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. Jerry Alex

    No tampax dispensers either?

    July 16, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Buckaroo

    "Urinals plumbing requires more maintenance then toilets", what a load of crap. I've seen toilets clogged and broke, I've never seen a urinal broke.

    July 16, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. David

    Just more proof that liberalism is a mental illness. Frankly, with all of the pregnancies on USN ships, gender-neutral restrooms should be the least of their concerns. The billions in tax money wasted on training women for military service only to have it all wasted when they get pregnant is staggering.

    July 16, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ashamed

    I am not sure if there are problems with an unstable platform but I have seen those waterless urinals which make a lot more sense to me. Potable water is a precious resource and the lack of flushing for a whizz seems like a practical concern. However, after seeing all the "sea duty" pregnancies and other nonsense I am still of the opinion that mixed-gender combat ships are more of a hassle than they are worth. All women or all men.. mixed.. hassle.

    July 16, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • sapper

      Not really a big deal as nuclear powered reactors make an unlimted amount of fresh water, probably on to something with those pregneancies though.

      July 16, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • billnorris

      Although I am in Moyock N.C. I live very near to the Navy Bases in Virginia. I have active duty neighbors. Urinals have actually been removed from most ships already. To the person with concerns about potable water the heads in ships flush with sea water CPO USN ret. The urinal removal is so ships have PC gender neutral heads.

      July 16, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dazedandbemused

    Great. Now our national preparedness will be compromised while sailors have arguments over leaving the toilet seat up.

    July 16, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Just a Guy

      Sorry Dazed, that is not a Democrat solution. Everyone will have to sit down to pee.

      July 16, 2012 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. john smith

    During Combat when every second is at a premium the floors will be wet and smelly.

    July 16, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
  7. donna426

    If this were gender friendly wouldn't they have both standard and urinals? To me this is showing favortizm to the women and to heck with the males.

    July 16, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • SDC63

      No sinks either. Make way for the full length mirrors!

      July 16, 2012 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
  8. slickzip

    Women have no place aboard WARSHIPS ,,,,, end of story !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 16, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
  9. deano

    Typical Obama Admin rules and regs. Inconvience 95% to accommodate 5%. What a joke. Lets also waste 60% more water to flush a toilet. The greens should be real happy.

    July 16, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • cinesimon

      Deano – in other words you're too lazy to look into this in any great detail. Who cares about reality(let alone honesty) when it's all about attacking Obama, right kiddo?

      July 16, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Molly Hatson

      You summed up the entire last four years of the presidency. Well done.

      July 16, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. cinesimon

    Oh, Buddy: no, only those who cheer on corrupt military contractors and oil companies, who've proved to have stolen from the taxpayer, want the public to think Halliburton is yesterday's news.
    There are a huge number of corrupt corporation you twist on the right don't want us to talk about.
    Fine.
    You pretend that corruption is the new patriotism. Patriotism in your twisted, childish little head, not the real world.

    July 16, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. cinesimon

    Apparently being efficient is NOT OK if the kiddies on the right can twist it(in their warped fantasy land) into being a 'PC' move.
    The current PC, of course, is that right wingers must hate everything that is not advocating hate. Apart, of course, from their phallic symbols. We must all love those, because freedom.

    July 16, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
  12. bor sille

    If we are not fighting to protect the womb of the unborn what are we fighting for?

    July 16, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. cinesimon

    It really is quaint how the right wing are SO twisted... SO full of irrational hatred, that they believe Obama is responsible for the toilet design in air craft carriers.
    \NATIONAL SECURITY!
    TRAITOR!
    Just beautiful. These idiots clearly have no self awareness whatsoever.

    July 16, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. cinesimon

    Clearly, Obama is trying to sabotage American security and battle preparedness.

    Tee hee hee – you right wingers are beyond deluded.

    July 16, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Bill

    Ain't communism great?

    July 16, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
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