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
    383 posts, 73 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
    7,267 posts, 763 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. JRT

    JRT

    Joined Feb 14, 2017
    1,233 posts, 411 likes
    Catalina 310
    211 US Lake 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
    383 posts, 73 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
    765 posts, 334 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
    383 posts, 73 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
    765 posts, 334 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
    383 posts, 73 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
    7,267 posts, 763 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
    383 posts, 73 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
    9,353 posts, 4,172 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.
  12. Project_Mayhem

    Project_Mayhem

    Joined Sep 24, 2018
    383 posts, 73 likes
    O'Day 25
    US Waukegan
    I finally got some pics this weekend. I'm left with more questions than answers. I'm wondering why the macerator is leading to a deck fitting?

    2019-04-15 08_24_32-What kind of  setup do I have.png 2019-04-12 16.05.05.jpg 2019-04-12 17.15.22.jpg
     

    Attached Files:



    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
  13. JRT

    JRT

    Joined Feb 14, 2017
    1,233 posts, 411 likes
    Catalina 310
    211 US Lake Guntersville, AL


  14. Project_Mayhem

    Project_Mayhem

    Joined Sep 24, 2018
    383 posts, 73 likes
    O'Day 25
    US Waukegan
    I remember the previous owner showing me a piece of garden hose that he said was for the head. Perhaps this goes in the macerator output to ward off pirates
     


    Jim26m likes this.
  15. Jim26m

    Jim26m

    Joined Apr 3, 2019
    106 posts, 61 likes
    Macgregor 26M
    P Cub Boo US Mobile AL
    It would ward me off!

    Did the PO trailer sail? Maybe he rigged a dump station at the house and used the pump to empty the tank when he wasn't at a pump out station?

    I'm slightly stronger than a 5 year old, and find it inconvenient to haul the head out of the boat and empty it, wash it, and reinstall it. I can see the idea behind what you have. Not sayin I agree with it, but I do understand it.
     


  16. Project_Mayhem

    Project_Mayhem

    Joined Sep 24, 2018
    383 posts, 73 likes
    O'Day 25
    US Waukegan
    No trailer. It was sailed on Lake Michigan. I also prefer not to carry a bucket of poo on and off the boat
     


  17. Jim26m

    Jim26m

    Joined Apr 3, 2019
    106 posts, 61 likes
    Macgregor 26M
    P Cub Boo US Mobile AL
    I'm suspicious that it may have facilitated "stealth" discharge then...
     


  18. Project_Mayhem

    Project_Mayhem

    Joined Sep 24, 2018
    383 posts, 73 likes
    O'Day 25
    US Waukegan
    You may be correct. There's two ports on the deck plate. One is for pump out and I suspect the other one was originally intended to be for ventilation?? It was made by a reputable manufacturer so I'm wondering what they're supposed to be used for
     


  19. jssailem

    jssailem

    Joined Oct 22, 2014
    9,353 posts, 4,172 likes
    CAL 35 Cruiser
    US Salem, Moored Port Everett WA
    Perhaps the design is so that you can empty the thick sludge into a bucket and save the carrying it on and off the boat where "spillage" would be "Nasty". It is a porta-potty setup with an external pump out. You can suck it all out or you can pump it out. Looks like you have some of the best of both worlds.
    Just be careful when you turn on the pump.. If pressure builds up you might have a big problem.
     


  20. Peggie Hall HeadMistress

    Peggie Hall HeadMistress

    Joined Dec 2, 1997
    7,267 posts, 763 likes
    - -
    US LIttle Rock
    OMG...I know why! I first saw one of those deck fittings (I've only seen two till now) in 2011 and had to ask some of my gurus what the heck it is. One of 'em had been an engineer with Jabsco in the late '70s when somebody there came up with the idea of creating a single deck fitting that could either be a pumpout fitting (larger opening) or an overboard discharge fitting for a macerator pump (smaller one.). Once I found out what it was I nicknamed it Jabsco Poop Shooter. Jabsco quickly abandoned it because trying to shoot a tankful of waste out a deck fitting was a disaster! Forgetting to make sure it was on the lee side of the boat when using it had predictable consequences...even making sure to put it on the lee side wasn't much help if the wind--even a slight breeze--shifted even a little bit. There were a number of blow up disasters trying to pump through the deck discharge plate and apparently putting it in the side of a boat (I saw a second one in the side of a Grand Banks trawler...owner wasn't using it and didn't have a clue what it was) didn't work any better because of "blow back" so it never went into full production. Yours is only third one I've ever seen and the only one I've seen that still had a macerator pump connected to it apparently still in use judging by the new looking condition of the macerator.
    I'd remove it, fabricate a cover for the hole, and install current deck discharge fitting and if you want to discharge overboard, install a below-waterline thru-hull with seacock.
    What's the "system" in photo #7?

    Btw...I do hope you're planning to replace ALL the hoses...corrugated hose has no place in a sanitation system. I'll be glad to help you spec out a system the right way.
    And I'd love it if you could email two photos to me--#2 and #3. If you don't already have my email address, PM me and I'll give it to you.
    --Peggie
     




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