Game of Thrones

But not that kind of throne

November 2021 Multimedia Heather Magda Serrano

“When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.”

At least that’s according to the HBO hit series Game of Thrones. Luckily, the stakes are not quite as high for the kind of thrones we’re talking about here. Or are they?

Marine heads are often the unsung heroes when it comes to boating luxuries. But I think we can all agree that they make boating on the Great Lakes a lot more comfortable and enjoyable. So let’s talk toilets for a little bit. Laurie Louvier, the vice president of marketing for Dometic Marine, likes to think of marine toilets as an investment that’ll pay off in the long run.

“Whether you’re getting a permanently installed marine toilet for a vessel with a holding tank or a portable unit, marine sanitation is no place to scrimp,” said Louvier.  “Think of it as investment that will pay off in many comfortable, convenient and worry-free boating adventures in the future.”

There are a few factors to consider when choosing your marine toilet such as how it’s going to fit into your vessel and ease of use. But first, let’s take a look at the different types of heads available for marine use.

Types Of Toilets

There are four different kinds of marine toilets: electric, composting, portable and manual. Let’s start with electric marine toilets. This kind of head is super easy to use since all you have to do is simply push a button, allowing everything to drain into a black water tank.

The macerator is the electric component in this particular kind of toilet. The macerator grinds up solid waste to make it easier to dispose which is a plus because water pressure can often be a concern on a boat. This makes it so that you don’t need as much pressure to pump waste.

Next are the composting toilets. These newer marine toilets work a little differently than traditional marine heads since they have two separate compartments, one for liquid waste and the other for solid.

The solid waste compartment is dry and makes it so the waste can be mixed with other components such as sawdust or peat moss with a fan for ventilation. Once they waste is mixed with other dry components, the composting process begins and the waste breaks down quite quickly without any noticeable odor. A plus is that this kind of toilet is good for the environment since you don’t need to use water for a composting toilet.

Portable marine toilets are another option if your boat doesn’t have a bathroom and they can be used just about anywhere on your boat. The upper portion of the portable marine toilet is the water tank and the lower half is the holding tank. They are not meant for long-term use but can be handy for a day trip on a boat.

Lastly there’s the manual marine toilet. This type is one of the most common kinds of marine heads. Like its name indicates, you need to manually pump these toilets to get them to work. Water helps the bowl drain and a switch valve opens it for the waste to flow out.

Maintenance & Ease Of Use

Obviously maintenance is of significant importance when it comes to marine toilets. So when you’re deciding on a head for your boat, keep in mind how difficult it will be to clean and maintain.

Paul Campagna, the market application manager for Jabsco, advised that when you’re looking for a marine toilet, you should prioritize simplicity in operation with a strong motor and ease of maintenance. Kim Carrell, the COO of Raritan, added that you should also keep ease of use in mind when shopping for heads.

“I think the most important thing in marine toilets is ease of use,” shared Carrell. “One of the reasons we built the Atlantes with the handle on the side was so that people unfamiliar with marine toilets would not be intimidated by using them. We have designed the new Atlantes and Marine Elegance to be easy to use with good quality components so that you can spend more time enjoying the water.”

Spatial Awareness

Bathrooms on boats are often not the biggest, so be sure to make the best use of the space you have available. That means you need to have enough room for both the holding tank and the toilet.

“From a practicality standpoint, make sure you get a marine toilet that fits within the space you have, while still allowing the freedom of movement you’ll need to use it comfortably,” advised Louvier. “Do plenty of research, as there are various shapes, sizes and bowl styles, as well as flushing systems, to consider. Work with a dealer and manufacturer you trust to ensure pleasant boating experiences in the future.”

Just be sure to consider your space carefully so that you can fit in your marine toilet with plenty of room for easy movement and comfort.

Managing Noise

Using the bathroom isn’t generally something we like to advertise. When you’re on a boat by yourself, noisy toilets might not bother you. But if you’re throwing a fancy cocktail party onboard then you might want something a little more discreet because some marine toilets can make some distracting noises.

The good news is that most composting toilets are often noise free and even the electric toilets (the usual culprits for noisiness) can place some safeguards to help lessen motor sounds. This is just some food for thought when shopping around.

You Win Or You Die

Obviously you won’t die if you make a less than ideal choice when it comes to a marine toilet. However, you’ll save yourself a lot of hassle and discomfort if you simply start out with the right one.

With all the options available, you shouldn’t have too much of a difficult time finding the right match for you and your boat. Just try to make a good choice from the start so you can feel like a proper king or queen sitting on your throne.



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