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. scbrown

    What's next? Co-ed showers?

    July 15, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  2. DaveYoung

    Welcome to the New USN, where transgender is the key concept, emasculation is the norm, and men must sit down to p e e . I am ill.

    July 15, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Old Gold

    Gerald Ford rates and aircraft carrier? How about a PT boat?

    July 15, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Rebecca H

    Non news. Men don't have wall-mounted urinals in their homes. The biggest argument there is whether to leave the seat up or down, and that seems to be an area ripe for compromise among cohabiting couples: "I won't put the seat down, and you don't have to put it up".

    July 15, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sydney Gearing

      I hope women sailers like to sit in and walk on male pee splash. The New Totalitarian ticket-punchers must have overlooked a small detail on this one! (not that there is anything wrong with that!)

      July 15, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Diggs

    Those of us in the Army have always known that male sailors pee sitting down. It's just strange to see the Navy acknowledge it.

    July 15, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • vegasdomar

      We in the Navy called Marines were the ones that peed then spread the scent so the army would know it was safe. As an FMF Corpsman I would delegate some Army flunkies to dig slit trenches and they didn't need instruction because they would know automaticly how to do it. Especially good at making outhouses. Only problem we had with the Army guys was showing them how to flush toilets and shower.

      July 15, 2012 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Two Sheds


      July 15, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan Quinn

      Good one (and I'm retired navy)!

      July 15, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. James Randolph

    Diggs, Just remember if you ever go to war that those navy guys are on your side......James R. Randolph EM1(SS) USN

    July 15, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. DaveYoung

    Join the Navy so you can sit down to p e e all you girly men.

    July 15, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. the Rifleman

    Having all toilets is a waste of equipment & space. Wall stalls are quicker and you don't have to worry about a peed on seat or having to raise it. Sounds like more PC nonsense by the Obama crowd...

    July 15, 2012 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bman

      It is part PC, part fiscally driven. One argument to the social experimenting in the Navy is that making female berthing is a cost addition, so this is one fix to that. However, this will affect cleanliness in the heads, more stalls take more space, urinals are faster, easier and cleaner. These decisions are made by people that do NOT go to sea any more if ever. It still doesn't fix the other issues women bring to the Fleet. The Navy is no longer about warfighting it is about social engineering.

      July 15, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jim

    Just go over the side of the boat.

    July 15, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mary Wright

    Just be sloppy standing up on a rolling ship guys. The women will demand urinals be installed.

    July 15, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Steven

    Now they just tell the lads to pee off of the side of the boat.

    July 15, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. juandos

    Get rid of all the crappers and replace them with squat troughs instead...

    July 15, 2012 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mary Wright

    Just stand up and pee all over the seat in rolling seas. The women will demand urinals be installed. More stupidity from "the ONE" and his minions.

    July 15, 2012 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
  14. George

    This political correctness has gone beyond stupid.

    July 15, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Max

    Who cares. The Navy is being shrunk each year. In time it will be about the size of the Coast Guard.

    July 15, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
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