commercial toilets and urinals

Savings, Ships, and Water

Ships carry a lot of water. Large cruise ships carrying 5,000 to 6,000 passengers and crew members can use as much as 500,000 gallons per day. These are huge volumes of water, and water costs money in many different ways. Not only is there the actual cost of the water, but because water is heavy, it adds considerable weight to the ship, which can increase fuel costs while the ship is at sea.

The Sun Sentinel newspaper refers to these giant liners as floating cities, and that is essentially what they are. So one initiative we can take to reduce consumption on board is to look at what some land-based cities are doing to reduce water consumption.

waterless cruise ship

The first step involves performing a water audit. These assessments of water use have become very common in office buildings, schools, and other large facilities on land. A water audit can involve all water-using fixtures, but because our focus is bathrooms and restrooms, our audit would look at the following:

•    Number of commercial toilets and urinals on board

•    Number of sinks and faucets

•    Age of the toilets, urinals, and faucets (this can indicate how much water they consume)

•    Any leaks that were detected

•    Malfunctioning fixtures/mechanical failures

We should note that older and malfunctioning fixtures can be a serious problem. Very often a toilet or urinal is designed to use a specified amount of water per flush, but with time, use, and some abuse, they often use far more. Because of this, ship owners should set a time limit as to how long to keep these fixtures.  No more than five to seven years is usually best.

What to Select

If the decision has been made to update or replace older toilets and urinals, ship owners should know that once again what works on land likely will work at sea. For instance, when selecting a new toilet for a land-based facility, the water-saving possibilities and technologies typically considered or installed include the following:


Tank inserts. A displacement device is placed in the storage tank of a conventional toilet to reduce the volume of stored water.

Dual-flush toilets. These devices enable the user to select from two flush volumes, based on the presence of solid or liquid waste materials.

Pressurized and compressed-air toilets. These systems utilize compressed air to aid in flushing by propelling water into the bowl at increased velocity while at the same time using a relatively small amount of water.

Vacuum-assisted flush toilets. A variation of a conventional toilet, the fixture is connected to a vacuum system that assists a very small amount of water in flushing.


Waterless urinals.  On land, the average waterless urinal saves about 30,000 gallons of water per year. That’s a lot of water, so in places in the US where droughts are a problem, many building owners have decided to install these no-water urinals.

Plus, they are enjoying these other benefits by selecting waterless urinals:

•    A urinal designed to use no water usually costs less to select and install than typical water using urinals

•    Mechanical parts are eliminated

•    No-water urinals rarely malfunction.


A Step in the Right Direction

In a land-based facility, more water is typically used in restrooms than in any other area of the facility. The only exception is if the building is heavily landscaped. However, the steps addressed here can still make a significant impact on reducing the amount of water used and stored on ships, which has cost savings written all over it.

For more information on the benefits of Waterless Urinals, please contact a Waterless Co representative here.