Ideas For a Boat Mini Rest-Room For The Ladies





Nature calls are something we all have, as they somehow seem to to be a critical part of life, so we/they do not really need to be ashamed of this natural involuntary urge to relieve ourselves.   Men have the definite advantage when it comes to urination with their outside plumbing.  And the modern women who usually wear jeans during any outdoor activity, will usually need that they at least partially dis-robe, possibly creating a modesty/privacy issue.   And some women may be more sensitive than others to the lack of privacy (even if shielded), if doing it in the presence of others onboard, men especially.   Not that I am in any way trying to be demeaning to them here, it's just a matter of fact of human behavior.


I have an old time fishing friend, who calls this "Pumping The Bilge".


The problem may not really be whether the receptacle is unorthodox, clean and/or functional, but it's the issue of dropping clothes to do the job at hand, which could expose large amounts of skin at some point in the process.  Not so bad if it's just hubby, but with close quarters combat fishing, or a boat full of guys, it's not going to happen as she will hold it as long as possible and be miserable the rest of the day.  And a miserable woman is usually,  WELL YOU CONNECT IN THE DOTS !!

For the average fisherman who may take a female along on a fishing trip, not having made provisions for facilities of any kind, could be an embarrassing issue at a most inopportune time.  As you, the male operator of the boat may seem totally out of connection with the real world.   Yes, you need to consider their modesty, BUT sometimes this can become ridiclous depending on the situation, where some will only relieve themselves in a established clean toilet or Honey Bucket ashore.  The bad part about this, some really non-familiar fisherwomen may not understand that returning to shore during a prime tide change, you could loose the whole timing for the best most possible fishing productivity time of the day.   And this was supposed to be a fishing trip, not a sightseeing trip.  In this case, you might as well, while you are back at the dock, pull the boat out of the water and go home for the day, (Been There-Done That).


Also the situation will be different depending on the size of your boat and/or if it is a cabin/cuddy cabin or an open boat, AND also the location of other boaters who may be in close proximity to each other on the water.   Then add to that whether you and the wife are fishing alone or with some of your buddies/invitees may make a difference. 


In the header photos above, are two examples of what can be part of the answer.   The LH photo being a Port-A-Potty.  In the RH photo of the 5 gallon plastic bucket, the full plywood lid is just that, making it also a spare seat if needed, and not seen is another lid with a large center hole and enough outer ring for body support as when used in relationship for the purpose intended in this article.    As you can see, it also is used for storage making it considerably more practical on a small boat.   Here you can also use a 13 gallon plastic kitchen garbage liner, or just use your deck brush to scrub the inside immediately after usage.


I am sure that many of us have "Been There-Done that" as to not having any kind of a facility onboard at one time or another.   So, if you value her company, you need to at least consider some accommodations in your boat for a female passenger/partner/fisher.

Many years ago, my uncle had an expression when he relieved himself over the gunnel of his boat at Westport, "They may see what I'm doing, but they can't see what I'm doing it with" and then my mother had one, "If they have never seen it before, they don't know what it is, but if they have, then it is nothing new".   However most men seem to have a slightly different view on the subject than women do.


Boat Type ; 

(1) Cabin Boat ;

Obviously this type of boat will usually have accommodations in the cabin for a "Marine Head", which could be a actual marine toilet or even a Port-A-Potty and a closeable door leading into the cabin.  Problem solved.


(2) Convertible Boat ;

This type of boat is usually smaller than a cabin boat, and probably one of the most common, at least in my area here in the Pacific Northwest.  Here we may have to get creative, but there are a lot of options.  Many times the helm and passenger seats are located on top of metal storage boxes.   These boxes are an ideal location to store a Coleman Port-A-Potty.  If there is not enough room there, then possibly in the storage area under the bow.


You do need to consider the privacy thing for her, which in this case could simply be a large beach towel or two to act as a screen (these are 27" X 58").  You/she can facilitate this by simply draping one sideways over the top of the boat's folding front seats.  Another towel can be draped over the metal tubing on the inside of the convertible top.  This gives her some privacy like if you are sitting in a Hog Line with other boats 40' apart (or less) on the Columbia River salmon fishing.  The neighbors may know what is happening, but their time may be next.

Another option, the $5 solution:  Buy a plastic poncho, but not the flimsy, see-through kind, and it would be better if the color was somewhat neutral.  These things slip over the head, both arms can slip inside so she can undo, drop, redo and emerge with dignity intact.  However some ponchos may be so open sleeved that sewing the sleeved closed may be advisable.  Pair that with a large cup or pint plastic bottle container, or the old time standard, a 5 quart plastic painter's bucket, or even a 5 gal plastic bucket for the sitters.   What-ever your/her decision may be, you might suggest having her practice once or twice in the shower stall (fully dressed in fishing gear) to gain some confidence.  Problem solved.   For the standers (men), about anything seems to function, even kneeling on the floor using a piss bottle.


A suggestion to you boat owner men, do not forge ahead and create this plan on your own, but discus it with the Admiral, (her) ahead of time and ask for advice from her point of view, you/she might just come up with a rather simple solution. 


One word of caution/information, the US Coast Guard's drowning report shows that over 70% of the men who drown, have their zippers down when the body is recovered.


(3) Open Boat ;
One answer here can also the poncho method mentioned above.

One fisher says that they use a large mouthed plastic bottle and an umbrella that when opened fits over the open bow rail section with room for her to squat under, great privacy and everyone is happy.


Another option that may be worth some consideration is the female urination device, female urination aid, or stand-to-pee device (STP) is a device which aids a female to urinate while standing upright, which could be combined with the poncho.  Variations include basic disposable funnels to more elaborate reusable plastic designs.  Female urination devices have increased in popularity since the 1990s.  They can be used for many outdoor pursuits, or for medical reasons.   One version of this is the SheWee as seen in the LH photo below swells for $9.95 at Cabela's.   There are other names of manufacturers attached to this device, one being GoGirl, another Lady J, so they are something else to consider carrying aboard just for her.  She might not like it, but sometimes necessity over rules modesty.  However, do not have it onboard without at least letting her try it beforehand.  One place to look for these when considering a purchase is a Truck Stop.


SheWee, a Female Urination Device Nuff Said 


Probably most of the time the nature call will be #1, (urination), HOWEVER #2 can also be an issue, same basic problem for both sexes, so the ladies are not totally alone in this aspect.  And if you do prepare, it may just also be something you may some day use yourself if an emergency occurs.  But do not forget at least a partial roll of toilet paper sealed in a Zip-Loc baggy.  


Personal Experiences ;   
When I take anyone out in my boats, before leaving the dock/launch, I do an orientation and explain the location of the life jackets, operation of the motor if I happen to become incapacitated AND the location of the Port-A-Potty and/or piss bottle/bucket (or as the Coast Guard labels it, an auxiliary de-watering device).  


I am sure many of you have had experiences pertaining to this issue.  As for my family, my wife and daughter have no problem using a container in the front of the boat if the rest of the crew looks the other way.  However I know of other guys who when looking into purchasing a fishing boat, the wife's requirements seem to dictate the size/configuration as determined by the conveniences that can be available on the boat.  This usually places the new boat at being much larger (AND more expensive) than the guy really was looking for, simply because compromising here can be difficult.  The lady wants comfort while the man wants utility.

I have a friend who instead of a piss bottle, he took about 3' length of 1 1/2" black PVC pipe that has a cord on each side with hooks that slip over his belt.  He attaches this to his belt and simply stands at the stern urinating into this pipe that extends overboard down to near his motor clamp bracket  (look Ma, no hands).  He can pretend to cut bait or tie leaders while relieving himself.  Observers may see him, however may not recognize what he is doing.

One of my larger boats was a 20' fiberglass Tiderunner that had a large cuddy cabin with bunks, a sink and stove plus a Port-A-Potty.  In the length of time I owned it, the Port-A-Potty was used numerous times, especially when we stayed aboard overnight on halibut trips to Neah Bay.  But when my fishing crew broke up/moved away, that boat was larger than I could really handle comfortably by my self, so I downsized to a 18' North River aluminum convertible topped boat, which posed other problems, which were solved as below.

Space on any boat is always at a premium, but I managed to have enough room under the skipper's seat for the Port-A-Potty that I had kept off the larger boat when I sold it.  However in the 6 years that I have owned it, this Port-A-Potty was only used maybe twice.  And it took up about all the room under this seat along with the added weight considering the extra water needed to flush it.  And then the clean up afterwards, if not done at least by the end of the day, being out of sight-out of mind, can become an issue.  A year ago I decided to go a different direction and removed it, replacing it with a modified 5 gallon plastic bucket.  The modification was merely cutting 1/2" off the top of the bucket so the seat's metal box lid could fully close.  This system  takes up less room, and also doubles for other things, plus allowed for the inner part to be used for more storage when under the seat.   But when needed, it is still close by, and can be used as multi-purpose as mentioned in the start of this article, even as a fish bleeder (when the seals are around) or gut bucket at the end of the day, and is a whole lot easier to clean.

A few years ago when I still fished the Tiderunner, my son and I were fishing halibut out of Neah Bay, in Canadian Swiftsure waters.  There was an east wind blowing right down the straits and the water was starting to get more than just a little lumpy.  He is somewhat prone to seasickness, (usually does OK, but with a slightly upset stomach).  He had a #2 nature call but was sure that if he went into the cabin to use the Port-A-Potty that he would loose it.  The small fleet that we were with that day was pretty scattered and I was the most southerly boat that day.  OK dad to the rescue, I grabbed a rear mooring line, had him wrap it around his chest and tie off, drop his drawers and hang over the side, tying him off to a midsection mooring cleat on the far side of the boat.  Fine, this worked rather well, as he had something to hold onto to help maintain his balance.   Then when finished he asked for the toilet paper, I went into the cabin for it, but also came out with my camera in the other hand.  Later, my wife saw to it that all the photos AND the negative were destroyed.

One thing I can tell you is that when  the bite is slow, this is a way that when the nature call is for #2, it can inevitably entice a salmon to bite.  However, during the process, it can be kind of like a Chinese Fire Drill, that in getting the wiping done, your pants partly pulled back up enough to stagger to the stern to get the other rod reeled in before a tangle occurs AND then net the fish all the while holding your legs far enough apart to keep your pants from falling down.   Been there -- Done that.

A couple of years ago an acquaintance wanted me to show him how to fish my normal fishing area, OK we made arrangements for a day on the water with him and his fishing buddy.  He has his own boat and does some salmon fishing in Puget Sound, so brought his own gear (lots of it).  I do not remember how the fishing / catching turned out except his idea of meeting me at the dock was, he was back in the middle of the parking lot and did not see me pull in, launch, tie my boat up and after waiting for him to show for a 1/2 an hour, I did go looking and found him rigging his rods/going thru his gear, and BSing his buddy, but not in normal view of where the action was going on at.  Then as the day wore on, he then wanted to also schedule another trip a couple of weeks later, but to include his wife on this one.
  Now consider this, he has a medical doctors degree and she is a nurse.  He had asked early on, and knew from being on the first trip that I had a Port-A-Potty on board, but on this 2nd trip, once on the boat and time progressed, using it was not in the cards for his wife.  So a trip back to the dock about 10AM.  Then another nature call about 2PM.  OK, that was it, I called it quits when we hit the dock, probably at much delight to his wife as she obviously was not in any way a fisherperson.  However maybe she was smarter than both of us, as it was obvious to me that she was not enjoying "QUALITY TIME" with her husband that he was having, and possibly used this as a way for ME to end the trip early that day. 

The above was somewhat doable that particular day as the fishing area was within a few miles of the dock, however if we were 20 miles out to sea, I seriously think that I would not have been as accommodating.  And next time, "there are my accommodations, (be what they may) use them or not, it's her choice".   As I get older, I seem to become a bit more hardened and do not really care about influencing others if there is a viable option, or me being manipulated into being a NICE GUY by cutting into our/MY fishing time.  And she will have to remember that the real purpose of this trip was not for a "Boat Ride".

You need to be on the water and have baited hooks deployed in order to have any possibility of catching fish on the afternoon tide/bite.

Now since I wrote this, I find that there can be women who, have a mental block for any attempt to urinate under these conditions, so maybe I have been a bit harsh here.


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Originated 05-07-2016, Last updated   01-21-2018
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