Toilet Troubles and Poo Problems

You got adorable ducklings yesterday, today you get poo.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that any conversation about boating takes roughly 10 minutes to turn to poo.

I met a lovely fellow boater recently and his third question to me was whether we were cassette users or pump-outers.

bs14It matters.

When you first tell people that you live on a boat, it doesn’t take them long to ask about your ‘toilet situation’ (this is normally after you’ve already been through ‘Is it cold?’ ‘How do you wash?’ ‘But it must be so cold?’ and all the other things neatly summed up in this hilarious blog post by fellow boater Elodie Glass.)

It wasn’t until we started having guests over however, that we realised just how confusing our toilet was to people who are used to your classic flush’n’go, BOG-STANDARD (zzing!) loo.

Screen Shot 2014-04-06 at 12.18.30

Ultimate land-lubber befuddler.

For the sake of being informative, the toilet works thusly: any toilet business is deposited into a cassette (poo box) beneath the loo via a nifty trapdoor opened and closed by a little lever.

Sort of like the gunger on Get Your Own Back.


Except with poo instead of gunge. And hopefully there’s no people in there.

We also have a little blue button that operates a flushing system.

When faced with this simple system though, house-dwellers seem to panic. Instead of operating the lever, they see that little blue button and something stirs within them. This is familiar, they think. This is a flush! I understand flushes! Then they just flush the hell out of the toilet. Despite us yelling through the door to ‘PULL THE LEVER’ they just straight up press that flush button as though their lives depended on it. Unfortunately all this results in is a toilet full of water. Which in turn leads to a cassette full of water and an earlier-than-expected trip to the Elsan to empty it.

(I must add that I’m not singling out one person, this has happened several times. It’s understandable. Everyone knows: toilets flush. We boaters just like to do things more disgustingly differently.)

webCIMG1346Don’t judge us. It could be worse.

On one such grim occasion, we continued to allow our various guests to use the loo, not having realised the cassette was already full of water. Later that night, after our guests had left, the cassette decided it had taken one flush too many.

And overflowed.

If that sounds horrific (it was), it gets worse. The whole reason we’d had guests over in the first place was for boat drinks. Many, many boat drinks. This meant that we could barely walk up and down the boat without falling over, let alone deal with a poo flood of Jumanji-like proportions.


I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before but, prior to our boat drinks party, we’d bought a beautiful new rug for the living room floor.

Unfortunately that new rug was placed in front of the door. Perfectly positioned for tripping up unwary drunk boaters stumbling around carrying large boxes of wee.

Safe to say, the newly malodorous rug was sadly deposited in the bin the following morning.

(If anyone picked that up thinking they’d found a street bargain: I’m so, so sorry. Please, throw that rug away immediately.)


3 thoughts on “Toilet Troubles and Poo Problems

  1. This is hilarious. There are similar conversations happening in the world of Airstreams, where the choice is either “Black Tank” or “Composting Toilet”. A black tank needs to be emptied at a dump station, but on a wheeled vehicle it is considerably smaller than on a boat, making weekly emptying a necessity. We are having a composting toilet fitted this winter – actually a model first made for the marine market, called Nature’s Head.

    • Thank you! A whole new world of toilet troubles! We’re considering a composting toilet too, let us know how you get on with it? (That’s the first and last time I’m ever going to say that to anyone).

  2. Pingback: Albion: One Year Later | A Narrow Escape

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