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. Alan

    Urinals save water, flush them and they use 12 oz of water, a toilet about 4 gallons.

    July 11, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • CP in FL

      Alan – New toilets use only about 1 gallon of water.

      July 11, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • duh

      water is not an issue out at sea on navy ships. they use salt water and there is plenty around them. also they use a vacuum cht system now.

      July 11, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      Flushing on navy ships uses unlimited sea water, there's absolutely no concern about wasting fresh water. Many navy ships got rid of urinals years ago anyway, this is not news.

      July 11, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • GNO

      They use sea water, does it really matter?

      July 17, 2012 at 7:54 am | Report abuse |
    • MarcusOHreallyUS

      We used seawater for flushing and firefighting. Waste went right over the side, into the ocean

      July 17, 2012 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
  2. Jeff Cox

    I'm surprised this didn't happen sooner – after all, it's an opportunity for Halliburton to sell more $1,200 toilet seats!

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

      Jeff Cox... You really need to update your mantra and parroting so it doesn't look like you haven't tuned into Comedy Central and TASS-PravdaMSNBC in 3 or 4 years.

      Haliburton is yesterday's news and tells people you're an aging queen.
      It's like showing up in the pink zone wearing a boa and 1975 oversized EJ glasses
      Koch Bros is how you signal code that your an Alinskyite these days.

      Spread the word down at the bath houses: Remember to use Koch Brothers.
      Koch Brothers is the new Haliburton

      July 16, 2012 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  3. CNN

    no more duece pranks in the urinal....sigh

    July 11, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. HIDE BEHIND

    Will the Navy make all squat to pee?
    It would ensure less slippery and less to clean.

    July 11, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • doomsheep

      I take it you never had to use a toilet before now? You may be the ONLY one to ever have a urinal in the home.

      July 11, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. SGT Hughes

    She squat or pee of the carrier. I mean you are surrounded by a large body of water with tens of thousands of sea creatures using the sea as one large toilet. Geees Peeps

    July 11, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • SGT Hughes

      Just* squat or pee off the carrier

      July 11, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Merrillee

      Again, the question: how many guys have urinals in their own homes? Do they squat to pee in regular old toilets? Or do y'all use the convienent bathtub?

      July 11, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Admiral Seaman

    The Navy deployed women on ships much earlier than 1994. Where did that come from? Not enough to write about?

    July 11, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • MarcusOHreallyUS

      In the seventies the only ships to have women onboard (as ships comany), were hospital ships,and yard vessels.

      July 17, 2012 at 8:25 am | Report abuse |
  7. Thomas

    Now you can sit down while screwing! Major convenience.

    July 11, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Kevin

    @ Bombo. Are you referring to President Carter, who served as an active duty engineering officer on board a US nuclear submarine? And you are comparing his service record to whose? Obama? Romney? Dubya? Clinton? Reagan? Last I checked, of the most recent presidents, only the senior President Bush has a service record that beats President Carter. Give the man his due.

    July 11, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheRealityTsar

      W was fighter pilot in the A/F reserve, which presents numerous opporttunites to get you killed even if you don't dploy.

      October 25, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Citizen

    ...the wussification of the US accelerates.

    July 11, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dusty

      I know, right? If only the Navy could invent a way to stand up and pee in a toilet like you can with a urinal. That way we can keep our men manly!

      July 11, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • sh9350a

      Because of the removal of urinals? What? I don't understand your statement, it makes zero sense.

      July 11, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Navy Guy

      I used to put my foot on the tissue paper and the say YARRRRR before peeing, that's pretty boss!

      July 12, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  10. HIDE BEHIND

    Never mind the cost to build and maintain, just be glad they saved a few coins by deleting urinals.

    July 11, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jerk Face

    Great, now the enemy is definitely going to catch us with our pants down.

    July 11, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Max Pinzer Wright

    This is Navy propaganda at its best. I have not seen a urinal on any CVN carrier, so it is not news. They generated this to say to the public how gender fair the Navy is now. Bang for the buck, the carrier is a waste, 5,000 Sailors to launch aircraft. In this fiscal times sitting at $15 Trillion, with the gas they waste, the cost per day to operate, feed and pay, the juice just ain't worth the squeeze America.

    July 11, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rascal Rabble

      gender neutral bathroom is prepping the place for transgender tolerance in close spaces...another indicator that military will not only be gay and but transgendered as well...s3x change officiers...

      July 11, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • still serving

      WHAT!!! No urinals on CVN's...Did you serve? Cause CVN 72 Abe Lincoln and CVN 73 George Washington.........had them and how do I know? I served on both of them.....I

      July 11, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      If you did serve on a carrier you must have screwed up and walked into an Officer's Head where squating to pee is not uncommon. I served 22 years 4 months and the 4 carriers I floated on all had urnals.

      July 11, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Navy Guy

      Yep, CVN-72 had them, i usally left them is trashbags and said they were broke so i didnt have to clean them and let them stink.

      July 12, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      Aircraft carriers are nuclear powered.

      July 14, 2012 at 6:31 am | Report abuse |
    • JD

      Not to mention that carriers don't use gas (or diesel), so no they really don't waste that much gas compared to other ships. For your information, every carrier in the US fleet is powered by a nuclear reactor that heats water for steam, which drives a steam turbine.

      July 16, 2012 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
    • TheRealityTsar

      Carriers are the cornerstone of force projection, they are important parts of the factors that make America the worlds superpower and able to keep the bad guys in check and generally do good. Clearly you have no understanding of diplomacy. or global strategy.

      October 25, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Peter

    What is next? Twin beds for gay couples?

    July 11, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  14. BHB

    My motto" Piddlin on the Pot and Doing it Quite a Lot"

    July 11, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ZorakLives

    The U.S. military's defense posture is like a man buying assault rifles, grenades, and tanks to protect himself against neighbors armed mostly with bats and a few who have hand guns. This is overkill.

    July 11, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • some guy

      U said it dude. Over equip., over prepare under utilize. Troop : Lt. I see two bad guys with shot guns coming this way , should i fire back ? Lt. : No. Let me call in a B2 Bomber from The Air force and Ask the Army to send an Apache Squadron , tell the navy to mobilize the Battle Group and stand by for tomahawk coordinates. and then get all the 120 Marines on this base to get ready . We are going to show those two bad guys who are the meanest, toughest, killing machine guys in the world are.

      July 11, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Crocker

      Overkill is a good thing. It tends to keep the bad guys at bay.

      July 12, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • MarcusOHreallyUS

      Our overkill = them being very fearful.

      July 17, 2012 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
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