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Home > Crew Matters > The taboo of the marine loo

The taboo of the marine loo

Marine Toilets are a red line through my yachting career. I get confronted with them time and again. I am an extrovert person and I need to vent about the challenges I meet in my life, such as marine toilets! For some reason, unbeknownst to me, the topic keeps popping up in my head during dinner. This is obviously a big no-no. So I keep it to myself. But I’m not good at keeping things to myself. So I would like to grab the chance here and use the wonderful medium that is The Islander (often read on the head) to let it all out.

I am writing this from Malta where I have just arrived on a gorgeous Sunseeker 75. She is very well maintained by an affiliate maintenance company in Croatia and less than two years old.

Yet, on day one from our journey to Malta the owner ran up to the fly bridge with a look of horror on his face. His spacious marble floored master bathroom had turned into a swimming pool! Kudos to his wife who was bailing out the loo with a recipient. As I ran back to the bridge to turn off the freshwater pump I must have let out a slight sigh of relief, it was a fresh water problem. Not that I am intimidated by black water. No, those days are long gone. I used to work on back to back charter boats, you know. One thing I learned there is that grey water non-return valves are useless on black water systems. By the way, for those entirely new to yachting, black water is actually more brown – yellowish. If you are in yachting and you don’t know this, you’re a cheat.

I digress… It was a fresh water issue in this case. A solenoid that must have been hampered by a speck of grid…

But that’s the thing, Marine toilets are constantly defying the laws of gravity and physics. Water needs to be stopped where it wants to push through, needs to go up where it wants to go down and sit still on a moving vessel.

So what are the options on the market today?

The vacu-flush loos are pretty good but changing the rubber seals can be a nasty job.

Silent Flush loos, I find quite noisy.

The old style hand pump heads will invariably blow up in your face.

Macerators are great until the s#*t hits the fan.

I remember, on the charter boat, extracting a tampon out of a macerator. Uncomfortable as the topic was I had to address it to the charter guest to prevent it from happening again. She took it as a compliment as she was about 10 years past her menopause.

Anyway, what I want to say is that running a Pocket Superyacht is a diverse job that requires a diverse skill set. Also you mustn’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. One moment you are on a flybridge cruising between the Croatian islands with dolphins next today the boat, wondering why you get paid for this. The next minute you are reminded.

All in a day’s work.

Glad I got that out of my system.



Jens Oomes