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. R. Kelly

    Female sailors but no urinals?

    July 15, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Vegascelt

    If women want to be on combat vessels they should learn to use the urinal.

    July 15, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ellen O'Day

    What next? Maybe not allowing men to kill the enemy because it might offend some of the ladies in service. I can just hear them say, "we can't kill them they might have children to look after".

    July 15, 2012 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |

      whatta dumb thing to say.

      July 15, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. williampenn

    The PC crowd will eventually kill the USA, and that is their goal.

    July 15, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. downeyg

    Will the men face court-martial if the forget to put the seat down or pee on the rim?

    July 15, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. CurlyBill

    Will the male swabbies be put on report for leaving the seat up?

    July 15, 2012 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jack

    I don't recall seeing a urinal on the Carl Vinson.

    July 15, 2012 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Pete

    American Men are now all squatting to pee as Women and Liberals ruin America!

    July 15, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. SamIam

    Any plumber want to explain why urinals that use liquids clog more than toilets that use liquids and solids? Also, I assume the Navy figured out how much more water is going to be used for flushing vs urinals?

    July 15, 2012 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • JM in San Diego CA

      The flushing water is a non-issue, since the toilets and urinals are both flushed with salt water from the firemain. I don't know what the fire main pressure will be on the CV-86-class, but on many ships it's maintained at 150 PSI by pumps that run continuously. Water regulating valves drop the firemain to a more-manageable pressure for common valves. Toilet waste is collected by a vacuum system.

      July 15, 2012 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Kathleen3

    Someone tell me, again: how many days until these freaks in this administration are sent into exile in January 2013?

    July 15, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mannix

    No can use the sink.

    July 15, 2012 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Bob

    Urinals smell because men use them. Making men use toilets means toilets will smell more than before. Switching because urinals smell more makes no sense.

    July 15, 2012 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
  13. JPS

    Next, BO's PC crowd will dictate that guys sit to pee....all in a liberal's days work!!!!

    July 16, 2012 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
  14. iberite

    But they will have condom and tampex machines side by side.

    NOvember NObama

    July 16, 2012 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
  15. iberite

    Sorry warriors, you haven't seen the enemy until you've seen where she takes a dump. Women's bathroom are some of the nasties places on earth. That's why it take two to go to the bathroom. One has to keep the other from fainting.

    NOvember NObama

    July 16, 2012 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
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