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. pete1215

    I suppose we will go back to having a Poop deck?

    July 11, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. christine

    Men and Women's bathrooms? Why isn't it just "Bathroom"? If you are in an individual stall, who cares who is next to you?

    July 11, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Doe

      There isn't even a bath, so why "bathroom"?

      July 11, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nomad

      I do. I know how bodys work and I am fine with that. It doesn't mean I want to hear a girl crap

      July 11, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Seriously, people

      Nomad, silly, girls don't poop! I thought everyone knew that.

      July 11, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Snotty Kid

      Because it's easier to pee standing up if you are a man.

      July 11, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Not a Scholar

      Personally I don't want to hear a guy crap either.

      July 11, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  3. bravado in boston

    no big deal. i was on a WWII era minesweep and a LST converted into a "special ops" vehicle and none of them had urinals. It's only a 1960's 1970's thing. Get rid of them i say! They ARE HARD TO CLEAN and i can tell you, more than once inspection was sunk because of crud built up around those nasty things.

    July 11, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. MashaSobaka

    I'm pretty sure that the men will remember how to use a toilet.

    July 11, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Karllinen

    Hey, out here in the civilian restrooms, men can't hit the urinals anyway. Might as well give 'em toilets.

    July 11, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mr right

    heck let's just give everyone male and female organs.......then make sure to give everyone the same rights...freaks I tell you all of them......stop screwing with nature people your doomed

    July 11, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jason S

    Great, the Navy has to sit to pee now! Why the hell can't the men's bathrooms have both urinals and toilets? I mean who the hell am I? I don't make enough money to make these decisions or qualify as a human being.

    July 11, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Willie12345

    From a cost and space point of view, urinals are better. This is just another case of political correctness.

    July 11, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Not a Scholar

      From a cost and space point of view, urinals are useless in a women's head. Purchasing is easier with only one device and you are likely to get a better price with a bulk purchase. Also it means you only have to have spare parts for one device. And now you have a higher functioning head which is suitable to both genders depending on birthing requirements. Sounds like a win all the way around.

      July 11, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Willie12345

    It's called a Head, not a restroom.

    July 11, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Beelzel

    Whatever happened to the time when everyonejust "hung out" over the side of fantail ... gauging the wind ... and just pee'd?
    I am certain there will be a few SOP's on leaving the seat up soon ... heck of a thing to go to the mast for.

    July 11, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Stephen

    So, in the era when we are arguing about ballooning government budgets, shortfalls in social services, decreases in tax revenue, and our continued inability to provide adequate health care to every American we get treated to stories about how our government wastes money on projects like new aircraft carriers to replace still operational carriers who's benefits include allowing our navy to fly more missions to drop million dollar bombs and show how inclusive the navy has become by being gender neutral.

    When are we going to wake up and realize that all this military might is unnecessary in a world where wars are waged with computers and the power of economics will be a greater force than any navy could provide.

    We have a crumbling infrastructure, a shrinking middle class, assaults on all sides against our liberties, and we get treated to the latest and greatest boats for planes that we pay for but are barred from ever setting foot on.

    July 11, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gary


      July 11, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sailor101

      "were Wars are waged via Computer" reminds me of that Star Trek (STOS) episode where war was waged via computer and the all estimated the amount of casulties and if you number was picked you reported to the desintigration center to be killed.

      July 11, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Not a Scholar

      Step out of the matrix please. Your connection is going to fail.

      Stop building ships used to defend our nation and other nations will use that weakness. Stop building war ships and you will put thousands of people out of work, then they depend on government handouts instead. We have seen this time and time again and yet the liberals think it is smart business. I would rather pay someone to build warships then pay them to sit at home getting fat and lazy.

      July 11, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. manyote

    I pity the female sailors.

    July 11, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Rob

    Boys love to spray over the seats that girls have to sit on. Works for me!

    July 11, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Richard in Alabama

    The Navy has deployed women on COMBATANT SHIPS since 1994. They've been deployed on auxilliaries (tenders, hospital ships, etc...) for a lot longer than that.

    July 11, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Kaylee

    What a bunh of crap. Like having urinals should be a problem for females. Can we get rid of feminine hygene products on ships to – the offend the men.

    July 11, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
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