In the grand scheme of things there are some basic human needs that we all have. Eating, shitting, sleeping, showering, ect.
This being the case shouldn’t the shitter or “head” should be pretty high up there on the “stuff you want to work right on your boat” list? I know it ranks up there pretty high on mine.
If you are like me you have probably had to make due or “doo” once or twice with something less than adequate.
The wheelhouse trashcan is a good alternative in a pinch. Coming down on a lock for instance.
Oddly enough though, over the last 16 years or so I have been on more than one garbage can boat where the shitter was almost like an after thought.
One of my earliest “moody shitter” experiences was on an old retrofitted towboat. The crew head on the stern only worked if you got a 5 gallon bucket of river water and forced flushed it. Sometimes that didn’t even work.
Most of us that got frustrated with the “shark” that would not die ended up giving up and just crapping over the stern or in a 5 gallon bucket with some water in the bottom and then tossing it over the side.
Of course the captain’s head, the engineeer’s head, and the cook’s head all flushed fine.
I was on a boat not too long ago that was making at least 10k/day on the BP spill clean up. Not bad for a 1300 hp towboat.
Unbelievably there was still not enough money in the coffers to fix the MSD unit.
I didn’t find out until I had some time to walk around and really get a good look at “my boat” that I had hastly been put in charge of, but the MSD was being bypassed.
Why? Because the MSD didn’t work.
It was easier to bypass it and let the captain sweat out a CG boarding than fix it.
That is one of the reasons I had to leave that company.
Another tug I worked on was more or less a day boat but had “quarters” on it for overnight if need be.
It was filthy and you would lay on the bare mattresses in your work clothes if you needed a nap.
The head was one of those shit burner toilets put in a closet more or less.
The smell that it generated was so bad that anyone that had to use it would crap in an engine room “diaper” or oil absorbant pad and throw it over the side to spare himself and his shipmates the lingering smell of burning turds.
My most recent poopy story is one of a very old tug that had a MSD unit on it for an RV. It was built to handle waste from two people with regular pump offs.
They had converted an old wing tank on this tug to a septic tank and we had 9 men at one point on this boat.
The MSD was located in the forepeak right next to the air intake for the air handlers. It vented into the space very badly and the air handler grabbed that smell up and dumped it right on your nose while you were sleeeping, eating, working, it didn’t matter.
The only way the engineer could keep the stench managable was to keep the “septic” tank and MSD unit pumped off all the time even in restricted waters.
The company put him and us in a position where we had to break the law just to live on this trash can.
Yes, yes I can hear the protest now. “Walk off!” “Call the CG!”, ect, ect.
Not if you just wanna make your money drama free and go home.
What happens if they put your boat in the shipyard to fix the shitter?
In a small boat company that equals you sittin at the house or you elbow deep in shit helpin to fix the problem.
Both of which I have done.
But why fix it now? You guys can deal with it until this winter can’t you?
That is why I think a good port captain should spend at least two weeks a year on each one of the vessels in his fleet. If there are too many vessels for this, then hire some assistant port captains.
I can guarentee you if my “port captain” had to spend 1 hour let alone 90 days in that stench the problem would have been fixed immediatley. No mattter what part of the sailing season we were in and where that boat was at.
It really was a health and safety issue but no one wanted to be the “stinker” and raise the red flag with the office.
How can you expect a crew of 9 men to live like that for an entire sailing season?
I nominate the head to be put on the top of the list of stuff that needs to work on your boat.
Shitter, radar, engines, steering, ect.
I wonder if i could get that added to CFR 164.80? Shitter workin? Check.
OK, turn me loose!