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Catamarans Bathrooms: Types & Usage Tips

Whether we’re heading out on our bit, on a friend’s own, on a day cruise on a sailing catamaran, or cruising between islands on a huge power catamaran, we want to be ready to respond when nature calls!

Of course, that means traveling on a boat that’s equipped with those amenities. Otherwise, it would be a miserable outing. So, if this is your first time buying a catamaran or booking one, among the important questions is whether they have a bathroom. 

No matter if it’s a luxury catamaran or a friend’s getaway yacht, nowadays most vessels feature onboard heads (latrines). Only small cats less than 20 feet in length are exempt from this rule. Many small boats still have a portable toilet equipped. 

Learn everything you need to discover about using one as you keep reading!

catamaran bathroom

Catamaran Bathroom

When a catamaran reaches a specific size, it is equipped with a restroom. 

The magical number appears to be around 27 feet. Every catamaran with a washroom on board that I found was larger than this. There were no catamarans above thirty feet in length without a bathroom.

A toilet was not available on the majority of smaller catamarans. Kitchen facilities, bed spaces, and vessel size were all important factors in determining whether the vessel was ahead.

Different Types of Cat Bathrooms and How to Use Them?

The toilets on a catamaran are not exactly like the ones on land. Keep that in mind if you have a restroom on board your vessel. The manual and electric toilets are the two most common varieties.

The Manual Head

manual head marine toilet

The toilets in this location are fixed in place. It is expected that they’ll have a sewage tank that should be emptied at the port. The marina typically charges a fee for its services. For this toilet to flush, you’ll have to ensure that you’ve connected to the flushing water supply.

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Unlike cassette or portable toilets, hand pump toilets don’t emit the same stench. Cleaning and maintaining these toilets is a breeze. Just attach your discharge line when you stop at a designated pump-out facility in the vicinity of a marina.

If the storage tank is big enough, you might not have to empty it every time you travel. Canisters of this size can persist for weeks before needing to be drained at all. To save funds, you can consider using a marina’s pump-out services.

Disadvantages of the Manual head:

  • Pump-out stations typically demand a fee. That means you’ll have to spend money on each effort to get your boat’s toilet waste emptied. No big deal, but your boat’s operating costs go up if you don’t have a container large enough to hold a couple of weeks’ worth of provisions with you.
  • Consider the cost of clogs. This isn’t the toilet from your house. Using a snake won’t always work to unclog it. The system may have to be dismantled to get to the root of the problem. If you need a plumber on board, it might cost a lot of money.

The Electric Head

electric head marine toilet

A button-activated electric head pushes the waste into a tank (black water tank) or directly into the adjacent waterways.

Because electric heads are more sensitive to the amount of trash they’re filled with, and because they frequently become clogged and need to be repaired, they’re more expensive (typically including a type of ad smell or adjustable stick).

The use and maintenance of an electric toilet is a breeze. As with manual pump-out, you only need to attach the discharge line to a marina’s pump-out station. No physical exertion is required other than connecting to the discharge line.

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Most of the time, these toilets don’t even require cleaning. Some repair or replacement might be necessary based on what model of whichever brand of catamaran you have. In most cases, these toilets require the same amount of upkeep as your regular toilet.

Disadvantages of Electric Heads

  • You’ll need to use a facility set up for pumping sewage to empty your electric head, similar to a holding tank on any other toilet. The cat’s upkeep costs go up as a result of this.
  • Manual pump-out toilets might cost as much to fix as these heads if they get clogged or broken, although they are less common. You utilize electricity to power the pump now that the toilet is equipped with a pump and motor. Increasing the complexity of the system has resulted in a greater number of parts that can malfunction and cost you a fortune for repairs or disconnection.

Other Types Of Catamaran Heads

Portable Heads

portable head toilet

Most of these toilets have a waste capacity of no more than six gallons. Weekend cruisers as well as small cabin cruisers without a fixed head or with an unserviceable head are excellent candidates for this. When a yacht does not provide a stable toilet, such portable toilets are frequently used. 

Having a portable toilet on board can save boat owners money if they haven’t enough room for a lasting fix on a smaller vessel.

Small and compact, portable toilets for ships make them easy to store and transport.

A portable toilet has to be manually hauled and emptied from the boat before it can be used onboard. It usually entails going to a dock and using the toilet there to get rid of it. Sometimes, portable toilets can be downright revolting.

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Cassette Heads 

cassette toilet

In a cassette toilet, the holding tank can be removed and replaced. Although they can also be used as portable toilets, these are types of stable toilets for smaller boats (Loo is a European word used instead of the bathroom commonly used in North America).

The style of the cassette toilet is simple and small. Because maritime restrooms don’t occupy much space, you can have one on a small yacht. Dumpsters are often simpler to take away and get rid of compared to standard porta potty units. You might just have to remove the portable from the boat to drain it.

The smell of cassette toilets is a typical occurrence. A modest one-room cabin cruiser can have a huge issue with this. The process of refilling the rinsing water tank may be time-consuming. 

Flushing will be required. As a result, the tank will need to be refilled with water. The process of shifting will be made even harder if the sewage tank and the water tank are both filled.

Composting Toilets

composting toilets

Composting toilets for boats is a relatively new thing. These toilets have two separate holding tanks. Solid waste is stored in one tank, and liquid waste is stored in the other. 

Peat is a common addition to solid waste tanks to aid in drying out the trash. Composting has numerous advantages. To make fertilizer out of composting toilet waste that has dried up, all that is needed is a little elbow grease. 

If you’re unsure about where you can legally dispose of or use it, check with your local authorities. A lot of people simply use it as fertilizer for their flower gardens. However, there’s a chance this violates a local law (the disposal of human waste has certain laws to deter pollution).

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In most cases, the expense of a composting toilet is not prohibitive. This is a better option than a portable or cassette toilet if you want to put a toilet on your boat.

There is less odor from composting toilets than from portable or cassette ones.

More mobile than actual portable or cassette potties, the waste collection system is easier to move around. Since these restrooms divide effluent from solid waste, they are more environmentally friendly.

The toilet has to be physically emptied. As with a portable bathroom facility, you must physically drain the sewage reservoir of a composting toilet. On vessels, the composting toilet emits an offensive stench. 

The air movement in these toilets helps to dry the solid waste. Composting toilets on ships might be difficult to maintain. You may be required to defecate in one location while urinating in another in certain facilities.

How Much Do Boat Toilets Cost?

boat toilet

The brand and type of toilet you buy have a significant impact on this. When it comes to sanitary facilities, portable toilets are more cost-effective and easier to set up than manual pump toilets.

An electric pump-out toilet, in contrast, is significantly more expensive. When it comes to a toilet, most professional sailors prefer an electric pump-out or manual toilet.

Guidance For Your New Catamaran Toilet

You should verify that the setting is correct; if you’re in a port or near land, the waste should be dumped into the black water tank for disposal.

Anything other than toilet paper should not be thrown down the toilet. In a South American potty, anything beyond your excrement will result in you being a plumber for the day.

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Instead of having to use the boat’s facilities, I suggest using the one on shore for shorter trips.

Ask the crew or captain whether any special maneuvers need to be performed before using the head; this will help you from making a mistake that you later regret.” Pre-departure walkthroughs often include a brief discussion on this topic.