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. David Van Buskirk

    So I guess these ships will be run by crash test dummies.

    July 16, 2012 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
  2. David P

    I thought that was why ships had portholes.

    July 16, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Clinger Trur

    I would refuse to put the lid down...

    July 16, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Old Marine

    Can an order mandating that all male sailors must squat to pee be far off?

    July 16, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
  5. hank

    With a sign posted on the wall over each toilet: "Your Modern Navy and Tax Dollars at Work For You, We Aim To Please, So Please Aim".

    July 16, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Name*Bobnews

      the navy made the no urinal decision when they found out the ladies wouldn't stand for it.

      July 16, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • high plains drifter

      To make sailors squat is demeaning,the navy will have a fleet of love boats and birthing centers.

      July 16, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Longarm

    Just use the sailors secret and pee in the sink!

    July 16, 2012 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
  7. RobertT

    Urinals are quicker more sanitary and efficient, so why wouldn't our government want to get rid of them.

    July 16, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Glove Puppet

      Ok you Green folks think of all the water to flush.....x-navy so I know what POTABLE water is....Gov is wasting lots of money to be politically correct....when you make the water under way you know what I mean.....and there you have it as a former submariner....637 Class.

      July 16, 2012 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Overby

      Politics is everywhere. Stupidity also. Don't give me crap (?) about urninals plugging. With What?

      July 17, 2012 at 12:37 am | Report abuse |
  8. Gary Pewitt

    Will there be a courtmartial for anyone who doesn't put the seat down?

    July 16, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Kaptain Kanada

    God help the first poor sailor who forgets to put the toilet seat down! They'll bring back keel hauling just for that offence!

    July 16, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. JerryinTampa

    Now the Navy will be short on Urinals AND Ships. Thank you Obama! We never counted on those changes. Have fun until November.

    July 16, 2012 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Martink

    Well, who gives a squat!

    July 16, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Overby

    I restate: Government can't properly arrange a one float parade.
    Pee on the floor.
    Most of the excuses sound like "we need to please a few female politicos, so make up some b.s. excuses as to why we are doing this stupid thing.

    July 16, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Davey Jones

    Wow, cultural marxism has thoroughly infected even the armed forces of the United States! That's ridiculous and disgusting.

    July 16, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
  14. nick

    so when the women on the ship make you mad...pee on the seat. I wonder how fast things will go back to normal after that.

    July 16, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Capt Rearend

    Guys can simply wizz off the side of the ship.

    July 16, 2012 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
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