bathrooms and toilets for boats
Making the move from a house onto a boat needs some serious considerations, not least of which is your loo. If you are purchasing a used boat, chances are the choice of toilet has already been made for you. Using what came with the boat initially is the only way you will know if the type of toilet you have is right for you. So, say goodbye to flushing down the pan and hello to the realisation that if you liveaboard or only use your boat occassionally, you will have to get used to one fact. You carry your poo with you. Narrowboat, widebeam, cruisers and even working barges all have this to contend with. How you decide to store and dispose of waste is a matter of choice.
Becoming well aquainted with the different types of toilets available and deciding for yourself which product you prefer is entirely up to you in the end. All toilet types depend on some form of a holding facility for the waste, be it cassette, pump out or compost and all of these from time to time will obviously require emptying. Today's boat sanitation systems range from portable chemical toilets to fully flushing systems that closely resemble domestic WC’ s. A selection of bowls from plastic to vitreous china are available with the choice being restricted by your budget and own personal requirements.
Cassette: With cassette toilets these are emptied 'along the way' utilising service points provided by canal and river authorities. A waterway key allows you access to these services where you carry your full cassette to the elsan point and tip to empty. Most marinas and some boatyards also offer elsan points for disposal, sometimes for a fee.
Eco: Eco toilets operate in a slightly different way. Based on the separation of liquid and solids, urine (grey matter) can be disposed of quite easily, though some would say it should be diluted first. The solids are covered with sawdust or other dry matter and can be disposed of once composted (which generally means storing bags for a few weeks). There is no smell or unpleasantness, and many house dwellers in Sweden use these composting toilets through choice. Opinion amongst boaters is strongly divided into the 'for' and 'against'. But in the end it is entirely your choice.
Pump Out: Pump out toilets can be less of a burden for the squeamish and although there are some pump out stations available on the cut (using a pre-paid card) most boaters will use marina or boatyard facilities where a payment would be required. (Between £14 - £25 is the norm).