Everyone poops

21 Jun

Best kid book ever…but that’s another story. Many of our friends have wanted detail on our new dry head. If you weren’t one of those folks, feel free to skip this blog post…we won’t mind. 🙂

First off, I bet you want to know why in the world we’d rip out our lovely Raritan marine head and all of its associated hoses, tanks and marine whatnots (whatnots like y-valves for pumping overboard when legal, a Purisan system to sanitize for legal pumpout in most places, yards of hoses, electrical connections, buttons, thru-hull caps, and switches). Ready for Robin’s philosophy on this?

First, a pre-philosophy backdrop to set the stage. Since moving aboard Tango in 2011, we have replaced the head (the broken piston casing leaked poo water everywhere). Additionally, marine toilets have parts that need regular replacement. Regular is relative to usage, and with four butts we rate high in the usage department. Even using oil, vinegar, and all that good stuff didn’t save us from regular replacements of joker valves, flapper valves, and most recently a long run of holding tank hose that completely calcified.

Okay, backdrop set. Now, ready for Robin’s philosophy? Everyone poops…so no getting away from that. If I have to touch gross pee and poo stuff, then I want a simple system that doesn’t involve crawling in walls and under floors, and hours of troubleshooting to find the culprit. Thankfully, Andy and the girl crew agree with me! Finally, lest you think we jumped into this lightly…this project has been a Tango “thing” for nearly a year. Discussing, researching, questioning the gory details and the “what-ifs” (what if I have diarrhea?), and talking to other boaters/cruisers who’ve made the leap (especially with my favorite group Women who Sail).

Saturday we made the leap…well at least half of it. We decided to leave the hoses and systems in place for a shakedown period, but if the first few days are an indicator, I see full-on leaping in our near future. This removal part has the added benefit of giving us some much needed space for extra house batteries – so exciting!!

In short, we pee in a jug (V-8 splash juice bottles fit very nicely) and that gets dumped in the marina toilets. Since the diverter fits into the jug, no one ever has to touch any pee. Then, we poop in a bucket of shredded coconut “peat” with cedar shavings for good smell. Andy likened it to a human litter box. We plan to graduate to a more mature desiccating system later on, once we get the recipe sorted. While we don’t plan to compost now, if you want to learn more about the biosolid composting movement, I’ll leave you to Google.

So far, no haunting marine head smell, and that’s HUGE for us. Who wants their house to smell like an outhouse?


Andy doing the rinse, flush, and repeat before we disconnect the Raritan to cut down on smell and leakage.


Abby supervising removal of the Raritan system to the cockpit. I remember installing this system a few years ago…


Key components of new system (a bucket and a bag). I hope someday to get away from the toilet in a bag…but baby steps.


Andy working on a bucket redesign – as the other bucket we intended to use didn’t fit well.


Here is the new toilet with its cabinet framework, covered for now in plastic sheeting. When we have a few days, we’ll pull it out and epoxy/paint to make sure it will last.


View “down the hatch.” Urine diverts to a pee jug, and poo goes into the bag where it’s desiccated with coconut and a few cedar shavings. Don’t worry…those dark bits are just coconut…there’s over-sharing and then there’s OVER sharing


4 Responses to “Everyone poops”

  1. Jennifer Graham June 23, 2015 at 1:50 am #

    When volunteering at a retreat farm several years back, I was introduced to a Sawdust toilet. I have always thought it an excellent system.

  2. haanli June 23, 2015 at 10:39 pm #

    I really didn’t want to read this but how can you not read a post entitled “Everyone poops”?

  3. Steve June 28, 2015 at 2:41 am #

    Hello Andy & Robin, good thing I didn’t read your pooping blog before I bought your Raritan ah the joys of sailing… well I guess I get to see what this is all about.

    • four2tango June 28, 2015 at 11:13 am #

      We think you will like it…your usage will be lighter than ours!

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