We are putting a Nature's Head on our boat
. Lance just finished ripping out the completely rebuilt marine head
and brand new sanitation hoses that he had put in last year. That's how bad we wanted to be rid of our traditional marine
head. Had we stumbled onto this idea sooner (I really had no idea) we would have done this from the get-go.
Over the years he has had to rebuild
more than one marine
head. A nasty job under any conditions. I think pump outs are nasty too, those little drips from the hose that sometimes end up on the deck
. Gag me. I swear I'd rather empty a porta-potty (which I actually prefer to a plumbed MSD in fact).
But what really did us in was a major sewage mishap on our CD-28. We had the smell....that god-awful sewage smell. We had just purchased the boat
and figured it was probably old porous hoses, or a full tank that had been left in a long closed up boat, whatever. Replacing hoses, cleaning
the head, airing out the boat, air fresheners, nothing worked to get rid of it, or even reduce it. Finally it was determined that there was a crack on the underside of the holding tank, which was located under the forward vee-berth. Sewage had been trickling out of the tank, through several lockers (finding this was disgusting and how we finally diagnosed the problem), in between the liner and hull, and into the bilge
for heaven only knows how long. We had just bought the boat so it could have been for years for all we knew.
We removed and replaced the tank. I emptied out the vee-berth area and removed the covers off of every locker and access hole. I took a pressure hose attached to a container first of cleaners and bleach and then of odor
neutralizer ( a number of times over a week or so) and pressure sprayed into every hole trying to get it clean between the liner and hull, which I believe I did. We flooded the bilges from front to back clear up to the floor boards, 3 times, with bleach once, with bilge
cleaner once, with odor
neutralizer once. We let it soak, we scrubbed it, we did everything. I think the odor must have permeated the wood
from behind or something because 3 years later you could still smell that sewage smell, certainly much fainter, but I was hyper-sensitive to it by that point. To this day even the faintest whiff of that horrible scent just gets to me.
I am now totally paranoid about carrying a tank of sewage around in my boat and there is a great deal of inconvenience (emptying the small tanks
on the desiccating toilet, mixing coco coir, whatever is required) that I would be willing to go to in order to eliminate any chance of that happening again.
Our holding tank is glassed in place in the bilge so we are going to leave it. Maybe someday in the future some other owner will want to use an MSD and doing major demo to get it out doesn't seem necessary. We are going to clean it out as best we can as many times as we need to and cap it off. All hoses are being removed. The thru hull
for the head intake water is being glassed up but the overboard thru hull is being repurposed for the head sink which used to drain into a bilge sump. We're happy to get to use it for that because I didn't like that sink draining arrangement to start with.
I have talked to a number of people who actually have the heads and I have done a lot of research
and most people who have them really love them and wouldn't go back. I am under no illusion that the desiccating toilet will be totally trouble or work
free. I am aware that the fan needs to be kept working, and that there may be a need to add some diatomeceous earth if the buggies appear. And I know that a properly working plumbed marine sanitation device is just fine (with the emphasis on properly working), as long as nothing goes wrong. The problem is that once something does go wrong the mess and ill effects can just be catastrophic and long lasting. So, whatever it takes, for me the Nature's Head will be giving me a great deal of peace of mind and it's worth it. Whether or not it is a greener solution really never entered into the equation for me.