The – ahem – business end of your marine head is only the begin- ning of what you need to think about after you flush, when waste typically travels to your boat’s holding tank. While there are a variety of options for onboard waste management, ranging from chemical toilets and composting heads to
full-onboard treatment devices, the vast majority of boats
have a simple marine head connected to a holding tank.
Regular pumpouts are a good idea to ensure that your holding tank always has room when you need it. Knowing the
location of the closest pumpout station is also a good habit.
A typical Type III marine sanitation device system (see the
accompanying illustration) consists of a holding tank fitted
with a head-discharge hose, a pumpout hose, and a vent line. In
addition, some systems include a macerator to chop the waste
The Skinny On The Poo
You might want to ignore everything associated with pumping out, but you shouldn’t.
Here’s how to properly use a holding tank and an onshore pumpout station
up into disposable small bits. The discharge hose feeds the tank from the head
and empties into the top of the tank.
The pumpout hose allows you to use a
pumpout facility, pulls from the bottom
of the tank, and leads to a through-deck
fitting. The vent line, which is a smaller-diameter hose, allows air into the tank for
the aerobic breakdown of wastes and to
replace the wastewater volume when it’s
How To Pump Out
Topside, you’ll find a waste fitting to
which your pumpout hose connects.
Most of these are sealed with keyed
plates, requiring a special tool to open.
Put on gloves. You can buy inexpensive
BoatU.S. Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water By Brian Mistrot
video on how
to pump out.