If you get a bunch of boaters sat around in a pub it’s never long before they begin to discuss toilets: Pump out or Elsan, which is better? How long does your tank last? How can you get the best from your cassette and make it last longer?! Is it acceptable to use the sink, in an emergency? If so, do you use a plastic step to stand on so that you can reach the sink? Have you tried using a jug? Yes, these are all real life discussions overheard among boaters!

But if you listen carefully, you can learn some useful tips too. Here are Boatshed’s top ten tips to get the most out of your toilet! (That sounded a little strange….)

1) Fun fact: It is illegal to discharge sewage overboard.

2) Some boaters don’t put toilet paper in the loo, so that the waste tank takes longer to fill. Some put the paper in the bin, and others opt to burn it!

3) Those who prefer cassette toilets, (Elsan or Portapotti) save on pump out costs.

4) Some buy a spare waste tank, but do consider where you’re going to store it…

5) You need a Canal & RiverTrust Yale key (available from their shop) to access most sewage disposal points.

6) For self-service pump out machines, you’ll need to buy a pre-payment card, also available from the shop

7) Some boatyards and marinas offer pump out facilities where a member of staff will operate the pump out machine for you.

8) Never use a free-standing pump to pump out your tank into a sewage disposal point – they don’t have the capacity. Also, accidental spillage of raw sewage onto the towpath is both a health hazard and an offence.

9) Some sanitation stations don't allow the green fluid and instead suggest the blue formaldehyde-based chemicals, (maybe because sani stations in towns are connected to the towns' sewerage systems.) However it does say on the bottle of Elsan that you can tip the contents down a normal flush toilet, although some marinas may not be happy with this, so do check if there’s a proper disposal point first!

10) And finally, if you’re interested in compost toilets for boats there is actually a Facebook group dedicated to that very topic! https://www.facebook.com/groups/compostingloos

So, there you have the ten tips you never knew that you wanted to know about toilets on board. And you also now know that there is no topic we will not cover on this blog! For more tips about buying or selling a boat browse through our archive of articles. There are now over 150 published blogposts.

Boat Curious? Browse pictures of boat bathrooms here: Narrowboats and widebeams for sale.

Peggy Melmoth

Image: Boat of the Moment, Narrowboat 50ft Trad Stern

600,000 registered boat buyers

Sell your boat twice as fast

150,000 unique visitors per month

1000+ boats sold per year

50+ Boatshed branches world-wide

You may also like:

Living on a Boat: The Boatshed Guide (free) / How to Sell a Boat: The Ultimate Guide (free eBook) / How to Buy a Boat: The Ultimate Guide / Our Top 5 Articles From 2014 / Don’t miss:The Boatshed Grand Union Daily/ More articles.

New here? Come and say 'hello' on Facebook or Twitter :-)

Never miss an article: Sign up and get the latest blog articles sent directly to you, plus instantly receive our free eBook: How to Sell a Boat: The Ultimate Guide.