet get pumped out to sea when you’re out far enough. I would assume no chemicals are added (or only all-natural ones) because we were told that the fish and other marine life consume it. (Gross, I know.)

All I know is that while on the boat, there were times were our tanks were almost full, and we were told, “If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down.” It was sort of disturbing.

trailsillustrated's avatar

@evegrimm ewwww, wow, I didn’t know that was legal- our boat is from 1968 and we couldn’t get it certified unless it was retrofitted.. wow but what a cool trip

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janbb's avatar

There are a few different ways to dispose of the poop. If you are in the open ocean, more than 3 miles out, you can legally have the “head” (toilet) dump it into the ocean, usually after it is mushed up by a macerator. If you are in closer to land, the poop and pee get pumped into a holding tank which needs to be pumped out at a pumping station – usually at a marina. And if the holding tanks backs up, you’re up shit’s creek but with a paddle. :-)

Strauss's avatar

Interesting off-topic (but somewhat related) comment: The nautical term for the toilet is the “head”. In early days of sailing ships the place to go pee over the side was at the “head” (front) of the ship, since the wind on a sailing ship is always from the aft.

But I do’t think they pooped from the poop deck~

faye's avatar

A little off-topic as well- I saw an interview with an astronaut who said their poop was just dumped in space. kind of gross- no sea creatures to eat it up! He said it’s just frozen and orbiting!

mowens's avatar

I saw that on Apollo 13!

MissAnthrope's avatar

Ugh… I’m appalled. Basically, we’re not content to pollute one planet, now we’re spreading our dumps into outer space.

CMaz's avatar

Yes and one day our space poo will land on a planet.
Eventually being the building blocks for a species of poop people.

The poop people planet, growing pineapple, potatoes and having a fondness for pizza.

Exporting ping pong balls to the rest of the universe.

proXXi's avatar

Im developing a merchant ship poop gun to ward off Somali pirates.

Any Flutherites care to invest?

CMaz's avatar

By now I hope you got rid of it.

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