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. Nope

    Men.. sitting down to urinate cuts your chances of getting prostate cancer more than in half, and that's one of the leading killers.

    July 11, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Klaark

    Makes perfect sense. Why have a type of toilet only one gender can use? To preserve a sense of masculinity among a few extremely insecure individuals? Not worth it.

    July 11, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • angeson

      With a little practice girls would love them and they are very water efficient on boats that have limited access to fresh water. Lets be honest, there isnt much difference between sailors and girls any way.

      July 11, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ExPAVIC

    WHAT? Give me a break

    Why not teach the gals to pee standing up. It really isn't that hard, all you have to do is squeeze it a little.

    July 11, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Kayla

    So now all the guys will pee in the corners during darken ship. As usual the Navy never thinks things like this through, so it's going to suck in the morning for the people doing sweepers to swab up some dude's pee. Way to go!

    July 11, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      Obviously dude, you've never served.

      July 11, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Capt_Morse

    Remember "The Full Monty"? Now why can't all them gals just use it like that girl did, standing up?

    July 11, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Portland tony

    These men and women earn their money by maintaining a ship of war and being in harm's way. I don't think they worry much about the lack of urinals. Just like our ground forces, they make do. What an inane story!

    July 11, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. 1olddude

    Seems like a waste of a lot of money, since aircraft carriers, as they're designed today will be obsolete in 10-15 years anyway. There won't be any human manned aircraft either; everything will be drones of one sort or another, guided by someone( or something) in Nevada.

    July 11, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  8. huxley

    Commence jokes about Navy men sitting down to pee.

    July 11, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. the_dude

    I can only imagine the horrific smell eminating from the bathroom floors soaked with pee. All to make a bunch of lesbians happy??? In case anyone didn't notice men and women are different physically.....maybe the navy needs someone to explain it to them???

    July 11, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      Only place cleaner on a Navy ship is the Captain's quarters and the kitchens.

      July 11, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • the_dud_is_dumb

      Awwww, whatsa matter? Intimidated by women who are better able to serve this country that a bigoted phobe? Tsk, tsk. Waaaaah.

      July 11, 2012 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      So I assume you have a urinal in your house then, correct? Because if I understand your obnoxious statement correctly, you seem to be unable to urinate into a toilet, which are apparently only for lesbians.... You are a fool. Grow up.

      July 12, 2012 at 7:04 am | Report abuse |
  10. Leo

    What about morning wood, that's got to hurt. Will they have a medcial team just for that?

    July 11, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Ray

    I hate it when chicks leave the seat down. Hate it, hate it, hate it.

    July 11, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Myto Senseworth

    There goes what is left of of the instead of the focus on defence...make the girls happy, but scr*w the men and forget what the navy exists for.

    July 11, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      The Navy exists to project force. Not worry about Urinary tracts! There is no job on a carrier that a woman can't do with the proper training. Get over it.

      July 11, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jack

    While I see how the move makes sense I raise one point of contention. In my 21 year of life, I have NEVER seen a urinal clogged even after spending 3 years as a part time janator. The same can not be seen about a toilet. Maybe they have maintenance issues that I am unaware of, but I doubt it.

    July 11, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Tony M.

    This is sick!!! Our military has been feminized. Between the gays and the gals, we will never win a war again.

    July 11, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  15. banasy©

    Oh, for heaven's sake!
    Moderate my comment already!
    It's been over an hour and a half!
    I said absolutely NOTHING wrong, and it totally pertinent to the article, clarifying it, even!
    Jeez, Louise!

    July 11, 2012 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
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