Originally Posted by mcarthur
That's good - I'll keep it going
Dockhead, we're on-the-hard in the UK (Cowes) at the moment but need to replace the old and prepare for European travel - north (UK, Baltic), inner (canals) and south (Med). The old heads are also pretty...old.
Given the exigencies of various European laws and practices, have you got any suggestions for what to install for a largish powerboat in Europe?
(and I can even bring it back to the topic: would you go for the Electroscan sourced and installed and used in Europe? )
Where in Cowes? Our winter
home for many years was Cowes Yacht Haven; lovely place with lovely folks.
I am not an expert by any means, so you should do your own research
I'm not sure you would get any benefit from Electro Scan in Europe, which as far as I know is not legally recognized anywhere. Except perhaps in terms of your conscience.
For European Atlantic coasts you don't need anything -- discharge directly. I guess most UK boats don't even have holding tanks
waters and especially for inland waters you will want as large a holding tank as you can fit. I have 120 liters and it's not enough. 3x or 4x that size, so like two 200 liter tanks
, one for each toilet, would be about right if you want to get a week between pumpouts and not just hold waste for a couple of days in a harbour or when anchored near a beach.
I'm not fussed about gravity tanks. Somewhat convenient because no pump is needed, but in my view this is not that important. My tank is below the waterline (where it is out of the way and has no negative effect on stability) and is pumped out with a Jabsco
Macerator Pump, which works fine (but burns impellers instantly if you forget to open the sea cock). If your waste is macerated anyway because you're using electric
toilets, then you might prefer a diaphragm
The holding tank should be capable of being discharged at sea and it also must have a deck
I would have all macerating electric toilets. I'm not an expert, but I would avoid the Sea Era for long term live aboard use; the Raritan
Elegance looks really good but is not widely available in Europe. People say good things about the Jabsco
Quiet Flush, but I have no experience.
If you can buy toilets which can be switched between sea and fresh water
, this is really good. When you're using the holding tank(s), flushing
with fresh water
will reduce the risk that waste standing in the pipes will cause calcium deposits. People say fresh water flushing
smells better in general, but I don't have any issue with sea water in this regard. But your toilet pumps will surely last longer in fresh water, and if you flush your system with fresh water before leaving the boat
, as you should, it's must easier to do if the toilet has its own fresh water supply.
You should hire a good engineer
to design the system properly with the right antisyphon loops, right slopes in the lines, etc etc etc. You will want the shortest possible run of pipe between toilets and holding tank(s) so that you can clear the lines without filling up the tank too quickly. But be sure you don't get a situation where waste can backflow or you have any risk of seawater syphoning into the boat
. I guess that's much much easier on a cat which doesn't heel, than it is on our monos.
You want huge vents to the holding tank(s), best two of them per tank. This is important to keep things aerobic in there. My tank has 2x 2" vents through the topsides via antisyphon loops, and I've never smelled anything from it, not a whiff in 10 years.
The best tanks in the UK are Tek Tanks. Expensive but worth every penny. Built like Rolls Royces and you won't have any leaks
or other issues with them.
Be careful with the hose. It must be sanitary hose which is a special formulation which prevents permeation and smells. I asked around to figure out what the best type available is, and it was Gates something, and was very expensive, but it's beautiful and easy to work
with, and not a whiff.
Lastly, think about monitoring the holding tank(s). I had the crappy WEMA system which shows only Low High Full, and which is not reliable. I replaced it with a Maretron ultrasonic sensor
which connects to the NMEA2000 network, displayed on the Maretron DSM250 I already had anyway. Works well. There are other good systems; Tank Tender
from many points of view is perhaps the best; the technology is kind of steam punk but absolutely bulletproof.
Toilet and sewage problems are the absolute top cruise-spoilers, in my experience. It's worth spending time and money
to get this system absolutely right, in my opinion, without cutting any corners.
OK, that's my 2c worth on boat sewage systems. Good luck.
If you need people to work on your boat, I can recommend a couple of good engineers in Cowes. Cowes is a great place to have work done, very high quality craftsmen at a very reasonable price
(about half of what it costs in Denmark
, and 20% to 30% cheaper than on the UK mainland). I can also tell you whom to avoid.