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. Scott

    The only way this could be a plus for women is if men are required to sit rather than spray.

    July 16, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  2. trainman55

    This is carrying "pee-sea" to a stupid extreme!

    July 16, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. BillyBob117

    I say just give the girls their own ship and call it the USS Powder Room--all of this because PC has taken over this great country--no one forced the girls to join the Service but once in, they starting making all sorts of demands or go whinning to the PC crowd--Your time in the service is not a vacation or at a college-way past time for you girls adapt and not demanding that everyone else adapt to you-

    For God and Country

    July 16, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. john

    Don't worry feminazi's well just use the sink!

    July 16, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mountainbiker

    We are sunk! PC has taken over and we are going to pay for it just watch and see.

    July 16, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  6. BD

    If you've never been in a hot metal room with a decade old urinal, at least be glad that a few others won't have to either.

    July 16, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Nuts

    This shouldn't surprise any one America raises its women to hate their history and that includes their fathers and everything about manhood

    July 16, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ricardoh

    Maybe they can stand on deck and pee overboard. Are all heads going to be equipped with sanitary napkin holders?

    July 16, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. MC

    I'm guessing most people don't have urinals in their homes. What's the big deal?

    July 16, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Lord Anson

    Where will the girls go now to take a whiz?

    July 16, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Steve

    Why didn't they make a urinal for women. Girlly urniating for men is like Manly urinating for women. So they throw the men overboard and let the men do the natural relief like girl's. A hint for the men...take a couple of days off when you have your period.

    July 16, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. callmeBob

    I've had the pleasure of visiting one of these magnificent warships. As far as difficulty in cleaning – I am sad to say the CVN I visited was a pig sty, keeping the compartments clean didn't seem to be an issue nor did it appear as if it was desired, and I'm not describing the heads.

    July 16, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mikey

    Just install the urinals, dikes stand to pee.

    July 16, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  14. rockytony

    As an ex-sailor and I am sickened that political correctness has now arrived in the "heads" of US Navy ships completing the circle of degradation and disrespect for the sailors of yesterday and today. I am sure the male sailors will find a good use for the sanitary napkin machine soon to appear. Admiral Halsey and Nimitz are most assuredly turning over in their graves just thinking about today's weak Naval leadership.

    July 16, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Juan

    Guys don't need no stinken' urinal.

    July 16, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
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