Where Do You Go To The Toilet On The Boat?

May 24, 2017

Up next in the ‘Most Asked Questions’ hall of fame is “where do you go to the toilet on the boat?”

For other popular questions read my earlier post titled What do you eat on a boat?

Our beautiful £70,000 custom built carbon fibre boat is a real beauty. She is 8.6m long by 1.2m wide. Some say that’s big, I beg to differ as it’ll be 5 people’s home for 56 days! You’d think in that budget they would include a luxury washroom and shower, right?

Not quite. There is only one word to answer the toilet question and that is ……. BUCKET.

That’s really as posh as it gets.

Most people ask “couldn’t you just sit off the side of the boat and do what you need to do?” But the answer is no.  Firstly, the sea is a pretty crazy place and will chuck our little boat here there and everywhere.

Imagine trying to do your business on a bucking bronco and you’ll get the idea of how hard (and messy) it would be.

The second reason it’s not a good idea to chuck your backside over the side is the direction wind. Imagine getting that wrong and covering your crew mate in yesterdays intake of water and food.

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Even using the bucket requires a little finesse. I have heard a story where the person emptying the bucket got the direction of the wind wrong and the contents ended all over their fellow crew mates. Strategy is required even when doing the most basic of tasks on board it seems.

For those that want to read more, please read on. I am aware that this is a pretty gross topic but one I feel necessary to discuss as everyone asks the question.

The bucket is one of those solid builders buckets as opposed to one of those flimsy gardening-DIY-tub ones.  

This means we can sit on it and have a nice time without it collapsing. There is a length of rope attached to the handle so it can be lowered into the sea and easily retrieved.

So apparently, there is a trick to using it.

It’s a trick used for the (oh dear, I hate to say it) you know what???

  • Make crew aware of the activity – they will generally give some privacy
  • Lower bucket into sea and fill with 6 inches of sea water
  • Position oneself comfortably on the bucket
  • Do what one needs to do in the bucket
  • Lower the bucket into sea and empty contents – DO NOT throw over the side of the boat.
  • Return bucket back to designated position in a suitable condition

FYI: all activities like this are done on the deck and not in the cabin. I have hard another story where toilet activity was performed in the cabin and the sea was choppy. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.

I am fairly adaptable to most environments but I must admit I am not looking forward to using the bucket for a ‘proper’ toilet.

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My crew mates and I did a 24-hour rowing training day a few weeks ago and that first wee was terrifying.

I crossed my legs for hours wishing it would go away but after the first ‘visit’ it was fine.

Everyone stood facing the other way and I did what I needed to do. It didn’t help that on that particular weekend I was …. how can I say it?…. erm….. Let’s put it this way – my ovaries were being governed by the moon – you get me?

From the stress of this challenge,  my body had stopped working in that department and I had not been in that situations for months. And of all the weekends it decided to happen, it had to be the one where I was on the boat for 24 hours. 

But it’s like most things, the thought was far worse than it actually was.  (Maybe I’ll be brave and do a post on that another time as it is a question I get asked by females – boys, you’ll have to bypass that one).

So there you go. I’ve painted a lovely picture of what is to come in the form of a bathroom on board.

And no, there isn’t a shower. Perhaps a baby wipe of two every day, and then maybe a shower once per week when we come onto the coast if I’m lucky.

Stayed tuned for more ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ coming soon.

If you have a question you would like to ask, fire away on Facebook or Twitter at LTFactor.

I still have £2,000 to raise to make the final purchases of safety equipment for the challenge, Please help me reach my target my visiting my GoFundMe page.

Thank you for reading.

And thank you to Emoov for supporting my challenge.

Read more from the Great British Row 2017