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. vjpgh

    I doubt having a urinal in in a gender neutral restroom would create a problem. Althogh both men and women are messy when using a toilet.................. both pee on the floor and sometimes hit the walls.....

    July 11, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Crocker

      Women are just as bad. They will squat down and spray all over the seat, the wall, the plumbing, you name it. Disgusting.

      July 12, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. cobra129

    Well heck, then just p!sss on the toilet seats.......anyone wanting to sit, let them clean the seat.......since they are now gender neutral, why lift or lower the seat

    July 11, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Chelsea

    I can't believe this is an issue some people are actively against. It just makes sense. It saves space, makes it easier for them to shuffle around the bathrooms if they need to, and is easier to maintain. Why do some people take issue with this? This is just further proof our country is extremely and horribly divided.

    July 11, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Navy Blues

      Men peeing into a toilet bowl is far messier due to splashing than a urinal. That is why urinals exist. Duh. Any sailor will tell you this will require MORE maintenance to keep the men's bathrooms clean, not less. This is PC rubbish taken to new absurd heights. This and the $26 per gallon bio-diesel ships could only happen under a leftist President like Obama.

      July 11, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • damo12345

      People complain because they hate change. The way they did things, and would do things if given the choice, is the right way. Science and logic are not required.

      "This is the way it was in the past, so it should be this way forever!"

      July 11, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Cindy

    Discrimination against men!

    July 11, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. AgrippaMT

    It's ok. All the guys will simply go topside and pee over the side. The gals working below will have to watch out.

    July 11, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dion

      Or pee in the shower

      July 16, 2012 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  6. Nate

    Once again the Federal Gov/US Military bending over backwards for women. Equal Opportunity only works if you're a woman. Fast track to promotion, easier duty, more excused leave for medical reasons and most of all the unearned attention needed to hear their point of view.

    July 11, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mary

    EWWW !

    July 11, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • slickzip

      Warships are no place for women

      July 16, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Falcon

    Its a Sad Sad World. Luckily, its a very short life, an average of 77 summers. I best spend this time on something more positive

    July 11, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Navy Blues

    What next? Will male sailors will be required to pee sitting down, so as not to appear different from the women?

    July 11, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • les

      Well, it is cleaner that way....

      July 11, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. sailor

    first carrier with no urinals?? i was on the USS Abraham Lincoln and we didn't have urinals..they were taken out in a yard period but still....come on cnn, you suck at reporting news

    July 11, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Darkrunner

    I'll be sure to pass all over the toilet seat then.

    July 11, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  12. rdeleys

    The US spends almost as much on defense as the entire rest of the world combined. Why on earth do we need 3 new aircraft carriers when we have so many other things that are being cut because of a lack of funding? Who cares about the toilet vs. urinal question? This is obscene.

    July 11, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Biff

      Obscene is spending billions on rockets to take photos of uninhabitable planets. Here at least you can use what you just paid for.

      July 11, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dizrat

    Sounds Like Eur'peean nonsense.

    July 11, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Tom

    So it this considered progress for our armed forces? Because if we have to count this as a technology advancement we might what to put more into our military research budget! And if we think this is advancement for women in our armed forces trust me we didn’t do them any favors on this. The toilet in the men’s room is nothing any woman would want to use! Women need their own bathrooms, they have different needs and a totally different view on what clean is. I hope they didn’t cut the check on this boat yet!

    July 11, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Smart move, Sweat

    It's the_turds that HT's dread, chasing them all day & night.

    July 11, 2012 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
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