Today my boat became headless. I spent this beautiful, warm, sunny day removing the horrifically foul smelling Electro Scan waste processor along with associated electronics, hoses, pipes, and toilet. The work was unpleasant but the change is welcome. In place of the old septic system I will install a composting toilet called the C-Head.

Modern marine composting toilets are in fact more accurately described as desiccating toilets. By all accounts they are very simple and very effective. Composters use a toilet bowl that separates solids and liquids. The solids mix with coir, peat or sawdust and they quickly dry out and lose their potency. Liquids get diverted into their own container, which gets emptied more frequently.

Composting systems are simple: no smelly hoses and fittings; no electricity or water; no expensive processor; and no thru-hulls. As a glorified bucket, there’s not much to break down or go wrong. Boaters who have installed them rave about them. We’ll never have to worry about a malfunctioning holding tank setting off a “crap-geyser” or a separated hose creating a “river of shit.”

The toughest part of removing the old system was preventing contamination. Luckily I had a cheap, disposable hand siphon to pump the unholy water remaining in hoses and pipes into a bucket. Once empty, I could disconnect or cut the pipe for removal. This took some time but was a far better option than releasing pipes’ contents into the bilge. Tomorrow I’ll sanitize everything with bleach and figure out what, if any, woodworking is needed to accommodate the new commode.

I cannot overemphasize how unpleasant smelling today’s work was. But the air quality improvement was instantaneous and profound. I am glad that part is done and am looking forward to getting the C-Head installed.

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