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Chemical toilets

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Afternoon all.

Can anyone suggest a decent chemical toilet for use on a boat please.

We pick up our boat next Thursday and that will be the first thing we want to change.

Needs to be sturdy as I'm definately not built like a rake ;)

Any help would be much appreciated.

Also apart from emptying in public toilets is there facilities to empty at yards that do pump outs?


Steve & Deb

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Thanks for the quick reply Dave

I've only seen how they are emptied on YouTube videos and they are all on campsites that have facilities to empty in to. They say you can empty down a toilet but to do it in stages, not all at once.

Does anyone have a rough idea on the price of fitting a holding tank and 'proper' toilet?

Steve & Deb

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:wave Agree with Dave.. Installing a proper loo is much nicer.. 


I've not seen the hull of your boat although I would say you may struggle to find the space for the tank because shes an outboard boat and normans & shetlands are good at using every millimeter.. (Have a look around and make sure you have room for a large suitcase size tank :) )


We have installed (or are in the process of) installing a tank in our project ourselves.. Rough price £650 - £1000 (for a fresh water flush): (We went for the macerator one as I hate the pump ones and I can't do things in a bucket ;)


Loo: £100 - >£400  (£400 for a posh electric one).

Tank: £100 (ebay)

Tank Fittings: Around £150 (ASAP Supplies)

Pipe: Around £150 (You need expensive special pipes if the tank is some distance from the loo).

Seacock for flush: Around £40 . (Boat would need to be out the water).

Other bits (Tank outlet, pipe, hose clips, etc): Maybe another £100.


(If you aren't doing yourself its probably 3 days work so maybe another £300 on top?!)

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If the boat you're thinking of is the one in your Avatar Steve, then you need to consider the practicality and economics very carefully.


Holding tanks are fine in boats that are large enough to have a decent sized one, but can be a waste of money and space in small cruisers.


I actually went the other way with my 23ft cruiser. I took out the flushing toilet and 50 litre holding tank, and replaced it with a Porta Potty and spare waste tank. With pumpouts costing £15 and up, even for tiny tanks, it wasn't worth it.


Each Porta Potty "cartridge" holds about a third of the previous holding tank's capacity, and costs me nothing to empty at home. The flushing water is fresh water contained in the top part, whereas the flushing toilet used river water that left a terrible stink when the boat was unused for a few weeks.


There are plenty of boatyards around the Broads with facilities to empty chemical toilets, and are detailed in a list on the NSBA website and in their Greenbook.  http://www.thegreenbook.org.uk


On the website, click the two links shown:




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Thank again for the replies.

Yes the boat is the one in the avatar, she's a Norman 24(although I've been told to get the tape measure out for the sake of river tolls) ;). She has a volvo penta inboard on a sail drive.

Having just realised you can have more than 1 cassette for the same toilet, thanks to Strowager, I think we will stick with that for now.

She will be coming out this winter to be antifouled and painted and we will also get the rubber diaphragm on the sail drive replace.

She'll be as good as new for the start of next year :)

We have been looking at the thetford 365 toilet as it looks a little more sturdy than the 165. Has anyone ever used one of these?

Steve & Deb

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If you take the cartridge home to empty, you may not need to empty it down the toilet. Most houses have a manhole cover usually close to the kitchen/bathroom outlet. You can empty it down there. It will end up in the same place and far more convenient than doing it in the house.  They mostly have a lightweight hatch.



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Here's a photo of the stainless steel holding tank that was fitted to my cruiser before I removed it.


It had a capacity of 50 litres, which was about three Porta Potti tankfulls.


When space is at a premium, I much prefer the simplicity and cleanliness of a self-contained system that can be emptied much more frequently, no pipes, valves, vents, below water level stop valves etc..


The provenance with the boat showed that one of the previous owners had paid nearly a thousand pounds to have it fitted.  :eek:


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.....Can anyone suggest a decent chemical toilet for use on a boat please.......


The one that I fitted in my boat was a "royal", similar to the Thetfords, but with a rounded front.


I've always thought the cassette type toilets fitted in Viking cruisers as OEM were very neat. They look less "commode" like, and the cassette is removed via a neat bulkhead door, leaving the pan in-situ. I have one of those in my motor caravan, and they're a little more conventional looking ! :)


Here's a before and after shot of the heads in my boat.



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Thanks again Strowager for the info and pics.

We have decided to go the way of the chemical loo as after looking at the link you put up it appears that our marina actually has a disposal point for chemical toilets.

Some great information from all, thank you all so much

Steve & Deb

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Hi Steve! we just bought the one below plus the hold down kit, you can pick up the manual one for around £80 plus the hold down kit is £25, not the cheapest but it's better looking than the square box type, Waste tank capacity is 21L, we normally moor up near toilets so use them most of the time, I'm not sure but know someone will have the facts here, but I believe it's the formaldehyde based stuff (Blue) your not allowed to put down the Loos, I'm sure I read somewhere that the stuff like Aqua-Kem Green is ok! judging bu the amount of people I've seen emptying them at the Loos in Wroxham I wouldn't worry,,,






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im surprised that more peeps don't go for the composting loos

they are clean smell free and very efficient.

no more pump outs or emptying smelly cassettes and fretting about where

to empty before it gets too full.

I know they are initially costly but they pay back by not needing to

pump out or fuss or have a holding tank.



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For all the reasons Strowager quotes I would stick with a chemical cassette, although we are used to them from many years of caravanning. Often, people who are not used to them have rather inaccurate opinions on what they are like. If you use the proper chemicals at the correct dose they are not particularly smelly and all have easy to use and clean emptying mechanisms.


My preference would be a Fiamma Bi Pot, the larger 39 model has a twenty litre tank, is quite substantial and will cost you about £55 for the initial unit and £35 for extra tanks.

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Absolutely right Paul, many people do seem to have inaccurate opinions of modern chemical toilets.


On the subject of poo I think I'm probably more squeamish than most people, and yet I find self-contained chemical loos to be a good solution to a tricky problem with small boats or caravans.


"Proper" flushing toilets in boats with holding tanks are a lot more complex than conventional "home" toilets, with lots of components that can go terribly wrong.


Many years ago, I read a story in a boating magazine that left quite an impression on me, so I scanned it and kept it, framed, in all of my boats' heads compartments. Guest users always emerged with a smile..... :)



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Hi all I was thinking of getting a Royal camping toilet from Argos, priced at £69.99. As I work for Argos, with my staff discount and loyalty points I will be able to pick it up for £30. Has anyone had any experience of these toilets and are they any good?

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Hi all I was thinking of getting a Royal camping toilet from Argos, priced at £69.99. As I work for Argos, with my staff discount and loyalty points I will be able to pick it up for £30. Has anyone had any experience of these toilets and are they any good?


That's the one I fitted in my boat when I replaced the jabsco flushing toilet.


If it's the same model exactly, I posted a photo of it a few replies back on this thread. As well as being cheaper, I preferred it to the Thetford models because it looks better with the rounded front, less "commode" like. :)


I've owned several Thetfords in boats and caravans and the build quality and usability of the Royal seems exactly the same. Spares me be more difficult long term though, because the manufacturer of the Royal hasn't been around as long as Thetford.


The answer is simple though, at the lower prices, I could afford to buy two units. Then you have a spare cassette, plus a complete, unused, spare top unit if anything fails in years to come.

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