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. Mike Myers

    First it was Females, then it was Gays, and now they are taking away the urinals. I'm glad I got out before this sissy Navy started. Next it will be females in the Seals

    God help us Please!

    July 11, 2012 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Obama Mama

    Noone can even agree about a pot to pee

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

    All this means is that the rest rooms will all be the same, but men and women will have separate facilities.
    The signs on the doors can be changed out according to the needs of the crew currently on the mission.
    Still separate rest rooms, though...yeesh!

    July 12, 2012 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
  4. banasy©

    Separate rooms.
    Different signs.
    Change signs as needed to accomodate whoever whenever.

    July 12, 2012 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
  5. Greg

    Soooo, are they also establishing a seat up/seat down policy? I work in a hospital where the majority of bathrooms are gender neutral. As a man, I make it a point to leave the seat UP! When the women complain, I simply tell them, when they start leaving the seat up for me, i'll start leaving the seat down for them! Equal rights/treatment for everybody? You betcha!

    July 12, 2012 at 5:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Owl96

      In my house, the toilet lid is closed unless being used. Seat down, lid down make a much neater looking room.

      July 12, 2012 at 6:44 am | Report abuse |
    • bobs your uncle

      Bet youre single...

      July 12, 2012 at 7:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Huh

      That doesn't make any sense. Both men and women have to sit down when pooping. Women have to sit down all the time and men have to sit down half the time. Leaving the seat up makes things less efficient in 3 of the 4 cases.

      Just saying.

      July 12, 2012 at 8:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son.

      I’m sorry you’ve only found shallow selfish women in your life.

      July 12, 2012 at 8:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son.

      Except both events do not happen at the same rate. The first one happens several more times a day. It’s also been pushed by females as a matter of courtesy and respect. So it makes perfect sense actually. My fiancé is female and agrees.

      Just saying

      July 12, 2012 at 8:10 am | Report abuse |
    • moe smith

      seat up. always. iif women fall in, that's their own fault for not having the sense of presence of their surroundings and DESERVE whatever befalls them for their ignorance. period

      July 12, 2012 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      This solves the transgendered community's problem.

      July 12, 2012 at 8:13 am | Report abuse |
  6. roughneck27

    I still cant believe we are going to nane her FORD. After 50,000 miles the anchor will fall of and the check engine light will be on forever!

    July 12, 2012 at 6:41 am | Report abuse |
    • HenryF

      They built several CHEVY prototypes, but the civilian sailboats kept crashing into the back of them because they were so slow.

      July 12, 2012 at 7:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son.

      You’re both right. If you want reliability and performance you need to go import. Just not Chinese, all of sailors would be dead within a month from some kind of poisoning or another.

      July 12, 2012 at 8:13 am | Report abuse |
  7. Libs are Fun

    How many men does it take to put a toilet seat down?

    No one knows. It has never been attempted.

    July 12, 2012 at 6:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe from CT, not Lieberman

      And the corollary – How many women does it take to lift a toilet seat? The answer – Lift the toilet seat? Why would anyone want to do that?

      July 12, 2012 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son.

      How hard is it for a female to look before sitting on something naked? Viewing the statistics on unwanted pregnancy and the continued climb in STD rates….. it would seem very hard indeed.

      July 12, 2012 at 8:17 am | Report abuse |
  8. Gant

    Enjoy the 100% accurate aim the Navy strives for (and achieves, I'm sure).

    July 12, 2012 at 7:02 am | Report abuse |
    • bobs your uncle

      Exactly. If anyones ever been a public bathroom, you know that if you have to do a #2, youre hovering because men cant hit the broadside of a barn..

      July 12, 2012 at 7:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son.

      From what my fiancé and co-workers tell me… nether can women. The hover also genius. Not to mention all the left over fem products on the floor and stuffed down the toilet.

      July 12, 2012 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
  9. BK Martin

    Probably be a UCMJ violation for leaving the seat up...

    July 12, 2012 at 7:21 am | Report abuse |
  10. Natch

    Urinals get clogged up easier than toilets? Says who?? I spent 4-1/2 years on an aircraft carrier, and NEVER saw a urinal clogged up!

    Sounds like someone came up with a lame excuse to do this.

    July 12, 2012 at 7:22 am | Report abuse |
    • McRCN

      That was my first thought too, especially into today's Navy. When I was in the Navy years ago the guys would put cigarette butts in the urinal, but they don't have that problem today. So what is clogging them up now?

      July 12, 2012 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
    • kent grotz

      21/2 years on old ladies. Sometimes no water but never clogged lines.

      July 16, 2012 at 5:15 am | Report abuse |
  11. Ashwin

    Why do they have urinals in the first place. You can lean against the railing and pee in to the sea (just avoid dribbling on the deck)

    July 12, 2012 at 7:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son.

      Do you pee into the wind often?

      July 12, 2012 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
  12. JW

    In the words of Don King "Only in America, Only in America". We're becoming the biggest joke on earth.

    July 12, 2012 at 7:36 am | Report abuse |
  13. gracko

    I'm more curious why they would name a class of aircraft carrier after Gerald Ford... the president no one voted for.

    July 12, 2012 at 7:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      Nobody? Nobody voted for Ford? Really?

      July 12, 2012 at 7:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      @Jay you are really out of touch with your history. No one voted for Ford for even being on the Nixon/Ford ticket for the 1972 campaign. Spiro Agnew was Nixon's running mate in 1972 and then resigned in '73. Ford was brought on to replace him, then Nixon himself resigned in '74 and so Ford completed his term. He was a congressmen, but he wasn't voted into the Presidency.

      July 12, 2012 at 8:02 am | Report abuse |
  14. Tr1Xen

    "Urinals clog more than toilets and therefore can be smellier and costlier to maintain, Meyer said."

    Give me an hour in your restroom after I've had a double pepperoni and onion pizza and I'll change your opinion about that one!

    July 12, 2012 at 7:50 am | Report abuse |
  15. Frangible

    This is an outrage! When designing receptacles for seamen we should only think about men.

    July 12, 2012 at 7:50 am | Report abuse |
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