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Old 03-06-2021, 11:50   #1
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Head Refit Questions

Peg Hall to a white paging phone please...

I purchased an '86 Pearson 28-2 about a year ago - my first 'big' boat - which is in overall decent condition, and I have been working through the various systems to restore good working order, with the last to tackle being the sanitation system.

The boat was originally fit out with a manual marine head, raw water intake, a ~10 gallon (flexible?) vented holding tank, and plumbed with a Y valve for overboard discharge or pump out via the bronze deck port.

Prior to my purchase of the boat, the head, holding tank, and most of the flexible plumbing had been removed, short of the Y valve. So it's a blank canvas, so to speak

The boat was commissioned on Lake Travis near Austin, TX, and apparently spent some time in the Gulf near Houston, before returning to Lake Travis where I now sail it.

I have no plans to move the boat, so a system optimized/simplified for freshwater use is desired.

Although perhaps cheaper and less work to install, I can't get excited about manually hauling waste from a porti-potti, so I want to set it up for occasional pump out at the marina.

So, now my dumb questions...

Are there marine heads with a self contained holding tank (like a porta potti), but that can utilize the raw water input, and with access to the tank for pumping out at the dock? That would eliminate the need to install a new holding tank and associated plumbing, while keeping the pump out capability.

For day sailing once or twice a week, and the occasional one or two night outing, how large of a holding tank would be appropriate? Guessing, maybe 10 flushes per gallon? So, would something less than 10 gallons work?

Are self-contained systems more or less prone to odors? I've read all the horror stories about extensive plumbing that ultimately can be problematic, so perhaps less is more, assuming the self contained unit isn't itself an odor problem.

Anyway, looking for inputs from those who have experience with this tricky subject.

Thanks in advance for your feedback and insight!


Brian

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Old 03-06-2021, 12:23   #2
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Re: Head Refit Questions

From what you're telling me about your use of the boat and also on any boat much smaller than about 30' a self-contained system—an "MSD" portapotty--makes a lot of sense. The "MSD" designation in the model name/number means it has fittings for a pumpout line and vent line, and is designed to be permanently installed (actually just sturdier brackets than portables, so you could still take it off the boat if you absolutely have to), which means that although it's still called a PORTApotty, you don't have to carry anything including urine jugs off the boat to empty it.

A 5-6 gallon model is household height and holds 50-60 flushes...you'd need at least a 30 gal tank to hold that many from a manual marine toilet and I'm not sure a "composter" can hold that much poop and organic material needed to absorb the liquid in solid waste (which, btw is about 75% water). No plumbing needed except a vent line and pumpout hose--so no new holes in the boat...and -0- maintenance needed except for rinsing out the tank--which you can do with a bucket while it's being pumped out. Total cost including the pumpout hose and vent line is about $200--a fraction of what you'd spend for toilet, tank and all the related plumbing needed. And the best part is, you have all the advantages of a toilet and holding tank without giving up a single square foot of storage space. For flush water it has a reservoir that you'd fill using a pitcher or gallon milk jug full of fresh water. Because it's vented, you'd use a good tank product to prevent odor...I recommend No-Flex Digestor
Noflex Digestor

If this idea appeals to you, check out the Dometic/SeaLand 975 MSD Sanifpottie. Defender has it...Dometic SaniPottie 975MSD Toilet @Defender

Assuming that the boat already has a deck pumpout fitting installed, the only other thing you'd need to buy is hose. For the pumpout line I recommend Raritan SaniFlex RaritanSaniFlex hose It's not only proven to be 100% odor permeation resistant (now has a 10 yr warranty against it), but also has the added advantage of being so flexible it can be bent almost as a tight as a hairpin without kinking. Defender also has it for the best price (< $10/ft) and sells it by the foot Raritan Sani / Flex Sanitation Hose at Defender . For the vent line you can get away with Shields or Trident #148 flex PVC (the cheap stuff), which you can find at most marine stores.

If you still have questions, I"ll be glad to answer 'em.

--Peggie
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Old 03-06-2021, 13:49   #3
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Re: Head Refit Questions

Thank you Peg for the prompt and informational reply!

This indeed looks like the perfect solution for my intended use.

The boat already has the deck pump out and vent fittings in place, so it should be easy to mount the head using the supplied brackets, and run those two hoses through the existing passages.

Per your recommendation, I will use the high quality hose for the pump out line, and the cheaper stuff for the (longer) vent hose that goes to the transom.

I assume standard 'automotive' hose clamps of the right diameter will work for the connections, with perhaps two on each end for the pump out line.

Thanks!

+++++

Just out of curiosity, why does a manual (or electric) head use so much more water?
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Old 03-06-2021, 14:32   #4
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Re: Head Refit Questions

Before I would consider a port-a-potty or PP MSD, I would look at composting (Air Head) and desiccating (C-Head) heads. MUCH handier if pump outs are few or if you only day sail a small boat. There are many good threads on this forum.



I've had good holding tanks systems I liked and a desiccating toilet that I like. It just depends on your needs. But never a port-a-potty, never again.
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Old 03-06-2021, 15:03   #5
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Re: Head Refit Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by bdbranson View Post
I assume standard 'automotive' hose clamps of the right diameter will work for the connections, with perhaps two on each end for the pump out line.
It's sewage. I use marine hose clamps, preferably 316 stainless steel and preferably the non-perforated variety. Defender sells those too. As you suggested, 2 clamps at each end of the hose, just like you would for underwater hose. Don't want a sewage leak.
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Old 03-06-2021, 15:04   #6
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Re: Head Refit Questions

HI thinwater, what issues have you had with your PP setups? Just the difficulty in manually dumping vs the others?
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Old 03-06-2021, 15:17   #7
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Re: Head Refit Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
Before I would consider a port-a-potty or PP MSD, I would look at composting (Air Head) and desiccating (C-Head) heads. MUCH handier if pump outs are few or if you only day sail a small boat. There are many good threads on this forum.

Another vote for a composting head. It's the simplest, and most effective way to address your needs. The only caveat would be space. You may be limited to a C-head if you go commercial.
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Old 03-06-2021, 15:20   #8
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Re: Head Refit Questions

From what i've read , composting heads are much less smelly, require much less maintenance, that is, if you can manage to fit it onboard.

How many times are you actually going to take a #2 on a day sail/occasional overnight trip... Can't be that often but then again -I am very "regular"... a 28 foot boat won't have a crew of 6 each week either will it?

My philosophy is to simplify as much complicated stuff on board as possible, that goes for hoses and anything that might leak.

That being said, I don't own a boat but have been sailing and planning carefully for boat ownership for years.

Piss off the stern when need be and take those dookies out in a bag when that time comes (from what i read, iif done correctly, it can be weeks). Much more sanitary than leaks/drips/stink, much less maintenance, more time sailing and having fun.
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Old 10-06-2021, 17:19   #9
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Re: Head Refit Questions

Peggy, what's your take on Vetus No-Smell Impermeable Sanitary Hose vs. the (more expensive) Raritan Saniflex hose?

Thanks!
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Old 10-06-2021, 19:02   #10
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Re: Head Refit Questions

Portapotties only need enough water to rinse the bowl...marine toilets have to push bowl contents down--sometimes up and over--a hose, leaving the hose reasonably clean. That can't be done with just a pint of water.


--Peggie
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Old 10-06-2021, 20:43   #11
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Re: Head Refit Questions

Got it. Makes sense now :-)
Do you have any experience or opinions re: Vetus vs. Saniflex sanitary hose?

I really appreciate all of you insights.

I am starting my install this weekend.
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Old 11-06-2021, 09:09   #12
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Re: Head Refit Questions

Raritan Sani-Flex materials (see description on the Raritan website) RaritanSaniFlex hose are different from the Vetus hose materials, which are SBR rubber with inlays of woven synthetic fabric and steel spiral. SaniFlex has proven to be 100% odor permeation resistant and even has a 10 yr warranty against it. I have no idea how long Vetus warranties theirs.


Btw...Defender has SaniFlex for <$10/ft and sells it by the foot. Raritan Sani / Flex Sanitation Hose at Defender



--Peggie
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Old 13-06-2021, 17:19   #13
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Re: Head Refit Questions

I can vouch for the portapottie Peggie Hall just recommended. She gave me that same advice a few years ago for my 30 boat that also sails on an inland lake. Works great, has no smell, easy install and easy to use. I'm delighted with her advice and the end results. I was in an identical situation as you are.

I couldn't be happier with the results.

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Old 13-06-2021, 19:11   #14
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Re: Head Refit Questions

Per your recommendation, I will use the high quality hose for the pump out line, and the cheaper stuff for the (longer) vent hose that goes to the transom.



You don't want to vent out the transom unless you want to actually create the odor out the vent you're hoping to leave behind the boat. Even if you have to install a new vent thru-hull, it should be in the hull, straight as an arrow, and no longer than 5'...shorter is better. I've explained the reasons why in my book ...we can discuss 'em if you don't have a copy.


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Old 15-06-2021, 15:35   #15
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Re: Head Refit Questions

Thanks dj for the feedback!

Peggy,

The original holding tank was right in front of the transom with a short (2-3') mostly vertical run to the transom vent fitting.

The new head (with tank) is about 5-6' forward of the transom so that would be about 7' total length...mostly straight towards the original 2' vertical run to the vent.

Sounds like I may regret reusing the existing vent for odor, but may have to try it before having a chance to haul and install another through hull this fall.

Or... Maybe I can repurpose an existing one.

Complicated :-)
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