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December 2010

Avoid head aches

Tips for a trouble-free marine toilet

Saltwater and uric acid produce calcium scale inside marine toilets and discharge hoses, which can cause the toilet to become progressively harder to flush and lead to a blockage.

Avoid this problem by pouring a pint of white vinegar into the bowl once a month and pumping it slowly—a single stroke every 4 or 5 minutes—through the toilet. The mildly acidic vinegar dissolves fresh scale deposits.

If you have a VacuFlush system, release all vacuum, add the vinegar, turn on the pump momentarily, and repeat a few times to move the vinegar through the system.

To keep the pump operating smoothly, follow the vinegar with an ounce or two of a lubricant specifically formulated for marine toilets.

Ensure than no one puts bleach, caustic cleaners, pine oil, alcohol or any petroleum products into the toilet as these will destroy seals, gaskets, hose linings and valves.

Maintain your head

  • Check all your head’s hoses and clamps on a regular basis.
  • Use only toilet paper made specifically for marine heads.
  • Show guests how to operate the head’s pumps, ask them to put only toilet paper in the bowl and to use as little as necessary, and encourage them to use shore facilities whenever possible.
  • If you have a holding tank, empty it often.

See life jackets and more at the USPS Ship's Store!

Reef (Square) knot

Use the reef knot only in low-stress, noncritical situations, as it will capsize easily. Used properly, it will bind something such as a reefed sail.

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