Marine Portable Toilet: Clear Waters

Marine portable toilets - sanitation laws do exist for water vessels that are fitted with toilets and have been in place since the 1980s. However twenty years on there are some mariners and boating communities who still seem to be confused. Marine sanitation devices or MSDs are the technical equivalents of toilets and a sanitation system and hold and or treat sewage. Under this definition marine portable toilets are technically MSDs. At present though there are no coast guard approved toilet units.

With regard to marine portable toilets, the boating community also needs to be aware that there are bodies of water that have been legally deemed "no-discharge zones" - no sewage can be dumped from any boat or vessel in these areas. This restriction does not cover waste from sinks and showers on board of recreational vessels. The majority of the lakes and inland water bodies are classified as no-discharge ones.

Marine Portable toilets are quite clearly the solution! - they ultimately give more flexibility to ships / boats that pass through a variety of waterways, and those that are not big enough to accommodate a type I,II or III MSD. Portable toilets are also legal on all waters since they are not permanently installed thus the coast guard has no jurisdiction over them. Holding tanks can be fitted on the bottom of the unit which can hold enough water to accommodate flushing, and chemicals for the treatment of waste. The waste is thus able to be correctly discarded onshore. More on chemical units.

Here are a few things you might want to take into consideration when deciding on a marine portable toilet:

  • How long does the vessel in question stay out at sea - think about how much would need to be stored and the capacity you would need.
  • How many people will be on board?
  • Could your boat accommodate a MSD? - might be better option if greater capacity needs to be coped with.
  • Marine portable toilets would be easier to install than MSDs as they would only require mounting and bracing and possibly the fitting of holding tank.

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