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. lancecordill


    July 16, 2012 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  2. Ben in Virginia

    How much space do they think a urinal takes up? Have they lost their ever-loving minds? Have all the Navy brass been neutered? I am SOOOO glad I got out when I did!!! My Navy has become a politically correct, genderless, girly man loving organization.... Next, they will be painting the bulkheads pink and want to put up chintz curtains on the racks....

    July 16, 2012 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  3. Bob

    Another $5 million is allocated to train the men to put the seat down.

    July 16, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  4. Ray G.

    This started years ago when feminists complained that men felt superior because they could stand when urinating. News flash, men will still stand but make a bigger mess.

    July 16, 2012 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Andy

      Next rule up – all must sit to pee...

      July 16, 2012 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  5. Dion

    I did 3 West Pacs from 90-95 as a jughead in a CH46 filghtline.
    We used to joke about sleeping on our backs.

    Now its for real.

    July 16, 2012 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  6. Seabee John

    Well, one can finally say, that as of now, the navy doesn't have a pot to pee in, literally.

    July 16, 2012 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  7. porterv

    Do as I do, just pee on the seat.

    July 16, 2012 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  8. Jeffrey

    There is going to be alot of pee on those seats

    July 16, 2012 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  9. rangerbob

    I vote to let the women fight the next war, and for the guys to stay home.

    July 16, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  10. Don Tarquin

    The guys should leave the seat up.

    July 16, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  11. Capt.Hook

    Whats next?? orders that the males should wet themselves little when they giggle.

    July 16, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  12. John Rambo

    Soon sailors will be in new navy issued unidresses and gender neutral high heals.


    July 16, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  13. Tompolhaus

    I spent over 3 years on a ship and I don't ever remember a urinal problem other than hey do get a bit smelly but I remember the HT's having to blow out toilets all the time because they got backed up. I think it's more of wanting to take away the last thing we got left to us, the God given right to stand in front of a urinal and be a MAN!

    July 16, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  14. Bill Planey


    July 16, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  15. willis

    "We're saving money in maintenance costs, and we’re improving quality of life,"

    Quality of life?

    July 16, 2012 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
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