Navy's new gender-neutral carriers won't have urinals
This is a Navy illustration of the Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier, the first of the Ford class of carriers.
July 11th, 2012
01:47 PM ET

Navy's new gender-neutral carriers won't have urinals

[Updated at 6:17 p.m. ET] The U.S. Navy's new class of carriers will be the first to go without urinals, a decision made in part to give the service flexibility in accommodating female sailors, the Navy says.

The change heralded by the Gerald R. Ford class of carriers - starting with the namesake carrier due in late 2015 - is one of a number of new features meant to improve sailors' quality of life and reduce maintenance costs, Capt. Chris Meyer said Wednesday.

Omitting urinals lets the Navy easily switch the designation of any restroom - or head, in naval parlance - from male to female, or vice versa, helping the ship adapt to changing crew compositions over time, Meyer said.

The Navy could designate a urinal-fitted area to women, of course, but the urinals would be a waste of space. Making the areas more gender-neutral is a relatively new consideration for the service, with most of its current carriers commissioned before it began deploying women on combat ships in 1994.

But it wasn't the only reason for the move.

Urinal drain pipes clog more than toilets and therefore can be smellier and costlier to maintain, Meyer said.

"There's a lot more at play in the design objectives than (making the toilet areas) gender-neutral. We're saving money in maintenance costs, and we’re improving quality of life," said Meyer, manager of the Future Aircraft Carriers Program for the Naval Sea Systems Command.

Other quality-of-life updates, according to Meyer:

- Sleeping areas, or berthings, generally will be smaller, designed for fewer people per room. On current carriers, some berthings have more than 100 sailors each. On the Ford carriers, the number will be closer to 30 to 50 each.

- Heads will be attached to berthing compartments. Currently, many sailors have to traverse a passageway between a berthing and a head, meaning sailors who’ve just woken up have to dress up more for a trip to the head than they would if it were adjacent.

The new Ford-class features were first reported by the Navy Times.

Some sailors said that they're happy to lose the urinals because they're hard to clean and maintain, the Navy Times reported this week.

The Ford class is the future replacement for the Nimitz class. The Ford carriers are designed to allow more aircraft sorties, but with about 660 fewer crew members, according to the Navy.

The first three Ford carriers are scheduled to debut between 2015 and 2027, at a total projected cost of $37 billion. That cost includes non-recurring engineering expenses and research and development costs for the first carrier, the Navy says.

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Filed under: Military • U.S. Navy
soundoff (1,012 Responses)
  1. BOMBO ©

    Why are they publicizing this information when the Enemy might find a way to take advantage of it?

    July 11, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • saywhat

      Trust Chinese to get down to doing the same thing with their ships albeit cheaper – lol.

      July 11, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Well, just what is the tranny supposed to do, use the galley sink?

    July 11, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jakey

      I'm so heartened by the anti-gay and anti-trans jokes I see on the Internet nowadays. Stereotypes must be dying off at a pretty rapid rate if the jokes are getting this nonsensical.

      July 11, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hear Ye

      Well now Jeff, what the trannys do will depend on which gear they're currently using ....... as for the bi-curious, I guess anything goes.

      July 11, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • T. Lee

      Absolutely THE DUMBEST IDEA anyone has ever come up with for aboard ship !!!!

      Can't you hear the "female sailors" howling about WET SEATS ????

      Wow – hell – why not save the expense of toilets altogether and just post "Men Off the Starboard Side – Women Off the Port Side" (or vice versa like it'll make any difference).

      CAN or COURTMARSHALL whoever came up with this STUPIDIST IDEA EVER !!!!

      July 18, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. David

    So what's the policy on toilet seats? Leave up? Or down?

    July 11, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • speedcurves

      For the guy that wrote this policy.... leave em down!

      July 11, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Merrillee

    How many guys have urinals in their own houses?

    July 11, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mister Jones

      A naval warship is NOT my house, but I would love to have a urinal at home. Easier to aim at.

      July 11, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • T. Lee

      That's as dumb a question (and comparison) as not putting urinals aboard a navy ship.

      July 18, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  5. scranton

    Political correctness run amok. You can have the military with all women and I will take the one with all men and let's see who wins.

    July 11, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patiat

      The one without YOU in it wins.

      July 11, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Sorry but I don't want to go in to combat against a battalion of pms'ing berserker women.

      July 11, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      I would think that the side with the best sailors and soldiers, no matter the gender, would win. I don't think they fight with battle axes anymore there, Napoleon.

      July 11, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. stateschool

    The Gerald Ford class aircraft carriers will cripple our enemies with indecision.

    July 11, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO ©

      Better than the Jimmy Carter carriers, cruising the seas apologizing and asking all the other ships to be their friends.

      July 11, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Matt

    Good point – when the enemy commandeer's our ships they'll know to not bother looking for urinals to pee in.

    July 11, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Umm

    Why are womens washrooms so disgusting?...I mean really...they are always way worse then mens.

    July 11, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Merrillee

      You use both? Confused?

      July 11, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. J.C.

    In keeping with this new gender neutrality, sanitary napkins will also no longer be kept in stock.

    July 11, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. LT

    OR..... There are no urinals on the new carriers or a lot of ships including LPDs and DDGs because they have figured out that it takes longer to clean urinals than toilets, and this is an efficiency thing. But please assume its because the women are on board.

    July 11, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Merrillee

      That they do! I worked in the custodial indusrty for years, and I can attest to that!

      July 11, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Navy Guy

      I was often told I had the best looking and smelling head on the CVN-72. Our method was hide the tissue paper, hose the entire place down with hot water from a garden hose from the deep sink. then have soap and neutral on the deck, with the deck drains closed scrub with a outdoors typr broom. open deck drains then hose off agian. It works great unless you forget to hide the tissue paper that roses stuff pulpes in like 10 seconds.

      July 12, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. speedcurves

    Someone else for president!

    July 11, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  12. conrad shull

    This leaves two scenarios: toilet seat left up or wet toilet seat.

    July 11, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  13. saywhat

    Bush era carriers to date have been doing a swell job challenging all and sundry making this world a better place to live. The past 11 years have been real good.

    July 11, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • P D

      for defense contractors?

      July 15, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  14. Love Rhino

    Who cares – where is the special room that the admiral uses to bang asian broads?

    July 11, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  15. MalReynolds

    Great. They are calling the new class of Carriers, "FORD". So that means, they will be built in Mexico, and fall apart as soon as the warranty expires. Doomed from the start, I say.

    July 11, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
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