Marine Heads, Composting Toilets & Accessories

Toilets (or Heads) on a boat are generally disgusting.  I can’t tell you how many boats we’ve been on that smell…no…reek with the stench of urine or sewerage.  Doesn’t matter the size, cost, or type (sailboats, mini-mega yachts, center console, charter fishing boats, scuba boats, hydrofoil passenger cats) it seems more than half have a stench in the heads and some have the stench through the entire boat.
To avoid the stench, here are a few solutions we’ve found.

Nature’s Head Composting Toilet – We have an entire series about why we love this toilet:
It worked flawlessly for years in the RV and now almost three years later, it’s working well on a sailboat!  I’ll go ahead and answer the one question we get all the time: Does it smell?
No! When used and maintained properly (which is crazy easy) there’s almost no smell during use or after.  
The one caveat I have at the time of install: I wasn’t sure if we would find coco COIR as we traveled about the world. Good news, we have found it along the way and all is right in the world of composting. (of course we can always order online so it’s never the end of the world).  

Larry (the owner of the company) is offering up a special discount just for you, our loyal viewers. Click this link: Buy From Nature's Head Directly and the discount will be applied at checkout.
If you want any extras the discount is good for the entire website, and you’ll get free shipping if he can fit it in the toilet box. It’s a good idea to buy a spare fan and for some applications a spare liquid tank too.

Quiet Flush Marine Head – This quiet flush macerating toilet is 100 times better than the manual pump head that’s found on most boats.  I am working on a new macerator pump from Raritan that should be an upgrade, but for now this setup is pretty darn good. Especially when paired with the Commoderizer we mentioned above.
If you’re wondering why we didn’t install 3 composting heads, here is the answer: We wanted to keep one head that can be flushed into the sea while we are out sailing in the open ocean (where it is legal to do so). The last thing we wanted to do was get rid of a perfectly good toilet before getting any blue water sailing under our belts.  The idea being we will go through less coco coir and not need to worry about dumping toilets on long crossings. After using it for 6 months we are happy we have the variety of heads that we can use based on the location of where we are sailing.
Buy it here  If we only had one head on board, it would hands down be a composting toilet.
Fresh Water Flush – Some people prefer to go the fresh water flush route, which works, but uses a lot of fresh water.  If you’re not overflowing with more freshwater than you can use I don’t think this is a solid option.  To really flush out the pipes you need to use a couple gallons of water per flush, and with two people on board that adds up to 20+ gallons per day.
The Commoderizer (for marine heads)- I tried toilet bowl drops, we tried two different brands of toilet bowl tablets but nothing seems to combat the rotten egg smell that comes from a salt water toilet as well as the Commoderizer.  Trust me, I fought liking this thing with every inch of persistence I could muster!  It’s not cheap but it does the job.  Not only does it remove the odor from the toilet bowl, it cleans the pipes and tank as well.  If you know anything about replacing sewer hoses and tanks in a boat, you’ll understand the calcium build up issue I’m referring to.  The Commoderizer tablets help keep the smell down from the water intake, meaning less smells inside the cabins, heads, walls, a/c vents and everywhere that sewerage or rotten egg smell can permeate (and trust me, it will permeate through any hose or wall).  A single tablet is supposed to last 2 weeks but it lasts us about 3.  The owner is offering a discount if you use the code WYNNS when you purchase.  It’s good for anything on the site.  
Buy it here



  1. Ron Spring

    How do you manage residue in the toilet bowl without the typical bowl wash found in a water base system?

    • Curious Minion

      Hey Ron. There are several vids/posts on the blogs about the composting toilets. If you click on the composting toilet tab here I’m pretty sure the answer you’re looking for is in the “tips & tricks” post.
      Curious Minion

  2. Patrik Sklenar

    Hey Jason and Nikki, now that you guys have been out cruising for a while with the composting head, can you comment on the availability of coconut coir in the places that you have visited? I know you had problems getting litter for the kitties, how about for the humans?

    • Curious Minion

      That got asked not too long ago and Nikki said that they haven’t had any issues so far. Whew!
      Curious Minion

  3. Kristin Hanes

    We have a normal marine head with zero odor. Lots of care was taken with the type of pipe we used as well as proper ventilation of the holding tank, making sure it gets enough oxygen. I’m sooooo glad it doesn’t stink!

  4. Nick Bigney

    Nature’s Head is the nearest poop chute on the planet. We got one to eliminate flushing directly into the ocean on our forward head and promptly got another for the aft head and threw all plumbing and tanks overboard. Boat doesn’t stink and they work like a million bucks. We use peat moss. Bacon Sails in Annapolis has them for cheap.

  5. Jeff Erdmann

    Vacu-flush fresh water heads offer a great solution to the s—-y smells & problems associated with marine heads plus they only use about 1 pint of fresh water!
    As you correctly pointed out salt water is a BIG problem in terms of the smell and maintenance associated with marine heads.
    The biggest downside is the extra space required for the system but they work well and are relatively low maintenance.
    I do not sell marine heads so this is not self-serving but comes from 30 years of boating experience.

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