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. desert

    Look at me! an airman 3, wear pink panties and I squat to pee!

    July 17, 2012 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  2. Jim

    The women will own the gender-neutral heads now and the guys will have to hold it. I think I would pee over the side. Now queue all the female's complaints about the seat being up or down and splatter on the floor and the sides of the commode.

    July 17, 2012 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  3. dg

    Now the male sailors will pee on the seat and will be accomodating the female sailors with the wet seat...

    July 17, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  4. cwdjr

    When you finish feminizing our navy, are you going to paint our ships PINK? "unbelievable"

    July 17, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  5. Jz

    Will the women sailors start to complain about the seat left in the up position. Will their be a million dollar study done to correct this behavior. Will a CZAR position be created to oversite these evil men who defend our way of life.

    July 17, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Clemmie Morton

      Really. These "planners and architects" and probably the entire Pentagon need to be sent to the new planet, Stupider.

      July 17, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      There will no doubt be a training film produced on how to put the seat down when you're through.

      July 17, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • cbn

      No there won't be because men'll leave the seat up anyways, we're hard wired to do that and no amount of reeducation will correct it!

      July 17, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Why not just give the girls a funnel & a tube?...The want everything else Men have so why not make them stand up to take a leak also?

      July 17, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ceilo

      They really should have just put in a men's and women's bathroom lol the men will get pee everywhere and leave the seat up....women will complain...

      July 17, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. JEW

    They think maintenence is going to go down now that the men have to aim from farther away? Good luck! This is just sillyness.

    July 17, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. luxomni

    That is an idiotic decision. I don't care who does what or with whom they dock their privates. The ladies can use the urinals as flower pots for all I care, but not having urinals for the men invites sanitation and cleanliness problems. Besides there ARE female urinals and men could use them also.
    This Pentagon logic is about on the same class as Gen. Shinsecki making all the soldiers wear black berets so they all would be special.

    July 17, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Daniel C. Shaw

    The "men" making these changes have never used a urinal and are trained to accomodate all alleged minorities.

    July 17, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bill

    just another notch in the belt of the military leaders going over to the side of the loons in charge, what type of militsary are we going to have, will they give all our men tights to fight in eventually. this is sick and demented thinking.

    July 17, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • cbn

      Even with your "slippery slope" argument, how exactly are you equating the fact that they're actually doing some critical thinking about how they spend our defense money to they'll be issuing tights as combat utilities?

      July 17, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. MikeN

    Why is the US still designing/producing aircraft carriers? They are obsolete dinosaurs. We will be faced with the same situation as countries who entered WWII with a large number of battleships.

    July 17, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      How many other countries can sit 200-300 fighter aircraft off your coast in a matter of days?

      July 17, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Richard Greyson

    I beat the navy that comes to invade and concur America doest have gender neutral carriers.

    July 17, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Been There

    When I worked at a gas station years ago, I had to clean both Men's and Women's rest rooms. It surprised me that the women's rest room was always the filthiest of the two. How many times do you see shoe prints on a toilet seat in a men's room? This is a political decision , and it's stupid.

    July 17, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Scott

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

    What exactly do they clog with? Excessive urine?

    They want to do this switch, fine, but what a mor roonic justification.

    July 17, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      I was thinking the same thing! Such total BS. It's sad to see the once great U.S. Navy reduced to an experiment in social engineering. These ships are nothing but birthing clinics with propellers.

      July 17, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ZepLedHead

    #78 of how many ships?

    July 17, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Scott

    The McNamara culture is alive and well in the Navy.

    July 17, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
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