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Direct discharge head - illegal?

Sep 2, 2016
25
Catalina 22 Juneau, AK
So I've Googled the heck out of this, and can't find an answer. I'm hoping y'all can set me straight:

We recently bought a 1976 Catalina 22 that came with a marine toilet on the port side, under the V-berth. There is no holding tank - just two thru-hulls. One takes seawater in, and the other pumps waste out directly to sea.

We do not intend to use the head at all, and I'd really rather not get into a discussion of whether the solution to pollution is dilution, etc. Our bigger concern is whether we could be cited or fined by the Coast Guard just for having a direct-discharge marine toilet on board a 40-year-old boat.

Are older vessels grandfathered in? Could we post a sign or lock the seacock somehow to show we aren't using it? We have a lot of projects we'd love to do, and I'd rather not spend the time or money to remove a toilet we aren't using anyway (unless we really have to).

For what it's worth, we're a small town with a large USCG presence. We love 'em, but it also means EVERYONE gets boarded at least once every summer. I'd like to be legal when we are!

Thanks in advance!
 
Jan 22, 2008
8,033
Beneteau 323 Annapolis MD
I take the handle off the discharge. You might take it off both. By the way, peeing right into the water is a no-no for the same reason.
 
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Jun 23, 2013
271
Beneteau 373 Newport
You can take the handle off, but suggest zip tying to hose so you don't lose it. Or you might be able to zip tie in the closed position
 
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Dec 2, 1997
7,963
- - LIttle Rock
33 CFR 159.7 Requirements for vessel operators.
(a) No person may operate any vessel equipped with installed toilet facilities unless it is equipped with:
(1) An operable Type II or III device that has a label on it under § 159.16 or that is certified under § 159.12 or § 159.12a; or
(2) An operable Type I device that has a label on it under § 159.16 or that is certified under § 159.12, if the vessel is 19.7 meters (65 feet) or less in length.


IOW, any vessel equipped with a toilet must have either a holding tank or USCG Certified treatment device....it's illegal to have a toilet that can only be flushed directly overboard.

If you're not using it, remove it...if it's more than 10 years old, it barely works any more, if it all, so you'd have to replace it if you wanted to keep it anyway. It won't cost you even a penny and shouldn't take you more than an hour to disconnect the hoses from the thru-hulls and remove the toilet mounting bolts...they're lag bolts, so no nuts, just back 'em out. Remove the handles from the seacocks and you're done. Set a portapotty down in its place if you want to.

By the way, peeing right into the water is a no-no for the same reason.
Actually, Ron, "direct discharge" from you into the water IS legal. It only becomes illegal if goes into anything--even a bucket--first.
 
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SG

.
Feb 11, 2017
1,670
J/Boat J/160 Annapolis
Peggie,
That last observation says everything about the contradictions of such regulations. :^))).
One Canada Goose, swimming next to our boat does more "damage" than two of us every day (that we're on the boat).
Steve
 
Dec 2, 1997
7,963
- - LIttle Rock
There's no contradiction. 90% of boats are <20'...too small to have toilets. You don't really think all those people in fishing boats, bow riders and ski boats are holding it till they can come ashore when they have to go. Of course not...they jump into the water or pee over the side. It's only legal because prohibiting it is unenforceable.
 
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T_Cat

.
Aug 8, 2014
333
Catalina 22 1987 New Design. 14133 "LadyHawke" Modesto CA
There's no contradiction. 90% of boats are <20'...too small to have toilets. You don't really think all those people in fishing boats, bow riders and ski boats are holding it till they can come ashore when they have to go. Of course not...they jump into the water or pee over the side. It's only legal because prohibiting it is unenforceable.
I was "checking the prop"! LOL
 
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Sep 2, 2016
25
Catalina 22 Juneau, AK
Thanks for the CFR citation! I couldn't find that either. Maybe I was trying to be too nautical and it never occurred to me to use the word "toilet."

Anyway, it appears it isn't legal to even operate the boat with a toilet (locked or not), unless it is equipped with a Marine Sanitation Device:

§159.7 Requirements for vessel operators.

(a) No person may operate any vessel equipped with installed toilet facilities unless it is equipped with:

(1) An operable Type II or III device ...; or

(2) An operable Type I device ... if the vessel is 19.7 meters (65 feet) or less in length.​

A Type 1 device is defined as:

Type I marine sanitation device means a device that, under the test conditions described in §§159.123 and 159.125, produces an effluent having a fecal coliform bacteria count not greater than 1,000 per 100 milliliters and no visible floating solids.​

I'm sure our pipe-to-ocean setup doesn't meet that standard.

It's just frustrating that we have to remove something that came with the boat, rather than just disable it. Bummer.

Thanks for the help! Love this group.
 
Nov 8, 2010
11,385
Beneteau First 36.7 & 260 Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
Actually, Ron, "direct discharge" from you into the water IS legal. It only becomes illegal if goes into anything--even a bucket--first.
Exactly. The old true gray area for me is those 'Jill' devices that let women pee standing up..... is that 'direct' urination?
 
Dec 2, 1997
7,963
- - LIttle Rock
A Type 1 device is defined as:

Type I marine sanitation device means a device that, under the test conditions described in §§159.123 and 159.125, produces an effluent having a fecal coliform bacteria count not greater than 1,000 per 100 milliliters and no visible floating solids.
I'm sure our pipe-to-ocean setup doesn't meet that standard.
Type I and II MSDs are "treatment" devices that liquify waste and disinfect it...they're expensive and need electric power. So no...your setup doesn't qualify :) Talk to your local USGC guys... how strictly legal something has to be can often be very subjective, an Coasties are usually pretty reasonable, so they may or may not ok just removing the discharge seacock handles. But there's always the possibility you can run in to one--usually a "local yokel," not a Coastie--with I call an advanced case of Barney Fife Syndrome...so just removing it is the smart move IMO.

The old true gray area for me is those 'Jill' devices that let women pee standing up..... is that 'direct' urination?
Nope...once it goes into anything, pouring it over the side is just as illegal as dumping a tank.
 
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Jan 2, 2017
696
O'Day & Islander 322 & 37 Scottsdale, AZ & Owls Head, ME
My O'day 322 has two options for head discharge: holding tank, or overboard. If a patrol boat boards and finds the lever in the "overboard" position, am I fineable? -Alastair.
 
Nov 6, 2006
9,050
Hunter 34 Mandeville Louisiana
Technically, I understand that the direct discharge toilet is not acceptable but before removing it, I would go and talk to the local Coast Guard guys and tell them it is disabled .. The craziness of the regs is that it could be legal if the discharge went through a locked "Y" valve (and a locked thru hull valve); one side overboard, other side to a one gallon container..
 
Feb 20, 2011
7,701
Island Packet 35 Tucson, AZ/San Carlos, MX
My O'day 322 has two options for head discharge: holding tank, or overboard. If a patrol boat boards and finds the lever in the "overboard" position, am I fineable? -Alastair.
Yep.