Install a Head on a Boat

Lead Image
  • 2-4 hours
  • Advanced
  • 1,000-2,000
What You'll Need
Boat toilet
Screws and bolts
Treatment system
Vent loop tube
Water supply hose
Y valve
Storage tank
Hand drill
Boat map

When you’re on a boat, the topic of hygiene comes into mind especially when toilets are based on a head boat system. Unlike on dry land, installing toilets on boats can be tricky. On boats, waste cannot always be thrown overboard, especially with the advent of maritime regulations restricting human waste from being dumped into the ocean. The boat head is made up of several major parts. The first is the vent loop used for direct discharge, which passes through a treatment system. From the toilet, the vent loop connects to a treatment system, then extends to the outer hull in order to eject the treated waste.

Waste that has passed through treatment procedures can be ejected to the ocean, as long as the boat is nowhere near a coastal or inland water area. If the boat is located within three miles of land, then waste discharge is not allowed. The storage tank is an optional device that connects to the vent loop in order to accommodate waste from the toilet. The accumulated waste can be treated later and discharged to the ocean, or disposed of on dry land. Installing a head boat system is not an easy task, however. Here are steps designed to guide you through efficient boat head installation.

Step 1 - Install the Toilet Seat on the Boat

The boat toilet differs from an ordinary toilet because instead of waste going down the chute into a septic tank, the waste is transmitted through the vent loop tube attached to the side or back of the boat toilet. Fasten the boat toilet on one room of the boat designated for toilet use. Use screws and bolts to hold the toilet seat securely to the boat. Make sure the vent loop tube and water supply tube are attached securely to the boat toilet.

Step 2 - Drill Holes through the Boat

Drill holes through the boat in order to accommodate the boat head tubing. Make way for two tubes leading to two external port holes to be used for waste ejection. Use a hand drill to penetrate through the boat walls. Make sure you have an updated version of your boat plans with you so you know what you’re drilling into.

Step 3 - Install the Storage Tank and Treatment System

Designate a room or compartment to place the storage tank and treatment system. These two should be placed side by side so that they are easily connected to the Y-valve. One part of the Y-valve should be connected to the vent loop tube leading to the boat toilet, while the other is connected to the treatment system. The other part of the Y-valve is connected to an exterior port hole to allow quick, untreated waste ejection. The treatment system has a tube leading to the storage tank, which in turn has a tube leading to an exterior port hole for treated waste ejection.

Step 4 - Lubricate the Valves and Test the System

Lubricate the valves utilized by the entire boat head system, especially those on the Y-valve and the boat toilet itself. Test the system by flushing litmus paper down the drain, with the Y-valve switched to the treatment system. Once the waste is ejected, check if the litmus paper changed color in order to ascertain whether the treatment system is working.