Day 4: How To Use The Toilet On A Sailboat--Sailing Tips And Tricks.

Wait, I Can't Throw Toilet Paper In There? Boat Toilets Demystified: How To Use A Toilet On A Yacht

If you’ve ever been on a sailing catamaran, a day boat, or any other kind of not-quite-mega-yacht sailing vessel, you’ve probably had this moment of panic when it’s comes time to…you know…do your business. Toilets (or marine heads, as they’re fancily referred to in the boating world) on boats look NOTHING like the ones you use at home. You have a stare down with a toilet bowl with no water in it, a panel (or HAND PUMP) next to the seat, and a bunch of confusing buttons which have hieroglyphics involving some sort of using the bathroom wizardry.

Marine toilets on boats, waste holding tanks, and plumbing systems on boats are very different from what you have at home. Marine toilets on sailboats are divas on very particular diets. Upset this marine toilet by, oh, I don’t know, accidentally throwing toilet paper in the bowl, not adding enough water while doing your business, or any other slight imbalance, and you will quickly be met with the RAGE of a clogged marine toilet.

Working in the term charter sailing industry for years, this was the #1 thing that unearthed and freaked people out.

Wait, I Put My Toilet Paper WHERE?! How Do I Use This Marine Toilet Thing?

Depending on the boat, and it’s respective delicate plumbing system, you aren’t supposed to put your toilet paper in the sailboat toilet. Instead, there’s a small trash compartment to throw your * ahem * gnarly AF toilet paper in, not in the toilet bowl. I’ve seen many a wife, teenager, confused child and disgruntled dandy man abhorred at the thought of not being able to throw toilet paper in a sailboat toilet. Yeah, it’s gross, but you know what else is MORE gross? Guess who’s job it was to empty these trashcan liners every day while on charter? Yeah, me, your first mate/CHEF. You better be nice to your charter chef. That’s all I’m saying.

Here’s My Handy Dandy Walkthrough Video Tutorial Of How To Use A Toilet On A Boat

How To Use A Marine Toilet:

  1. Fill The Bowl With Water First.

  2. Do Your Thing, Adding More Water If You Need.

  3. Evacuate The Bowl. (Press The Button, Change The Hand Pump To “Exit” And Start Pumping.)

  4. Evacuate The Premise.


Have any embarassing stories around this subject you’re brave enough to share? Humor us in the comments below! Cheers and happy…Sailing!