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Old 25-08-2011, 10:30   #61
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Re: Nature's Head (???) Seriously . . .

And speaking of holding tanks, I read where the dump line/valve has to be locked so that no discharge can be made while in inland waters, so how is that done and tagged?

33 CFR 159.7 lists all the acceptable ways of securing a system from "accidental" discharge while on inland waters or inside the "3 mile limit" in coastal waters. It does not have to be tagged. However, some states do not allow boats on their non-navigable INTRAstate lakes to even have any overboard discharge plumbing connected to a thru-hull.

And that three mile limit, is that three miles from the most easterly US territory and a 00/180 degree line from that point in the Atlantic?

You must be in open ocean--not in a bay or lake--at least 3 miles from the NEAREST point of land or island in any direction. So if you're in the waters off Hilton Head, you'd need to be at least 3 miles off Hilton Head to flush directly overboard or dump the tank.

Re the portapotty bowl...Have you ever actually looked at the size of the hole in the bottom of a toilet? And if your butt hangs THAT far into the bowl, you might consider getting some exercise to reduce it, or at least tighten it up!

Seriously, an "MSD" (designed to be permanently installed and fitted for pumpout) portapotty can be an excellent alternative to a marine toilet and holding tank. No moving parts to maintain, no plumbing except the pumpout line and vent...and they use so little water that a 5-6 gal. model holds more flushes than 30 gallon tank connected to a manual marine toilet. Or, if you REALLY want to go "uptown" with a self-contained system, check this one out: SeaLand Traveler at Defender
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Old 25-08-2011, 11:35   #62
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Re: Nature's Head (???) Seriously . . .

We had a 6GL portapotti in our previous boat with deck pumpout. It was simple and cheap to install but it stank and the structure was not strong enough to withstand the vacuum of the pumpout which forced us to keep it in the open position when emptying it. To do otherwise would have broken the plastic flusher latch or risk it imploding.

Also, it never completely cleared and would require us to pour several buckets of water in to remove the "nasties". It required one to get up close and personal with ones waste.

However, my main complaint was that with a family of four we only got 48 hours of normal usage which means every other day we had to be in a marina. Once we were unable to do that and had to put a cork in everyone untill we arrived.

I wouldn't go that route again, at least not on a cruising boat.
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Old 25-08-2011, 11:37   #63
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Re: Nature's Head (???) Seriously . . .

The nice thing about both portapotties and composting heads is that you cannot sink your boat...
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Old 25-08-2011, 12:07   #64
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Re: Nature's Head (???) Seriously...

CFR defines "discharge" as " It's illegal to "discharge"("ncludes, but is not limited to, any spilling, leaking, pouring, pumping, emitting, emptying, or dumping") "sewage" ("human body wastes and the wastes from toilets and other receptacles intended to receive or retain body waste").

Well now, that don't say we can't stand on the bow and let 'er go. Just sayes we cant p in the bottle then pour it over the side. )
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Old 25-08-2011, 12:13   #65
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Re: Nature's Head (???) Seriously . . .

I suspect your portapotty wasn't actually designed to BE pumped out...that somebody just stuck a hose onto the discharge fitting. 'Cuz a blocked tank vent, or lack of a vent altogether was part of your problem, and the lack of a pickup tube in the tank or one that was too short would explain the rest. And if 4 people could fill it up a tank that should old 50-60 flushes in 48 hours, y'all must have lived in the head...a 30 gallon holding tank connected to a manual toilet wouldn't have lasted you even that long.

So it was installation, operation and maintenance, not the equipment, that was to blame here. "MSD" portapotties actually work VERY well when they are installed and maintained correctly...with the added advantage of being just about 100% landlubber guest proof.
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Old 25-08-2011, 13:32   #66
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Re: Nature's Head (???) Seriously . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by jkleins View Post
I could see the benefit on a small boat with weekend use in an area with poor pumpout though. For a larger boat that can have an adequate size holding tank to only have to pump out occasionally I think I will stick to the "less complicated" system of toilet and holding tank.
Does everyone on here live in a marina? At a dock? Is a pump out free? Why does a larger boat have to use a pump out? When I get mine, my goal is to remain off the grid, so anything I can do to keep from paying the man a red cent will be done. If I have to pay more for a wind generator, electric motors, solar panels, a maintenance free toilet, I will do it. I'd rather put money into self reliant systems than support a marina. There will only be two of us on a 40 foot boat, living on the hook. Just the thought of sewage running all through my boat is nauseating.
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Old 25-08-2011, 13:44   #67
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Re: Nature's Head (???) Seriously . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by peghall View Post
I suspect your portapotty wasn't actually designed to BE pumped out...that somebody just stuck a hose onto the discharge fitting. 'Cuz a blocked tank vent, or lack of a vent altogether was part of your problem, and the lack of a pickup tube in the tank or one that was too short would explain the rest. And if 4 people could fill it up a tank that should old 50-60 flushes in 48 hours, y'all must have lived in the head...a 30 gallon holding tank connected to a manual toilet wouldn't have lasted you even that long.

So it was installation, operation and maintenance, not the equipment, that was to blame here. "MSD" portapotties actually work VERY well when they are installed and maintained correctly...with the added advantage of being just about 100% landlubber guest proof.
No, it was an MSD head. We purchased it in 2002 and used it for several years. Thetford doesn't sell the same model any more but we had the following with the MSD attachment installed (part 5A in the diagram):

AquaMate 875 Parts

The vent, as far as I know, was clear although I suppose it is possible that it was compressing when the pumping out. Both the waste hose and vent hose were replaced when the unit was installed. What would happen was that the flap would rattle as the vacuum was applied and looked like it was going to break off.

It is possible that the newer models have addressed this issue plus the issue of the incomplete clearing of waste but I assure you we experienced these problems and I don't think it was due to installation or using the incorrect components.

As for capacity, I would have thought we would get more but again, it was always a challenge as to scheduling regular pumpouts. I can also assure you that we experienced at best 72 hours of capacity. We had two young children so it is perhaps partly due to them using too much water but I don't think that was the case. We now have 30+ or so Imp G of holding with a traditional marine head and can easily go 5 days with room to spare.
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Old 25-08-2011, 13:45   #68
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Re: Nature's Head (???) Seriously . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Madwand View Post
Does everyone on here live in a marina? At a dock? Is a pump out free? Why does a larger boat have to use a pump out? When I get mine, my goal is to remain off the grid, so anything I can do to keep from paying the man a red cent will be done. If I have to pay more for a wind generator, electric motors, solar panels, a maintenance free toilet, I will do it. I'd rather put money into self reliant systems than support a marina. There will only be two of us on a 40 foot boat, living on the hook. Just the thought of sewage running all through my boat is nauseating.
Pumpouts are supposed to be free and are in most localities. The few places that charge for it are generally violating laws to do so and usually get corrected soon.

There really isn't a "great" marine head. They're all rather complex with a host of maintenance and installation challenges. The best you can generally hope for is a situation where your vessel, your lifestyle, and your cruising area fit well with what you have onboard and that really applies to all systems (and the vessel itself).


Digressing a bit, you're never really "off the grid" on a sailboat. Even a spartan modern vessel requires an incredible amounts of maintenance, the materials for which come from societies with industrial production capacities. You can be rather detached, but between Dacron in sails and oil filters for your engine you'll be dependent upon society for as long as your vessel is sea worthy.
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Old 25-08-2011, 14:02   #69
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Re: Nature's Head (???) Seriously . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by peghall View Post
And if 4 people could fill it up a tank that should old 50-60 flushes in 48 hours, y'all must have lived in the head...a 30 gallon holding tank connected to a manual toilet wouldn't have lasted you even that long.
I looked up an old Practical Sailor article (which I had used to make my decision so many years ago) from Sept. 2002 and it states that the Thetford AquaMate 875 produced an average of 41 flushes per tank. It is not entirely clear but I read that to mean 41 uses, not just 41 flushes of water. For four people, that is 10 flushes each or 5 per day for the two days that we normally had capacity. That does not seem unreasonable.
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Old 25-08-2011, 14:04   #70
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Re: Nature's Head (???) Seriously . . .

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Pumpouts are supposed to be free and are in most localities. The few places that charge for it are generally violating laws to do so and usually get corrected soon.
I have never seen free pumpouts although we sail in Canada so that may be the reason. Typically we pay $10-15 per pumpout.
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Old 25-08-2011, 14:10   #71
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Re: Nature's Head (???) Seriously . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Madwand View Post
Does everyone on here live in a marina? At a dock? Is a pump out free? Why does a larger boat have to use a pump out? When I get mine, my goal is to remain off the grid, so anything I can do to keep from paying the man a red cent will be done. If I have to pay more for a wind generator, electric motors, solar panels, a maintenance free toilet, I will do it. I'd rather put money into self reliant systems than support a marina. There will only be two of us on a 40 foot boat, living on the hook. Just the thought of sewage running all through my boat is nauseating.
That was my point in a way. You find the thought of sewage on your boat nauseating and I don't even give it a second thought as long as it is contained and doesn't smell. You might be willing to do things to avoid having sewage on your boat where I wouldn't just due to different tolerances.

If you don't have a slip or mooring that provides a pump out and you don't travel offshore enough to pump out there then you do have to pay to pump out, treat it, carry it somewhere or cheat/break the law. That choice will not be the same for everyone. Whatever you do though, I don't think "the man" gets any of the money. :-)

Jim
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Old 25-08-2011, 14:29   #72
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Re: Nature's Head (???) Seriously . . .

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I have never seen free pumpouts although we sail in Canada so that may be the reason. Typically we pay $10-15 per pumpout.
I should qualify my statements to mean the United States. Pumpouts here are subsidized or paid for outright by tax dollars with the requirement that they be available for free. The US is trying to do everything it can to get people to use holding tanks and pumpouts rather than discharging.
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Old 25-08-2011, 14:50   #73
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Re: Nature's Head (???) Seriously . . .

Neat! I guess composting toilet products are not subsidized, huh?
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Old 25-08-2011, 15:13   #74
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Re: Nature's Head (???) Seriously . . .

Man! The things I pay for with out knowing. Now there is boater potty welfare!
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Old 25-08-2011, 15:17   #75
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Re: Nature's Head (???) Seriously . . .

There is a program that will pay for the equipment cost as long as you dont charge for the pumpout service, some marinas use this program, others,like where i work, pay for their own equipment and charge for pumpout service. When we looked into it it was a no brainer, it takes time to pump someone out and they need to pay for it, like everything else. I agree with Peggy that a porta pottie can be a reasonable solution ,especially for smaller boats, i did a 3 week cruise with a friend on his 28ft sharpie and we had a portapottie, i was very sceptical of my ability to hit that rather small hole,but apparently a lot of research had gone into its location as i never even hit the sides, it was rather stinkie though and the deodorant stuff is even worse. One of the biggest problems with holding tanks is that many of the boats were built before they were mandated and it can be a real challenge to install one with enough capacity to be worthwhile, i have built a few plywood/epoxy/glass tanks to maximize the volume and i think they make the best tanks as the panels are much stiffer than plastic or metal tanks, a lot of plastic tanks bulge a lot including the one on my current boat although ive yet to see one burst.Ive replaced metal tanks that have corroded away leaking the contents into the bilge, yuk. I have also seen a boat which had used the hull as one side of the tank and it had leaked into the core and travelled a distance and rotted it out.
Steve.
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