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Old 31-10-2018, 07:50   #1
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Could you live with a single head/toilet (family of four)?

I'm browsing Seawind 1160s, Lightwave 38s, etc. On these smaller catamarans it seems like you can squeeze in a bit more storage or luxuries (like a washing machine) by going with a single head with separate shower.

It's nice. It's generally just off the salon, aft in the port hull.

I just wonder if there's any real concern among experienced liveaboards about not having a backup head? For a family of four?

It seems like with a separate non-transparent shower door that kept the toilet available "in case of emergency" it wouldn't necessarily be all that inconvenient.

If you were willing to make your only toilet a composting toilet you wouldn't have reliability to worry about besides maybe keeping spare fans on board. Never having used one I don't know if we could make that leap, but I suppose it's an option. Maybe it's not the end of the world if your electric flush or macerating toilet is out of service for a day or two while on passage though as long as you have parts to fix it and it's not an annual thing.

Just looking for advice an opinions to help us narrow down our minimums. In your opinion is having a backup head really necessary or could you imagine a small family making do with a single head and it being a total non-issue?
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Old 31-10-2018, 07:55   #2
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Re: Could you live with a single head/toilet (family of four)?

In this day and age the general answer is probably "no". But my family owned our last boat for 40 years. For 10 of those years 4 people lived aboard and cruised (two parents and two teens followed later by two parents and two young adults). For another 5 there were fewer people aboard. There was one head. We all managed just fine. YMMV.

The more heads you have the more heads you have to clean and keep working.
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Old 31-10-2018, 07:58   #3
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Re: Could you live with a single head/toilet (family of four)?

I know plenty of people with 4-5 people in a single bathroom household. I don't see how a boat would be any different. Unless you have people using the head for unreasonable amounts of time, I don't see how it would be an issue.

On the other hand, we have friends with a 2 head boat for two people and now they claim they couldn't go back to a single head.
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Old 31-10-2018, 07:59   #4
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Re: Could you live with a single head/toilet (family of four)?

We lived on our 44 Gulfstar for 13 years with only one toilet with 4 people, my wife, two very large boys and myself. On an offshore passage a bad toilet means bucket and chuck it!
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Old 31-10-2018, 08:26   #5
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Re: Could you live with a single head/toilet (family of four)?

If we go back to just before and after WWII and look at average house size vs average family size, number of bathrooms etc. you may be surprised.
Apparently we don’t “Need” nearly as much as we have come to believe, we have just become used to it.
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Old 31-10-2018, 08:41   #6
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Re: Could you live with a single head/toilet (family of four)?

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Apparently we don’t “Need” nearly as much as we have come to believe, we have just become used to it.
Definitely agree. We're remodeling a bathroom in our home right now, and have a leaking shower pan in another. So we're down to one shower and two toilets in our 4-bed/3-bath home at the moment. We could go down to one toilet with no trouble at all (as long as I could get the kids to aim!).

If that one toilet spontaneously combusted, I could drive down to the hardware store, pick up a new one, and replace it in about an hour for a total cost of about $150.

I was just wondering if people with liveaboard experience felt like having a single head was too big of a "risk" since maybe it's not so straightforward to do the same.

It seems pretty unanimous that it's a non-issue though. Which is nice to hear. Thanks all!
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Old 31-10-2018, 09:45   #7
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Re: Could you live with a single head/toilet (family of four)?

Off course this is fine.
2 heads is twice the trouble.
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Old 31-10-2018, 09:57   #8
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Re: Could you live with a single head/toilet (family of four)?

One is fine I think. With 4 it would be with the separate shower anyway. Otherwise I would want two. But boats are crowded spaces for 4 people, two could help alleviate any stresses.
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Old 31-10-2018, 10:09   #9
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Re: Could you live with a single head/toilet (family of four)?

My Aunt and Uncle, their 6 children, and my Uncle's mother lived in a small house with a single bathroom. It took some coordinating, but they managed just fine.

Regarding reliability, on a boat at least you have the "bucket and chuck-it" option in an emergency.
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Old 31-10-2018, 10:14   #10
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Re: Could you live with a single head/toilet (family of four)?

I could but not my wife.
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Old 31-10-2018, 10:50   #11
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Re: Could you live with a single head/toilet (family of four)?

Do you need it? Well my mother grew up on a farm in south GA with five brothers and sisters that shared a one hole outhouse and she survived just fine.
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Old 31-10-2018, 10:52   #12
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Re: Could you live with a single head/toilet (family of four)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ssmoot View Post
I'm browsing Seawind 1160s, Lightwave 38s, etc. On these smaller catamarans it seems like you can squeeze in a bit more storage or luxuries (like a washing machine) by going with a single head with separate shower.

It's nice. It's generally just off the salon, aft in the port hull.

I just wonder if there's any real concern among experienced liveaboards about not having a backup head? For a family of four?

It seems like with a separate non-transparent shower door that kept the toilet available "in case of emergency" it wouldn't necessarily be all that inconvenient.

If you were willing to make your only toilet a composting toilet you wouldn't have reliability to worry about besides maybe keeping spare fans on board. Never having used one I don't know if we could make that leap, but I suppose it's an option. Maybe it's not the end of the world if your electric flush or macerating toilet is out of service for a day or two while on passage though as long as you have parts to fix it and it's not an annual thing.

Just looking for advice an opinions to help us narrow down our minimums. In your opinion is having a backup head really necessary or could you imagine a small family making do with a single head and it being a total non-issue?
If you want the wash machine bad enuff you answer your own question.
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Old 31-10-2018, 10:53   #13
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Re: Could you live with a single head/toilet (family of four)?

My boat has 2 heads. we use the head in the aft and the shower in the forward. One of the problems I feel boats have is having 2 small heads instead of 1 nice one!!!
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Old 31-10-2018, 10:54   #14
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Re: Could you live with a single head/toilet (family of four)?

I had one head on my PDQ, and cruised with two girls and my wife. There is NO WAY I would have wanted two, and no one ever suggested we needed two.



Unlike home, there is no morning get-to-school-and-work rush and no fancy go-out-to-dinner preparations. Keep it simple. Use the space you saved for storage and accommodations.
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Old 31-10-2018, 10:56   #15
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Re: Could you live with a single head/toilet (family of four)?

If I had to choose I would prefer a single head and a separate shower stall over two heads.
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