When I heard Jeff from vessel Bonnie Lou, a 31 foot Cal Sloop, had a composting toilet I wanted to see it.
Normally I don’t get excited over toilets. In a home, you do your business and usually the stuff flushes down without any issues.
But a boat toilet, known as a “head”, can be a different story. First of all there’s no flushing. Instead there is a handle at the side of the toilet that is used to pump down the #1 or #2 you just left in it. So your looking at it the whole time your pumping it down.
This isn’t so bad, but when a head malfunctions or clogs that’s when it can go all wrong. (Let’s just say the murky, smelly brown stuff can come back up in the toilet.) You can’t use a plunger to unclog it since it could damage the seals in the marine head.
Instead the hoses and other fittings need to come off to unclog the toilet. Over time the hoses get clogged and need cleaning or replacing. It’s a messy job for Captain Kelly. (I am grateful I’m not the Captain)
So what’s so great about a Composting Toilet? They have a simple system without hoses that can clog up. Urine goes into one compartment while stool goes into the compartment with peat moss or coconut coir. A few turns of the moss that’s it. (There is one hose with a computer fan used to air the peat moss compartment.)
Jeff mentioned he can go up several months before disposing of the moss and starting a new batch. The down side is composting toilets are more expensive and you would need to carry peat moss. But less hassle may be worth the extra expense.
Other things Jeff liked about his composting toilet
- He doesn’t smell odors- maybe a little dirt smell at times.
- The toilet’s foot print is small and fits in his vessel
- It’s USCG Certified and meets the No Discharge requirements
Also a side note from Jeff regarding the composting medium: I use coconut coir instead of peat moss. Coconut coir is heated and pressed into blocks that are easy to store until needed. Heating and pressure kill any critters that may live in the coconut coir. Peat moss may have bugs. Or so I’m told. I order through Amazon and get either the 1 kilo or 5 kilo blocks. I think it’s about $20.
I want to thank Jeff for showing us his toilet and let you know he’ll be cutting his dock lines this January. His plans are to cruise the Caribbean with his kitty, Missy.
Check out his blog and what he’s done to get his boat ready at http://thetuningcaye.blogspot.com/.