Marine Sanitation – It’s Not So Stinky
Let’s face it – eventually you’re going to have to come face to face with the fact that marine sanitation is one of the most important things to keep up with on your boat. Doing things the right way the first time will not only keep your boats sanitation system happy and non-stinky, but it will also keep our water systems safe and sanitary.
Starting with the basics, make sure your boats potty (aka, head) is welcoming for any guests who may be onboard, especially first timers! Make sure your bathroom is clean and stocked well with marine grade toilet paper, towels or paper towels, soap or sanitary hand liquid, lotion, and any other toiletry products that your guests might find they need. Using marine grade toilet paper is very important as it breaks down much easier than regular household toilet paper. In most cases, it is also dye and perfume free so that it doesn’t harm your boats sanitation system in any way and so that it doesn’t cause unwanted odors.
There are several steps you can take to keep your boats bathroom sanitation system clean and free of odors:
Ensure that your tank is adequately ventilated so that the ‘good’ aerobic bacteria can receive enough oxygen for it to live and function properly. Keeping the tank as empty as possible is also a good way to keep unwanted waste smells away. However, you should never EVER dispose of waste overboard. Make sure you dispose of waste properly at an environmentally friendly waste disposal facility.It is illegal to dispose of waste overboard and a hefty fine will be charged if caught.
Adding a live aerobic bacterial treatment to the tank is also helpful. Bacterial treatment is not chemical treatment, so consider yourself as being “green” and environmentally friendly. Bacterial treatments enhance the natural decomposition of waste and get rid of odor producing bacteria, while chemical treatments simply mask the odor with a strong perfume (which of course, can be effective) and kill all of the bacteria, good and bad. However, if you know that your tank is properly sealed and has no leaks; chemical treatments are very effective when wanting to get rid of unwanted odors quickly. Always be sure to dispose of this waste at a waste facility as to not harm our rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water. Enzyme and nitrate treatments are also something to consider but should be kept up with on a regular basis.
Flush the hose to the holding tank thoroughly to prevent waste from standing in the hose. Make sure you keep pumping water in your toilet long enough to be sure that all of the waste has been flushed all the way into the tank. Another good tip is to rinse your entire system out by flushing fresh water from your toilet through the system after each pump-out.
Change hoses, seals, gaskets and impellers in your system on a regular basis and immediately fix them if there is a problem. This will ensure that you’re being sanitary and that your boat will not smell!
“Shocking” your boat tank when winterizing your boat for the winter, and when taking it back out in the spring, is a good way to ensure that your tank will stay clean and non-smelly. Before winterizing your boat, add a shock treatment to your tank (about a week before winterizing) while still using your boat so that the treatment can slosh around in your tank and clean the sides, etc. This will also ensure a very clean last pump out.
Note: If this seems overwhelming, don’t worry - our service techs have many years of experience and are ready and willing to help fix or repair your boats head.
Again, always think twice about disposing of your waste overboard. It is not worth the risk of getting caught and paying a very large fine, or worse. Respect the water that you love so much, and you’ll make everyone’s time on the water, including yours, more enjoyable. Be sure to dispose of all waste at an environmentally friendly waste disposal facility. If not for yourself, respect the other boaters that enjoy swimming, fishing, and boating on the same waters that you do.
Keeping your boat sanitary, environmentally friendly, and free of unwanted odors is fairly simple. Make sure that you’re always using the proper products and processes as listed above, and your boat will remain clean and smell delightful – there’s nothing better than a clean and sanitary potty!