The One I Can’t Believe I’m Writing: Boat Bathroom 101

Y’all would not believe how many texts and emails I receive with boat bathroom questions.

I’m serious.

Apparently people want to know ALL THE THINGS about boating. At first it was just my close friends that dared to ask weird questions. But they keep coming…so I am just going to answer them here in one place.

Truthfully, I never thought I’d be writing an entire post about bathroom related topics. But here we are…

Boat Bathroom Frequently Asked Questions

**Also, just a random note. I’m including a bunch of cute pictures that have nothing to do with this post. Don’t waste your time trying to find significance. I just wanted to add some fun to an otherwise weird post!**

Does your Boat Have a Bathroom?

Yes. Our boat has two. The forward one is smaller and sits in the hallway between the kids bedrooms. There is a pretty large one (relatively speaking) in our master bedroom.

The kids use their bathroom to brush their teeth and potty. But we use their shower space as our family laundry spot. Their bathroom is also what we’d consider the guest bathroom when we have friends on board.

Do you shower on your boat?

We do. A lot of boaters don’t…but we do.

Maybe it’s because we moved on board in the middle of a pandemic, but I think it’s strange how many boaters use marina showers. We all use the shower in the master bathroom- which is also a jacuzzi tub.

Additionally, we have an outdoor shower on the swim platform and that’s our favorite option (obviously with bathing suits on.)

Do you have to do anything differently when you shower on a boat?

Sort of. For starters, we don’t use bar soap. It can re-harden and clog the pumps. We use a liquid body wash/soap.

Mary Grace and I are also really careful to not get too much of our hair down the drain. Although we have a strainer in place, our long hair inevitably gets through and breaks the pump. I’ve already had to fix it once.

We have two hot water heaters on our boat and so when we’re in a marina hot water is never an issue (ie. we can take really long, totally normal showers.)

However, when we’re on anchor we try to conserve water as much as possible. In that situation we try to turn off the water as we shampoo/condition and only run the water when we’re washing off. It’s probably not necessary because we don’t usually go a very long time without being in a marina.

What happens to all the water?

Shower water and sink water is considered “grey” water. It goes down into a tank and immediately gets pumped over board. I *think* it’s legal everywhere to pump grey water everywhere.

Do you use the bathroom on your boat?

We do. Again, we’re probably not the typical boaters. A lot of people choose to use the marina bathrooms. But honestly, I don’t really get it.

On boats (and RVs) you do have to use special toilet paper. It’s about twice as expensive so we’ve had to train the kids on not using excessive amounts.

However, the positive side is that we’ve never had a problem finding it. I know last spring TP was in high demand. But we never had any issues getting what we needed for the boat.

What happens when you flush the toilet?

The toilet flush goes into the black water tanks (that’s what they’re called…I have no idea if they’re actually black.) In theory, boaters are allowed to dump the black tanks when you’re 3 miles offshore. But we’ve never actually done that (yet.)

Instead, we get pump outs. It’s exactly how it sounds. Basically a huge vacuum cleans out the black water tanks.

We typically pump out every time we get fuel. Occasionally its free, but most of the time we pay about $10 for a pump out.

Any other fun boat bathroom facts that you want to share? (Okay, no one actually asked that question…but I had a few more things I thought I’d share while I’m on a roll.)

  1. Our Bathrooms Have Great Storage: As I already mentioned, we use the kids shower area as our laundry spot. We also have all of our cleaning supplies, medical supplies and a good bit of boat tools stored in their bathroom. The master bathroom doubles as our linen and liquor closet.
  2. Different Styles: We recently learned that the people who owned our boat before us never used the master bathroom. They stored big tupperware totes in the space and used the smaller bathroom. A lot of our boat friends don’t understand why we don’t take advantage of marina bathrooms. I think everyone has to figure out what works for them!
  3. Works the Same: Honestly, other than being a lot smaller- our boat bathroom functions exactly the same as a home bathroom. Except we can use it when we’re moving (which is really nice…it’s not like being on a road trip and having to stop!)

Hopefully this answers everyone’s burning boat bathroom questions! Though, if you have more…feel free to leave a comment and I’ll try to answer it.

As always, thanks for following along on our crazy adventures. You might also enjoy reading:

The One Where We Got Our Boat Through Canada

The One Where We Rewind Our Boat Story Back To The Beginning

10 Road Trip Entertainment Ideas For Your Next Trip

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