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. Grapost

    Did you hear about the carrier USS Reagan. It's said his ghost appears at times and takes over control of the ship, changing it's direction to sail straight to Iran so the ships weapons can be sold to the Iranians.

    July 16, 2012 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  2. carlb

    this is hillarious. gender neutral. guys and girls can go in at the same time and come out at the same time. but watch out for the holes punched between stalls. i will let you figure that one out. on subs we never had urinals all toilets. thats only because we use a system like a rv has a waste tank and when out at sea we close the balls and preasurize the the waste tanks and flush them out like a ballast tank full of water. garbage is disposed the same way. we put them in bags with lead weight and out you go. very efficent we learned from the germans. lol

    July 16, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  3. Obama's gettin' short

    Why don't they just issue 'em a rubber thang so the broads can use a bucket like a real sailor. That's what they do in the dang ol' Marine Corps, don'cha know.

    July 16, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  4. Pat

    Is the next step allowing both men and women in the same john at the same time? Or is it there already?

    July 16, 2012 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
  5. Mike

    I'm surprised they haven't changed the name of the carrier to the Hillary R. Clinton..

    July 16, 2012 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jack P

    The change in the urinal situation will also accommodate the new wave of "girlie men" entering the Navy, although the decision to sit or stand will still have to be made.

    July 16, 2012 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  7. Kelvin

    Will they be required to leave the seat down too?

    July 16, 2012 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  8. JOE t

    Our military leaders have become a bunch of PhD carrying, Politically Correct elites, Just like the masters they serve. What a sorry freakin state of affairs. Join the military today? Not in a thousand years.

    July 16, 2012 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  9. Rocketchip

    I hope they include a nursery on this new class of carrier.

    July 16, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  10. kendrick1

    What about bidets?

    July 16, 2012 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  11. RodMillerUSA

    Proof of the pussification of the Military ... now sailors will have to pee sitting down or wait for a #2.

    July 16, 2012 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  12. lcky9

    glad I won't have to clean the bathrooms .. guys have a REALLY hard time hitting a urinal let alone a regular toilet..LOL..

    July 16, 2012 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  13. Abilene

    So, will the males get the Article 15 for leaving the seat up, or for not raising it in the first place?

    July 16, 2012 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  14. Ed

    The SecDef does not need a urinal because he has no...

    July 16, 2012 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
  15. lancecordill

    This has gotten so out of hand. I'm ashamed to say that I ever served in order to make way for the military it has become today – sheeples, sheeping around in wolf's clothing made in China. And, no, this isn't original thinking, I'm sure.

    July 16, 2012 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
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