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. Josh

    How is an accommodation made just for women, considered to be "gender-neutral" ???

    July 12, 2012 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
  2. Stpn2me

    S Adams,

    Your wife called, she needs to put your balls back in the jar..

    July 12, 2012 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
  3. Rags

    So, no urinals? I have yet to see a urinal in anybody's home. If a military ship is a home away from home it certainly makes sense to do away with that them, gender neutral or not.
    'P' in the pot, just like at home.

    July 12, 2012 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
  4. Nadbash

    Women should assume an equal role to men in the military, including active combat roles and selective service. They deserve both equal rights and equal responsibility. Much like men should take up their share of domestic tasks, women should take up their share in defense of our country.

    July 12, 2012 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Retired guy

      Well – the Navy has finally gone and done it....removed its own testicles – – willingly! Guess its appropriate for this to happen with that particular class of carrier...given the namesake.... Sure glad I'm not there to witness this final castration.

      July 12, 2012 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Crocker

      I have no problem with equality, as long as women can do the same job as men without reducing the standards and/or requirements to perform the job. That has not always been the case.

      July 12, 2012 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Will

      you have never served on a navy vessell. How do u think the urinals and heads were cleaned prior to women getting on board air craft carriers

      July 12, 2012 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Crocker

      Long as they can hold up their end of the paddle. That's hasn't been the case in many instances.

      July 12, 2012 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
    • uysfl

      and if you come face to face with a woman on the battle field and have to stab her to death in hand to hand combat, will you feel the same? when dead girls are plastered all over the news will it settle in your stomach?

      July 12, 2012 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
  5. Dan

    If you’ve never served on a navy ship you probably shouldn’t comment on certain aspects of this decision. I spent about half my navy career on ships. This decision doesn’t affect me now, but I was still want the urinals because many guys just don’t aim well. Consequently before I sit to take a grumpy I’d have to sanitize some other swinging Richard’s pi$$ off the seat.

    July 12, 2012 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Crocker

      That not only applies to Navy ships but to restrooms in general. Although the wife tells me that some women's restrooms are filthier by bar than any men's restrooms could be. Seems some women like to squat over the toilet (to avoid touching the lid) and let go and don't bother to clean up after themselves.

      July 12, 2012 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  6. LibertariansArePeopleToo

    Is anyone else more concerned with the final cost of these 3 ships?!?! $37 BIllion.....I just do not see the justification for 3 new warships when America is currently in the economic position that she is in. I'm neither a war-monger or a tree-hugging hippy I just cannot see the justification on the amount of money that will be spent on these ships when there are much more pressing issues that we could be using that money towards.

    July 12, 2012 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
    • ColB

      The 50,000 people that are employed to design and build these ships for Americas defense, are contributing to the American economy. If they were unemployed, then ODUMA would just give them free money for doing nothing. We have to have a strong defense. This is part of the cost of FREEDOM.

      July 12, 2012 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Duane

      If we do not keep up from a military standpoint we could see ourselves easily conquered down the road....we have to remain on top

      July 12, 2012 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
  7. Dwayne

    I hope they guys pee all over the seat all the time, leave the lids up, etc. I want to know where the guys are and why they can't have the b&@#s to knock this stupidity off. Guess we don't have men anymore who can say "stop it". Pretty soon we're going to have bathrooms on the ships with nice smelly flowers and flower wall paper and lounges.

    July 12, 2012 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  8. John

    The armed forces of the rest of the world are having a laugh on this one. What are we going to do if our forces have to take on an "all male" army (or navy) ?

    July 12, 2012 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
    • ColB

      The other armed forces are laughing only because the US is light years behind in equality in our military.

      July 12, 2012 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  9. frank

    Have you ever tried to pee into a normal toilet when the boat is rocking? All this means is that woman have to deal with more pee on the seats 🙂

    July 12, 2012 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
    • jbg757

      If they're drunken pigs.

      July 12, 2012 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  10. jbg757

    Moderators can handle the truths.

    July 12, 2012 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
  11. Eric

    where's the hoopla?? where's the tea party hollering and screaming??? where's the politicians turning against their party??? $37M for a carrier and we aren't fighting a war?? oh I get it...don't provide universla healthcare but beef up our military for a "potential" war

    July 12, 2012 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave NY USA

      Eric, you incredibly stupid dumbphuqe:If you could get an aircraft carrier for 37 million dollars ...
      Well, never mind. You seem far too stupid to try top explain it to.

      July 12, 2012 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Kube

      Well...with that mentality- think of the billions that could be saved if the govt stopped putting out fire insane...all those fire extinguishers where there aren't any fires....


      July 12, 2012 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  12. sweetkimberly

    That's the funniest thing I've read all morning. Thanks for the chuckle!

    July 12, 2012 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  13. MNfree

    I'm sure the woman will be exstatic to sit on those toilets as every guy in there won't sit down to pee. Luckily, they have the best aim in the world, so there's nothing to worry about ladies.

    July 12, 2012 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
  14. JoeRep

    Why not just designate these ships women only – the emasculation of the Navy is now complete.

    July 12, 2012 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
  15. Mike

    This is news?

    July 12, 2012 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
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