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. Bob Wilke

    This policy was put in place to allow President Obama to relieve himself should he board a ship.

    July 16, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Overby

      Is that the way Mooselimbs pea?

      July 17, 2012 at 12:38 am | Report abuse |
  2. BamBam0099

    I'm sure they will not stock any tampons, pads, or pantiliners to remain gender-neutral....or......will they instead make the men wear them too?
    My God, our country is getting stupider by each passing Liberal day.

    July 16, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
  3. high plains drifter

    Std's will have a fertile breeding ground!

    July 16, 2012 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tjc

    Will the male sailors be fined for not putting the toilet seat down?

    July 16, 2012 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jolly Roger

    This is so sweet. Hopefully they can keep vases of fresh cut flowers on the toilets at all times.

    July 16, 2012 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jake

    They will regret that decision. It is a hell of a lot easier to clean up around a urinal than a toilet.
    Why do they think the urinal was so standard elsewhere? Must be those nuts from academia.

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

      "Urinal drain pipes clog more than toilets and therefore can be smellier and costlier to maintain"

      July 16, 2012 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zig Sulewski

      Next thing will be the use of kitty litter.

      July 17, 2012 at 2:53 am | Report abuse |
  7. Raynbow

    Will they be allowed to leave the seat up for the next guy?

    July 16, 2012 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Big O

    Tugboat Annie's to be with much lower A school scores beat me out of the Engineman C school I earned. On that very day I decided it was four and out for me. I made EN2 then castoff. No urinals? No balls. This country and my beloved Navy are going to hell.

    July 16, 2012 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Angers Away

    As an old Navy man, I feel this is sissy and stupid. Urinals clog? What, with urine? Urinals use way less water, and that should be critical aboard ship. Wasted space? Use them for flower pots if it is all females. Or let them learn to use them.

    July 17, 2012 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
  10. pond boy

    Welcome aboard the USS Little PEE PEE ! ware some women are still women and some men are still men and some just havent figured it out yet!

    July 17, 2012 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
  11. Winslow

    This is the only time in my life I can happily say, I am glad my father is not alive to see this. What has happened to our country.
    I am ashamed at this politically correct crap we are actually putting up with. The military leadership have let our fighting men and women down. It makes me sick.

    July 17, 2012 at 12:47 am | Report abuse |
  12. Rebecca

    Get over it. Your bathrooms at home are gender-neutral.

    July 17, 2012 at 12:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Rebecca

      And they use salt-water in the toilets. No fresh-water wasted.

      July 17, 2012 at 12:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Big Al

      Yeah, and 50 percent of my household is male and 50 percent is female. Kinda makes sense doesn't it? On the other hand only 15 percent of the Navy is female and a lot fewer than that serve on Aircraft Carriers. So it makes sense that there would be 6 urinals for every toilet. This has nothing to do with ease of bunk assignments and proximity to the heads. Urinals clog more than toilets, yeah right.

      July 17, 2012 at 4:52 am | Report abuse |
  13. Dave

    America for spacious skies and women who are men.

    July 17, 2012 at 1:20 am | Report abuse |
  14. staff sgt.Red

    What will they call the head? A tail.

    July 17, 2012 at 1:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Grizz

      The abdomen or back.

      July 17, 2012 at 4:05 am | Report abuse |
  15. Scott Hotter

    "The new hi tech toilets will have a non-raising seat with moister sensors and audible alarm built in. All Navy personnel, male or female will be required to sit when using the new toilets"

    July 17, 2012 at 2:05 am | Report abuse |
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