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. CGVeteran

    I served with women on a 378' CG cutter back in the eighties. They were knowledgeable hard working shipmates. Who wants a smelly urinal in the berthing area? So many hypocrites run around waving flags shouting support our troops not even knowing who our troops really are. Thank you ladies for your service.

    July 16, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  2. dansmithofnc

    gives a new pathetic meaning to "little man in the boat" don't it?

    July 16, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Homer J. Fong

    Then you shall have no urinals, no clean seats, and NO Lt. YAR!

    July 16, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. janelasdedeus

    Ultimately, Democrats won't be content until the species itself is gender neutral.

    July 16, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Publicus

    PC takes a backseat here to efficiency, easier maintenance and cost. Quit bellyaching you old dinosaurs.

    July 16, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Great! Now there will be a line at all the heads on board ship, and sailors will have to go to the can in groups!
      Oh well, the old salt can always go over the lee side. 😉

      July 16, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • JoeS

      Dont forget to put the lid down, it gives the ladies something to do before peeing....I mean after all we have to lift the seat , let them lift the LID.

      July 16, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. malice420dotcom

    Someone needs to tell the Navy guys pee on toilet seats and women don't like sitting down on soiled toilet seats.

    July 16, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  7. David Johnson

    The Navy has been eliminating urinals on carriers for a long time based solely on maintenance. This has nothing to do with anything else. I was on a carrier in 2004 that had so many urinal problems, they turned them all off and took them out after the cruise was over.

    July 16, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ratt

      BS, I was on a carrier. You do realize you pee in a urinal and take a dump in a toilet ?

      July 16, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  8. GodSaveAmerica

    Sounds like they are all set to operate under the Northern Union Command (And PC European Guidelines) when the USA implodes under Obama's second term.

    July 16, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Surge1

    No doubt about it, we want our warriors peeing like women anyway. This'll make the libs happy, it's such a friendly and sensitive change, and so stylish too.

    July 16, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jake

    lol...i hope those ladies like pee on the seats!

    July 16, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  11. xfiler93

    wow, glad I retired before all this PC BS that is ruining our armed forces. sickening.

    July 16, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mark

    Hope they still have gun's??!!

    July 16, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill NOLA

      weapons not guns. if you were ever in the service; you know the difference

      July 16, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Snurfend

    This is so when politicians visit, they can sit down to urinate.

    July 16, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mexicali

    Urinals are more difficult to clean but so are all of those tampons.

    July 16, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Frank

    People of the United States of America,
    We are all DOOMED due to Political Correctness!

    July 16, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
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