Shit happens~

“No one goes to the toilet in novels. You’d think that none of us had bladders”.

German Geer

One of my first learning curves about living on a boat was how to use the boat toilet, otherwise named “The head”. I had never really appreciated an automatic toilet flush until I moved into a living space that did not have one. The head, looks like a normal toilet, however it’s a smaller version and obviously is not plumbed into a main sewage system. I had just moved onto my partners boat, and now needed to be potty trained by him.

My introduction included how to use the Manuel pump on said toilet. As I was having my guided tour and demonstration on how the pump worked, I noticed how small the drain of the toilet was. My mind was racing, and I wondered how my poop would flush down that tiny hole.

Note to self “add lots of fibre to our next shopping list, and drink more water”.


The manuel pump pumps the waste water out, you then flip a switch to pump clean water back in. Training complete, I now needed to put this shit into action. My mind had other plans and at that very moment decided I would now suffer from poop anxiety. Great.

I am sure I am not the first nor will be the last person who stared far to long at my poo on an almost daily basis, whilst vigorously pumping. Gone were the days of popping, closing the toilet lid, pressing a button and voila your poop has gone, no more shits given, excuse the punn. Moving in with someone, the last thing you want is for them to be flushing your poop for you. There were many an occasion when as well as my bullshit, said partner needed to deal with my shit too.

Being a novice manuel pumper, I would sometimes find myself on my knees pumping away trying to rid the bowel of shit. Now living in a very small space it’s not like you could disappear for a while unnoticed. If you did disappear, it would be a man overboard situation, so you just unconsciously become aware where your house mate was at all times. I had disappeared, but my absence, was accompanied by the toilet pump squeaking. Romantic.

The vessel In question did not have a holding tank, so any toilet waste was pumped raw straight out into the sea. Not great, but according to RYA, there are countries that to date unfortunately do not hold strict laws regarding the dumping of black water waste close to shore.

This then does result in scenarios that whilst you are up on deck at a beautiful Anchorage, sipping your tea, enjoying the silence, you could then get the unfortunate view of your fellow house mates shit bobbling alongside the vessel after they had flushed. I had tried to ignore staring at the shit, but a curious thing happens. I found myself analysing the colour, is it to dark, should I introduce more salads into the menu? is it just right?. Like him, I too had to deal with his shit, whilst drinking my tea, on many an occasion.

I was eager to try fishing, and thought I would love sitting at the Hull of the boat peacefully attempting to catch the days lunch. That soon stopped once I had witnessed a few fish happily nibbling away at the fresh feaces bobbling away at the side of the boat.

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