Composting toilet vs. regular for resale value

gusc

.
Dec 6, 2020
10
catalina 30 kenosha
I am in the market for a mid 80s Catalina 30 and a found a strong contender which the owner has converted to a composting toilet, and ripped out the holding tank for storage.
my question is - this is ok for me, but would it hurt the resale value? Would less people be interested when it comes time for me to sell her?

thank you
 
Jan 11, 2014
7,855
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
Composting toilets in boats have their advocates, however it is far from a mainstream opinion. While some buyers might be willing to pay a premium for an already installed composting head, that market may be very small.

Because of the volume of mid 80s Cat 30s available and the boat's age the price is already fairly low. I doubt the presence of a composting head would depress the value much if at all, however, I'm pretty sure it will severely limit the market for such a boat making it more difficult to sell.

One question to ask the seller is how long has the boat been on the market?
 

SFS

.
Aug 18, 2015
1,979
West Marine Kayak Tampa Bay
I wouldn't hesitate to buy the boat with a composting toilet, but it is a polarizing issue. I wish we could have put one on our Hunter 31, but none of the commercially available versions would fit, and I was too lazy to make one. The extra storage space will be nice to have. Folks that have never had a composter think they are messy, and stink, and attract bugs. If you use it properly, none of those things are true.

What is messy, and stinks, is dealing with the standard toilet setup when a problem arises. The hoses are difficult to route and connect, pumps need to be lubed and/or rebuilt, and if you have an overboard discharge for offshore use, macerator pumps go bad (and are connected to more hoses).

As to resale value, if you mean when YOU go to sell the boat, I wouldn't factor that in at all. A mid 80's C30 has already depreciated as much as its going to, so condition and equipment (and I mean the kind not related to the toilet) will make the difference between getting $6K and $12K. Buy the boat at the right price, enjoy it, and don't worry about what you will get out of it. This is especially true if it is your first sailboat.
 

gusc

.
Dec 6, 2020
10
catalina 30 kenosha
I wouldn't hesitate to buy the boat with a composting toilet, but it is a polarizing issue. I wish we could have put one on our Hunter 31, but none of the commercially available versions would fit, and I was too lazy to make one. The extra storage space will be nice to have. Folks that have never had a composter think they are messy, and stink, and attract bugs. If you use it properly, none of those things are true.

What is messy, and stinks, is dealing with the standard toilet setup when a problem arises. The hoses are difficult to route and connect, pumps need to be lubed and/or rebuilt, and if you have an overboard discharge for offshore use, macerator pumps go bad (and are connected to more hoses).

As to resale value, if you mean when YOU go to sell the boat, I wouldn't factor that in at all. A mid 80's C30 has already depreciated as much as its going to, so condition and equipment (and I mean the kind not related to the toilet) will make the difference between getting $6K and $12K. Buy the boat at the right price, enjoy it, and don't worry about what you will get out of it. This is especially true if it is your first sailboat.
Thank you so much. Yes, I think I meant to ask if the time to sell, when I sell mine in the future, would be affected negatively (which dlochner agrees).

yes, this would be my first boat, and I would personally considering converting it myself to composting :)

thank you so much
 
Sep 25, 2008
6,318
Alden 50 Sarasota, Florida
I don’t think a traditional head would ever limit the market of potential purchasers but a composting one will.
 
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Jan 7, 2011
2,927
Oday 322 East Chicago, IN
I would probably pass on a boat with a composting head, unless I REALLY wanted that boat and nothing else was available.

But as others have said, it is a polarizing issue, and I fall on the side of “eeew...I am not carrying that sh!t off my boat and down the dock”. :poop:

I am much happier sucking the sh!t out with the pumpout.

But also as others have said...buy what you want.


Greg.
 
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gusc

.
Dec 6, 2020
10
catalina 30 kenosha
I would probably pass on a boat with a composting head, unless I REALLY wanted that boat and nothing else was available.

But as others have said, it is a polarizing issue, and I fall on the side of “eeew...I am not carrying that sh!t off my boat and down the dock”. :poop:

I am much happier sucking the sh!t out with the pumpout.

But also as others have said...buy what you want.


Greg.
Thanks, Greg!
being my first keel boat I am new to this. Have never pumped out in my life - I am glad to know you never had issues. I watched a YouTube video of a guy explaining the usage of a pump out station and he said “be careful because it might spray your face with waste!” :D

I am open to regular and composting, depending on the boat conditions. I will certainly consider the reduction of potential market while making an offer.

Thanks for your input!
 

SFS

.
Aug 18, 2015
1,979
West Marine Kayak Tampa Bay
I say this in the spirit of goodwill, and with the intent of helping you. If you are concerned about an exit strategy, then perhaps boating is not for you. As said earlier, this is a toy. Toys break, and sometimes are discarded. The boat is not an investment. You are doing this the right way, starting small and inexpensive (as boats go). If you like it and the survey reveals no major flaws, buy it, use it, learn on it, and then whatever happens at the time it leaves your life is what it is.
 
Feb 26, 2004
21,959
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada
I am open to regular and composting, depending on the boat conditions. I will certainly consider the reduction of potential market while making an offer.
Learn about them and their advantages, post them in a laminated card when you go to sell your boat. www.cruisersforum.com has some excellent threads on these things. Catalina 30 holding tanks are about a thimble full, and are just at the point of being a joke anyway. There may be significant advantages of a CH. Maybe even more where you sail if you're on a lake or a Great Lake.
agreed, but it’s good to have an easier exit strategy
WADR, even if this is your first boat, you haven't even bought it yet. :huh:
 
Jan 11, 2014
7,855
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
I am glad to know you never had issues. I watched a YouTube video of a guy explaining the usage of a pump out station and he said “be careful because it might spray your face with waste!”
This will happen if the holding tank is pressurized because the vent is plugged. Keep the vent clear and don't over fill the holding tank and there won't be an issue with erupting tanks.

Pumping out is no more difficult than filling the fuel tank.
 
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gusc

.
Dec 6, 2020
10
catalina 30 kenosha
Learn about them and their advantages, post them in a laminated card when you go to sell your boat. www.cruisersforum.com has some excellent threads on these things. Catalina 30 holding tanks are about a thimble full, and are just at the point of being a joke anyway. There may be significant advantages of a CH. Maybe even more where you sail if you're on a lake or a Great Lake.

WADR, even if this is your first boat, you haven't even bought it yet. :huh:
Thanks for the input, I appreciate it.
Given the real possibility of buying the same boat with a CH and a conventional, what is so wrong about considering the market preference for them?
 
Jul 1, 2010
871
Seaward 25, Catalina 350 Erie, Pa
Having a composting head will probably limit the potential buyer pool some over a marine head (maybe not the price). That said, an older boat with a marine head that stinks and needs updating and work will limit that buyer pool more than a composting head ever will. That comment is based on my own boat shopping experience. Previously, when shopping for boats, I could never get past the head smell at the door, even knowing I could probably fix it myself. I would walk in, give the boat a quick look see, without ever seriously considering it. First impressions mean everything when shopping for a boat (or a house). I never understood why potential sellers wouldn't take care of the head smell and permeated hoses before putting a boat on the market.
 
Jan 7, 2011
2,927
Oday 322 East Chicago, IN
Thanks for the input, I appreciate it.
Given the real possibility of buying the same boat with a CH and a conventional, what is so wrong about considering the market preference for them?
Nothing wrong with thinking it through,,..a few good points noted...

1) I prefer a traditional head, but that assumes it is a GOOD traditional head...like a Raritan.

2) If the boat is used in a no-discharge area(all of the Great Lakes, Hawaii Islands, etc), a CH may be preferred. In my area on Lake Michigan, pump outs are readily available...not sure about Chicago harbors though. And on Maui, I don’t know where they pump out...2 marinas on the island, but I don’t think I have ever seen a pump out station (or a fuel dock for that matter).

I take my marina amenities for granted, and maybe other locations dont have those....(but I still prefer pumping stuff out rather than having to carry it out !)

Greg
 

gusc

.
Dec 6, 2020
10
catalina 30 kenosha
Nothing wrong with thinking it through,,..a few good points noted...

1) I prefer a traditional head, but that assumes it is a GOOD traditional head...like a Raritan.

2) If the boat is used in a no-discharge area(all of the Great Lakes, Hawaii Islands, etc), a CH may be preferred. In my area on Lake Michigan, pump outs are readily available...not sure about Chicago harbors though. And on Maui, I don’t know where they pump out...2 marinas on the island, but I don’t think I have ever seen a pump out station (or a fuel dock for that matter).

I take my marina amenities for granted, and maybe other locations dont have those....(but I still prefer pumping stuff out rather than having to carry it out !)

Greg
Excellent points, Greg. Thank you so much!
 
Oct 10, 2019
114
Signet 20 107 Ithaca
I had a friend supervise the pumpout of the portajohn while I was attending to more urgent issues (no, really), only took a few minutes heeled over and banging hard in a 20 kt breeze to realize he didn't get it quite right, the smell and the mess was breathtaking. I would have given an eye tooth for a composting head right about then... Lesson learned is that pumpouts can fail too...
 
Oct 22, 2014
16,145
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
Have never pumped out in my life
Perhaps a few minutes with the youtube videos "Dirtiest Jobs" will calm you fears. It is not an overwhelming task. Get Peggie's book offered here in the SBO shop. The New Get Rid of Boat Odors
It will tell you all you need to know about managing sewage on a boat.

As an owner think of yourself as the Mayor of a tiny city and you get all the jobs of the city. Transportation, Public Works, Security, etc. You are it. If your tiny city is to function you have to master the systems or have big bucks to hire others to do the work while you sit back on the mayors throne. :biggrin:
 
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Jan 11, 2014
7,855
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
I had a friend supervise the pumpout of the portajohn while I was attending to more urgent issues (no, really), only took a few minutes heeled over and banging hard in a 20 kt breeze to realize he didn't get it quite right, the smell and the mess was breathtaking. I would have given an eye tooth for a composting head right about then... Lesson learned is that pumpouts can fail too...
From the description, it seems the pump out didn't fail, rather it was an operator error.

There has been a move away from positive screwin can cam locking pump out nozzles to a flexible nozzle that fits all sizes. One big advantage to the new style is fewer adapters are sacrificed to Neptune, the down side is they are a bit more difficult to get a good seal on fitting.