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. BubbaZinetti

    Brought to you by the same government that spent millions trying to figure out why chimps throw poop.

    With decisions like this, it's no wonder we are becoming a third world country.

    July 16, 2012 at 2:00 am | Report abuse |
  2. sphariss

    So will it be lid up or lid down?????

    July 16, 2012 at 2:26 am | Report abuse |
  3. getreal

    Gender neutral would mean no separate women's rooms, oh that's right, no urinal would mean no mens rooms. Urinals were invented for accuracy, no matter us men will just p*ss all over the seats like at home.

    July 16, 2012 at 2:51 am | Report abuse |
  4. Lewis

    I fret for the nation when we have to face real armies and navies. I'm betting our enemies aren't concerning themselves with where women enjoy their privacy, how their toilets meet their wants, and the like. Sorry ,sorry, sorry situation.

    July 16, 2012 at 3:27 am | Report abuse |
  5. fantail watch

    I suspect this has more to do with a Navy admiral looking for another star and having his or her head up their PC butt!

    July 16, 2012 at 3:39 am | Report abuse |
  6. Mark of the Wild West...

    I was in the "Mans" Navy in the olden days when a days life aboard ship was tough... What goes on now is the liberals wet dream come true. Heaven help us if there's another WW !!!!

    July 16, 2012 at 3:48 am | Report abuse |
  7. fantail watch

    The only advantage I can think of is when ships go to General Quarters, they generally secure all of their fittings that render head flushing null. To any swabbie that HAS TO GO during a long GQ, they will find any unsecured commode or urinal and fill it to the brim. There is a lot more brim with a commode!

    July 16, 2012 at 4:00 am | Report abuse |
  8. fantail watch

    Check out "Your Naval Urinal" on youtube. That's a real naval tradition.

    July 16, 2012 at 4:06 am | Report abuse |
  9. kent grotz

    I can't resist. To the fantail with you!!! What kind of headline is this? LOL

    July 16, 2012 at 4:43 am | Report abuse |
  10. iodiner

    And this is how the progressives ruin society. This is how the left will sink America.

    July 16, 2012 at 4:51 am | Report abuse |
  11. kent grotz

    All I want to de do is take a leak! It wasn't that hard on the U.S.S. Midway but no ladies.

    July 16, 2012 at 4:55 am | Report abuse |
  12. red2429

    This is nothing new. They are getting rid of Urinals because the iron in urine bonds with the salt in salt water causing the pipes to clog. They took all the urinals off my first ship in 1999 and off my second ship in 2004. It had nothing to do with being gender neutral. Female Heads will still stay Female and Male Heads will stay Male. This is done only to save money which makes nothing but good common since. What tends to happen in the Male Heads, the males use certain toilets to do number one and the other toilets to do number two. Nothing strange or weird. Females have been allowed on all ships as long as bunks are available since they decommissioned the last Kidd class destroyer. Before someone says something out of touch like "they are not allowed on subs", submarines are not ships.

    July 16, 2012 at 5:11 am | Report abuse |
  13. Jake

    Until these radical marxists, and their policies, are thrown out of Govt, we will continue to see this kind of nonsense.

    July 16, 2012 at 5:17 am | Report abuse |
  14. Strange Murphy

    This is just stupid.

    July 16, 2012 at 5:51 am | Report abuse |
  15. James F

    I guess nobody hear read the part where it gave all the benefits of getting rid of urinals. It makes a ton of sense when you consider them being able to change any head to male or female without wasting the space the urinals take up and the easier maintenance.

    July 16, 2012 at 5:58 am | Report abuse |
    • James

      I agree. If this was about putting vegetable gardens in the below deck hangers, would have a problem. This is just something that makes the Ford class carriers more efficient, so I am all for it.

      July 16, 2012 at 6:42 am | Report abuse |
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