Choosing a Marine Toilet

Tips for choosing the best marine toilet.

Everyone who’s spent any time at sea has experienced a moment when, well, you’ve got to go. Those ­occasions punctuate, with an exclamation mark, the fact that all marine toilets are not ­created equal. We caught up with experts from Xylem Marine to figure out what counts in this, ahem, game of thrones.

1. Fine China
A porcelain bowl is ideal, as it is more durable and easier to clean and disinfect than a plastic one.

2. Water, Water, Everywhere
Look for stainless-steel or corrosion-resistant fasteners because the head is usually a wet environment, especially when combined with the shower.

3. Splashproof
Electric pumps need a splashproof motor; hand pumps need clearly labeled instructions.

4. Heavy Metal
In boats that use salt water in the system, the macerator mechanism should be stainless steel or bronze.

5. Footprint
Make sure the physical dimensions of the toilet aren't too large for mounting in your head space.

6. Fresh Water
Heads that use water for flushing from a tank on board and heads that use raw-water flushing work fine but can create more odors.

7. Access Points
Verify that all the serviceable areas are easy to reach and that the motor is accessible for maintainance or replacement.

8. Suck Gain
Vacuum-flush heads use less water than conventional models do.

9. Electric
Ensure that the wiring is appropriate to support the current draw of the motor.

10. Separation
The raw-water intake and overboard discharge should be located on opposite sides of the keel, or at least spaced as far as practicable fore and aft from each other.

Quick Tip: Waste tank walls should be at least a quarter-inch thick to prevent odor permeation. Vent lines should be as straight as possible.