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. Highland

    Get ready for pee on the toilet seat and for the seat to be left up. What's next.

    July 11, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • don

      it is up to the girls to put the seat back up after they soil same. there will be no smelling of toilet seats.

      July 11, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Nomad

    I'd just hang it over the stern but gee whiz I don't want it to get caught up in the wake behind the ship.

    July 11, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • average dude

      not to mention the props

      July 11, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ha!

      The water is deep. And cold.

      July 11, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. claydo66

    This is ridiculous.I would pee on the toilet seats just to spite them.

    July 11, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      So you would pee on the toilet seat to spite them...them being everyone else who might use the toilet. What a mature individual with excellent common sene. I assume you also go way over the speed limit and run stop lights just to spite others too.

      July 11, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Slewatha

    That makes no sense.

    July 11, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Gomer's Pyle

    Ships in general are very space limited. I'm wondering why space is made available for women? We live in such a sensitive society and someday it will cost us US citizens dearly.

    July 11, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • RetiredUSN

      Sigh...men are so emotional...

      July 11, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moby's Dick

      Get real. Did you live in the urinal or something? No? Shhhhhh.

      July 11, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. paul

    you don't liker urinals? wait until the krappers back up!

    July 11, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moby's Dick

      Why? Would you crap in the urinals then?

      July 11, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Former Squid

    "The Navy has deployed women on ships since 1994."

    Um, I was a female assigned to a ship in 1993. And there were females assigned to ships before that. Great research done on this one...

    July 11, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • solex

      I am thinking he was refering to combatant ships.

      July 11, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Rascal Rabble

    gender neutral are there to anhilate male designated areas as well as female designated areas so to tolerate transgender person's presence...so an male individual can go into female dressing rooms, female sleeping quarters, female bathrooms, etc...

    July 11, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yawn

      Yawn. You make no sense.

      July 11, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Merrillee

      You got all that from a urinal-free ship? Wow.

      July 11, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  9. solex

    Um, The Navy deployed women on ships WELL before 1994. They were only allowed to serve on combatant ships after 1994. People don't realize that there are many different types of ships – not just warships. The Navy has supply ships (tenders) – conmmand ships, oilers, hospital ships, etc.

    July 11, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. RetiredUSN

    I hope this article is soon corrected. The Navy has deployed women on ships long before 1994. And I don't mean just hospital ships although those certainly count as well.

    July 11, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  11. TRouble

    This is and always has been the real goal of the feminist movement, to make all men have to sit down on a toilet like they do. The playing field has finally been leveled.

    July 11, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Merrillee

      Oh, bs. I'll wager you don't have a urinal in your personal place of residence, unless you live in a frat house...what utter garbage!

      July 11, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Crocker

      Why do you have to sit down to pee on a toilet. Can't you just stand in front of it and whip it out? Pretend its a low urinal.

      July 12, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • kent grotz

      Tr , when I was a kid the girls could pee as high on the barn wall as the boys. I reckon things change tho. Lol

      July 16, 2012 at 5:02 am | Report abuse |
  12. LarryB

    C'mon guys, stop being so petty. When it comes to peeing, we have an advantage over the women that goes on every day of our lives. No having to move clothing up or down, no having to worry about sitting on dirty seats.... Peeing on camping trips, no problem for us! No toilet paper, again no problem! We can even use empty soda cans or gatorade bottles in the car, in a pinch. Not so easy for the ladies.....
    So....Give the women at least some breaks here. At home, I always put the toilet seat back down when I'm through, and would never expect my wife to put it back up for my benefit.

    July 11, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Merrillee

      A voice of reason! Yay!

      July 11, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dan

    Women pay taxes too. ...No taxation without representation. Get over it and move on.

    July 11, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Gary

    No complaints if you just use an all female crew and air group!

    July 11, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Scott Pilgrim

    I wonder if there will still be the age old problems of pea on the seat or leaving the seat up.

    July 11, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
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