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. Wily

    Hell, officers adn liberal males have been sitting to pee for years! Nothing to see here folks!

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

    I LOATHE these times in which we live. Puke!

    July 16, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  3. Megamimi

    So that means that female sailors will have to deal with sitting on peed on toilet seats. YUCK!

    July 16, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  4. David

    I hope these other carriers will be named after old fighting ships and not the Klinton or Obama. Bad enough they named a sub after Carter.

    July 16, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  5. Charles of the North

    Nothing new here folks. Sailors have always been sitting down or squatting to take a pee.

    July 16, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • chukchi

      Why don't they just offer "gender" reassignment surgery to all those lebesians before the cruise departs?

      July 16, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • sailordude

      There are Marines on those ships also, BTW. I'm betting you are one of them trying to make a joke about sailors and are too stupid to think of that.

      July 16, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Surfcreep

    This is one area that I would say...good. The urinals always stink, they only seem to work for about 2 weeks before waiting a month for it to get repaired, and some drunk always takes a crap in it mistaking it for a toilet (on 2 deployments). Make them all crappers.

    July 16, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  7. Robb

    Gonna be many wet lids for the women to sit on.

    July 16, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  8. Ed52

    Next will be a regulation to require men to sit while urinating to make sure no wet seats. This will not only waste time for normal functions but also for enforcement and discipline. The clogged drain argument sounds too bureaucratic to be valid.

    July 16, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  9. doni609

    And the hits just keep on comin'. "Urinal pipes are smaller and clog easier".......I mean think about that. This is the biggest crock of crap that I have ever read. What the USN is really doing here is getting ready for transgender group who are still trying to stand or sit to pee. Without some serious change of direction in our once proud navy there won't be enough real sailors to man these vessles in another 10 years. Thanks Obozo for dismantling our fleet.

    July 16, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • lockestep

      I lived on an Aircraft Carrier for two years and you are right, that is a crock of crap. I never saw a urinal clog EVER, but the hull techs were always having to clear toilets. Although this does not bother me much, it is stupid but not earth shattering.

      July 16, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  10. Punintendid

    They should not take this sitting down..........

    July 16, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Portia

      Good one...keep 'em coming

      July 16, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  11. buckgumbo

    Please give me a break. Next thing they will be making the men sit to take a pee and wear pink panties so as not to hurt the little girls feelings. All part of the wussafacation of the American male or whats left of him.

    July 16, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • TruthInSpending

      Truth be told, standing and peeing into a bowl, even with the seat lifted is disgusting.

      No it's not you protest. Sorry to inform you, but it is. Not all urine remains in the bowl. Some splashes out.

      Ever notice how baseboards beside a toilet tend to be rusty? How do you think that happens only in the vicinity of the toilet? It's the salts and chemicals contained in urine that causes it.

      The truth is that is not only sprinkles a baseboard when someone stands to pee, it also gets on the floor around the crapper. There is nothing at all manly about standing to pee other than women cannot do it with the same degree of accuracy.

      Sitting to pee eliminates the splashing on the floor. If you stand to pee in your home, on a humid day get down and smell the floor around the toilet. It will stink. That is from your urine splattering out, over the rim of the toilet. If you don't mind the floor around your toilet smelling like a wet diaper, continue standing.

      So ends today's lesson in hygiene.

      July 16, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dale

    Men – Pee downwind..

    July 16, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Illini_Steve

    This is a joke, right?

    July 16, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  14. rtnorm

    As someone who served in the Navy on aircraft carriers, and later spent over 40 years in the construction business, this info about urinals is total bunk. There will always be more men than women(hopefully) on ships and urinals take less space (space is critical on ships) and use less water. As far as that goes women can use a urinal..they don't like to sit on toilets anyway. Our new military is going to be a joke.

    July 16, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  15. leveretth

    "...the urinals would be a waste of space." if a head were changed from a men's head to a women's head. Wouldn't toilet stalls be a waste of space if a head were changed from a women's head to a men's head? (Urinals take up a lot less space than toilet stalls. Space is limited aboard Navy ships.) I think the wasted space argument doesn't hold water. The smell and maintenance issues do make some sense, however. Also, there is no such thing as a "gender neutral" restroom or head: if it has one or more urinals, it's a men's head, if it has none, it's a women's head.

    July 16, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
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