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. james ainoris

    Really funny comments! will they put these urinals on the new space shuttle? The polish navy kept sinking since they had them bellow water line.... maybe it will save money...right...oh by the way..who is our enememy now??? cant be china...since walmart owns pla... arabs dont fight normal wars.... russia is to busy makin money... our buddy.. so why do we need these advanced weapons? did you ever see china s navy? pile of ex soviet junk...Eisenhower was right..and i am no hippie.."beware of the military industrial complex" when war antiprofiteering laws were repealed before veitnam wars never end.... who do we fly an f22 against? please tell me...james ainoris

    July 11, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Former Navy

    If gays can use the same bathrooms and berthings as straight men, all personnel should be mixed without gender consideration.

    July 11, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. CMSGT MATT FERRARA, USAF, Ret.

    Is this the best CNN has to report on? Who really cares if Seamen and Marines have to sit to pee? Does that degrade them or something?

    July 11, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Merrillee

      How silly...do you sit to pee in your own home, or did you have a urinal installed? Most residential homes do not have urinals...

      July 11, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Why would a man have to "sit to pee" just because there are no urinals? What a dumb thing to suggest!

      July 11, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Dale Johnson

    For the record .........The Navy starting deploying woman on ships in 1978 – 79. USS Samuel Gompers AD-37 was one of the first ships. I was on board this destroyer tender at the time. We made a Western Pacific cruise in 1981 with woman on board the ship. Woman on board combat ships such as a carrier occurred in 1994 – USS Dwight Eisenhower. They had their heads and we had ours. Never heard any complaints about urinals.

    July 11, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tom Jones

    Pee on the seat.....

    July 11, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Johdar

      The sad thing is that there are many men that cannot hit the center of a toilet. Here is a little poem I wrote to address the situation:

      I do not think it neat
      To find urine on the seat
      I do not think it cool
      To find whizz upon the stool
      So please remember this
      When you have to p**s
      Raise the seat and aim for the middle
      So IO don't have to sit in your cold, cold piddle.

      July 11, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. DC

    Man, imagine the extra mopping duties this will involve. Men can't hit the damn urinals to save their lives, how the hell are they suppose to hit a toilet that sits lower?

    July 11, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • GhostCoyote

      Clearly you never cleaned restrooms in a retail store. I actually found the men's restroom to be cleaner than the women's the majority of the time

      July 11, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      It'll be required that they sit down just like in Edmonton, Canada. How they enforce that I don't know, but that's the requirement. I wish they would quit using urinals in the civilian world as well. They're nothing but germ factories and I'll use a toilet over a urinal any day.

      July 11, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • paratrooper1

      @Mike,
      You'd use a public seat over a urinal? I think thats crazy, cause most men would rather avoid the physical contact of the seat if possible. Much more likely to get something from a dirty seat than a dirty urinal. Plus, you don't have to mess with the paper ring.

      July 11, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Portland tony

    As long as they work, one size fits all is a Damned good idea. I'm sure the deployed sailor could care less. The biggest hygiene problem occurs when a desalination plant goes down. Limited showers and noclean laundry. But warships aren't built for fun.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. moribundman

    There's always the flightdeck.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. duh

    In a move to address sailor comfort, all of the new carriers' sleeping areas, or berthings, will be connected to a room with a toilet and a shower – another first for the Navy, according to the Navy Times.

    Did I miss something? we had that back since the 80's and earlier..

    July 11, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ncmyk

    there are such things as female urinals (wikipedia it if you haven't seen one).

    July 11, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. moribundman

    Merrillee,

    Do you think guys sit down on a toilet to pee? Not to mention, one third of all guys uses the bathroom sink! 😀

    July 11, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Merrillee

      I think some guys probably do sit down...but most don't. And use that bathroom sink at the risk of you siggy other! 😉

      July 11, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  12. 22X Richer

    Don't need 'em, that's a lot of ocean out there.

    July 11, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Trooper

    I am sure these gender neutral toilets will some how end up costing $ 25,000.00 per unit. No doubt they will automatic urine wipers retrofitted after all the female sailors sit on the wet seats

    July 11, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Bob

    I pee in the trashcan

    July 11, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  15. RightyTighty

    A sad day for America

    July 11, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
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