Registered users don't see ads

What kind of marine head setup do I have?

Discussion in 'Marine Plumbing and Sanitation' started by Project_Mayhem, Mar 11, 2019. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. Project_Mayhem

    Project_Mayhem

    Joined Sep 24, 2018
    149 posts, 28 likes
    O'Day 25
    US Waukegan
    I recently bought an O'Day 25 that has a head. It's a square toilet on top of a square holding tank. It has a hand pump and a macerator pump. The boat has been on Lake Michigan the last 10-15 years so I'm guessing there's no through hull discharge since they're not legal. Anyways, I'm trying to figure out what kind of setup I have. The macerator pump is mounted on the wall. Am I correct in assuming that the macerator pump is used during pump out?
     


  2. Peggie Hall HeadMistress

    Peggie Hall HeadMistress

    Joined Dec 2, 1997
    7,079 posts, 647 likes
    - -
    US LIttle Rock
    Several possibilities including a POs DIY system "design"...Can you post a photo or two of it along with its plumbing?
    --Peggie
     


  3. John Tubb

    John Tubb

    Joined Feb 14, 2017
    1,011 posts, 284 likes
    O'Day 25
    US Guntersville, AL
    Check under the port side settee close to the bulkhead with the chain plates, my thru hole and seacocks are in there. Just 2, one for water intake and 1 for discharge. Never used also as I too am on a lake since 1976
     


  4. Project_Mayhem

    Project_Mayhem

    Joined Sep 24, 2018
    149 posts, 28 likes
    O'Day 25
    US Waukegan
    I'll grab some pics the next time I'm out there. I've seen diagrams online of macerators between the head and holding tank and also between the tank and pump out. Which setup is best practice?
     


  5. Parsons

    Parsons

    Joined Jul 12, 2011
    709 posts, 288 likes
    Catalina 36
    US Bay City, MI
    Just because you're in a no-discharge zone doesn't mean that it never got pumped overboard. It may shock you, but I have seen people on Interstate highways exceeding the legal speed limit! People do all kinds of things if enforcement is lax and they don't care, particularly where the laws are a bit silly (emptying a gallon of human waste into a Great Lake is not going to alter the ecosystem).

    Yes, the 'macerator' pump is just an overboard pump with a macerator, or blender blade, attachment. It whirls your used lunch into a puree, and pumps it out the through-hull if you open the valve. To guard against that, the regulations state that you must 'disable' the through-hull when in a no-discharge zone (nothing permanent) by wiring the handle closed, or removing it, etc.
     


  6. Project_Mayhem

    Project_Mayhem

    Joined Sep 24, 2018
    149 posts, 28 likes
    O'Day 25
    US Waukegan
    Thanks for clearing that up Parsons. I'm guessing the hand pump pumps water and "flushes" everything into the holding tank?
     


  7. Parsons

    Parsons

    Joined Jul 12, 2011
    709 posts, 288 likes
    Catalina 36
    US Bay City, MI
    I'm guessing here, but what you have sounds like a convertible porta-potty, like this Dometic model with a feature to allow direct discharge - https://www.defender.com/product.js...fittings&path=-1|51|2234284|2234292&id=902441
    It's sort of like a small, self-contained version of what larger boats have. It should also allow for manual dumping of the holding container in a porta-potty emptying station. Not as tidy as a vacuum pump-out facility, but much more common. You can find them at most marinas and campgrounds. Because these dumping facilities are just gravity-fed, like toilets, there is not much maintenance and therefore they are often free to use, unlike pump-outs which often cost $5-10 per pump.
     


  8. Project_Mayhem

    Project_Mayhem

    Joined Sep 24, 2018
    149 posts, 28 likes
    O'Day 25
    US Waukegan
    Surprisingly DIY vacuum pump out stations are free to use in most Chicago area marinas. There is a deck pump out port and the PO showed me a piece of short hose that's used for pumping out. I'm going off of memory. I'll grab model numbers the next time I'm out there
     


  9. Peggie Hall HeadMistress

    Peggie Hall HeadMistress

    Joined Dec 2, 1997
    7,079 posts, 647 likes
    - -
    US LIttle Rock
    You shouldn't need use any hose to pump out, just a fitting that threads into the deck pumpout fitting to connect the dock pumpout hose.

    There should never be a macerator pump between any tank and the deck pumpout fitting...the dock pump sucks the waste out of the tank. A macerator pump in that line would interfere with pumpout. However, some owners find that the self contained tank can't hold enough for the amount of time they want to go between pumpouts, so they install another remote holding tank and reroute the pumpout line to it using a macerator pump to transfer the waste. That would be the only use for a macerator pump between any toilet and holding tank. Any maceator pump in the TANK discharge line that connects to a thru-hull would be used to dump the tank which is illegal in all the Great Lakes, in fact in ALL U.S. waters. To dump a tank legally you must be in open ocean at least 3 miles from the nearest point on the whole US coastline.

    It's sounding more and more that what you have started out as a portable portapotty that the PO jury rigged into one that can be pumped out or dumped without the slightest idea of how it should be done. I'll know for certain when I see your photos.
    I'm guessing that this is your first boat big enough to have a sanitation system...in which case I think you'll find my book (see link in my signature below) very useful. The title is a bit misleading...although it does deal with every source of odor on a boat and how to cure, or better yet, PREVENT 'em, it's actually a comprehensive "marine toilets and sanitation systems 101" manual that explains the laws, describes all the types of systems and will help you learn how to operate and maintain your system to prevent 99% of problems instead of having to cure 'em. 'Cuz you get to do any preventive maintenance on your terms when it's convenient...the need to cure a problem never happens when it is!

    --Peggie
     


    Parsons likes this.
  10. Project_Mayhem

    Project_Mayhem

    Joined Sep 24, 2018
    149 posts, 28 likes
    O'Day 25
    US Waukegan
    Thank you Peggie and Parsons! While there is still lots to learn, you've helped me understand a good portion of the basics. I should have pics in a week or two
     


  11. jssailem

    jssailem

    Joined Oct 22, 2014
    8,313 posts, 3,468 likes
    CAL 35 Cruiser
    US Salem, Moored Port Everett WA
    Unsolicited book review, Peggie’s book is well worthwhile. Good for novice or marine plumber wannabe expert.
     


    Parsons likes this.


Sunbrella lifesling covers
Any color, fits over existing bag to match your existing canvas.
Mainsail covers
Pre-patterned mainsail covers to fit your boat
NEW rigid hatch covers
Hatch protection like never before. Tough, secure, installs in seconds.
Gray Enterprises port gasket
Stop winter leaks. Compare our price!