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Why boat owners are choosing portable boat toilets instead of normal marine toilets

Updated: Jun 22, 2023

We used to travel on my uncle's boat across Europe, dipping between England, France & the Netherlands.

I was just a nipper at the time and had some very fond memories of those trips.

The wonderful times we spent floating out on the open sea.

But one night in particular sticks in my mind.

We were moored in a marina.

My cousins were fast asleep in the bunks next to me.

I must’ve been about eight years old when my stomach started to growl.

I rushed to the toilet, being careful not to cause a stir.

Sitting on the pristine throne, I did what came naturally.

The relaxing sounds of the waves crashing around me.

Pulling up my pajamas, I flushed & patted myself on the back for a job well done.

But something wasn’t right.

A gurgle, a splutter.

The water started to rise.

My eyes began to widen.

I flushed again, which only angered the once close friend.

Closing the lid, I had hoped it would stop.

How wrong I would be!

I ran back to my bed and jumped under the covers.

“Everything will be alright in the morning…Surely?

As quick as my eyes had closed, the day was upon us.

I heard the sound of my uncle's voice booming.


I gathered my courage and stepped forward.

Ready for my punishment.

He laughed.

He’d never known an 8-year-old to clog a boat toilet system on his own!

I was thankful.

But we didn’t have a toilet for the next few days.

The hours of work put in to fix the once untainted boat pump toilet.

If only there were a better option…

Boating and marine toilets - What do I need to know?

Buying a toilet for your boat can be a seaworthy experience.

Not only do you need to think about keeping it steady you also need to worry about the dumping laws (which there are many).

It could be that your boat already has all the amenities you’ll ever need!

Like my story, you never know when a portable toilet boat backup could be handy.

So this article will cover the most critical areas you need to consider when navigating the waterways for a portable boating toilet.

What types of boat and marine toilet systems are there and what are the best?

  1. Boat pump out toilets - Permanent, chemical toilet, smelly

  2. Boat Cassette toilets - Portable, chemical toilet, smelly

  3. Boat Composting toilets - Semi-Permanent, eco-friendly, less smelly

  4. Boat Laveo Dry Flush toilets - Portable, easy to carry, no smell

What we will cover:

  1. Blockage

  2. Space

  3. Portability

  4. Weight

  5. Power

  6. Water Resistance

  7. Blackwater

  8. Dumping

Whatever size you’re sailing, there will be guidance and information that can help you choose a portable boating toilet.

Examples of boat types that can benefit from this article

  1. Fishing boats

  2. Leisure boats

  3. Day-boating

  4. Houseboats

  5. Party boats

  6. Pontoons

  7. And Small boats that stay inside waterways.

Now we are equipped with the facts; let’s get into it.


This one sits close to my heart, and it’s grounds to go and buy a portable toilet now.

The boat pump-powered flush toilet is meant to always work, but just like the unpredictable nature of the sea, you’re better off not leaving things to chance.

Most connected marine toilets use a macerator and they can be sensitive to anything you put in them.

From tampons, wrong toilet paper, foreign objects, or a big dinner.

Without proper care, bad things are bound to happen.

What are the suggestions?

You could get a portable cassette toilet which is a mobile solution.

However, whilst moving on the open sea, it may be worth considering what’s trying to come back out than what’s going in.

In short, you could have a mess of black sewage water swirling around the boat as you move back and forth on choppy waters.

Another potential is the composting toilet - Nature’s Head is a great toilet example, we have a comparison article worth a read here.

The problem lies in its need to be fixed and connected to an electrical outlet & vented.

Also, being on the open sea for long periods, the composting will need to be changed at some point, or fear the wrath of a stinky crisis.

But if it’s a convenience you’re after, a backup toilet like the Laveo could be your anchor when the waves are rocking, and the toilet is blocked and not working.

The Laveo has no chance of getting blocked as its system is built around waste convenience and is dealt with like standard trash.

Just flush and let it do the hard work.

It could even benefit those who don’t have a toilet on their boat.

Let’s say you’re on a BBQ may have everything you’ll ever need except a toilet.

(Not all pontoons are equipped with a pontoon boat toilet, unfortunately).

No problem!

Just grab a pop-up tent, add your Dry Flush Portable toilet inside, and you’re set from sunrise to sunset.

Even if you see it tip on its side partly to rough waters, there is no chance of anything spilling out due to the mylar bags twisting the waste into manageable, smell-free packages.

Giving you plenty of time to get back to BBQing.

If you’re not a fan of it tumbling, you can always lock it in place with brackets.


With all boats, space can come at a premium, so knowing where to house the toilet is essential.

Like the caravans & RVs, you’re more than likely putting it in the shower room/ wet room.

Depending on the type of boat you’re on will significantly vary the amount of space you have available.

So looking for a convenient portable marine toilet is your best bet.

Something which you can hide away at a moment's notice and won’t stink up the place the very second it’s used.

Which reminds me…

Here comes the smell!

Being stuck on a boat with a stinking toilet is not fun.

With most chemical toilets, bad smells are not masked, they are not removed, and they are not hidden.

They are there for you and all your guests to “appreciate”.

With the Laveo Dry Flush, smell and portable convenience were the two key focuses during its creation.

So if you take those two problems out of the equation, you’re left with one of the best portable toilets on the market.


We’ve already talked in great length about the benefits of portability and your new portable toilet.

However, one that would pique any boatie's off-grid interest is the chance to camp on the shore of an untouched landscape.

Camping in locations most dream of is a luxury shared with those lucky few who own or frequently boat around the less populated regions.

But where do you go to the bathroom?

You could go like an animal in the bush, but having a bit of class and dignity means sitting down and dealing with your business the “proper way”, unlike the savages of the past.

It wouldn’t be a pretty sight being caught with your pants down either way, but at least on a portable toilet, people would respect the dedication.

So using the Laveos “take me anywhere” design. You can travel far and wide, on and off the boat, and still have all the comforts with no fuss.

Water Resistance - Can I shower with it?

If you’re using a wetroom or shower in your boat, you must ensure that your toilet is water-proof or water-resistant.

Non-electrical toilets like chemical/cassette toilets produce an awful smell and require the removal of black water.

Toilets like the Laveo & Nature’s Head are water-resistant, but you should cover them with a plastic sheet when showering, as they have electrical components.

The Nature's Head needs to be plugged into an electrical socket and kept dry during showers, otherwise, it will be a problem.

Maintaining the dryness of the water-resistant Laveo Dry Flush is equally crucial as it contains a charged battery.

Thankfully, the Laveo can be moved at a moment's notice, so putting it in a dry location is a simple process.


The further you sail from the city marina and float closer to that clear, beautiful sea air, the more likely power becomes a tradable commodity.

Therefore, off-grid thinkers must plan ahead.

You’re drawing off stored power from your engine or solar panels.

Your power is continuously being nibbled at by composting & pump boat toilets. It might not seem like much initially, but it can add up over time.

Laveo is a portable, charged-at-home toilet that can operate for three months on a single fully charged battery.

It will all depend on where you’re going and how much electrical charge you need.

Personally, I like to use power to keep the boat running.

Blackwater - Smell in abundance.

It’s the worst job if you have a chemical pump toilet.

Handled mainly by the one with the strongest stomach and resolve.

Blackwater, for those who don’t know, is in a tank filled with all the nasty stuff you made on your travels to the porta-potty.

On a boat, it sits in the holding tanks for marine toilets.

You pour the clean water in & then the black water pours out.

There is no denying that it stinks.

It smells disgusting.

Videos of people gagging while attempting to transfer their family's waste holding tank from the boat and over to the chemical sewage tank at designated dumping spots can be seen online if you search for them.

We’ll talk about the dumping in a moment.

The boat cassette toilet is not much better.

Rather than having a blackwater tank attached to your boat, you have a smaller compartment that contains the black water.

Even if the task is common, it still stinks.

The composting toilets on boats are a little different because there are two distinct containers for waste.

The solids go in the back and should be left to compost for at least a week.

The fluids go in the front (which we advise you to remove frequently).

The Laveo, on the other hand, is all about convenience.

Consequently, you never have to remove or smell the black sewage water (because there is none).

Instead, you separate the twisted mylar bags, provided in a handy trash bag, and dispose of them in any typical disposal facility.


Carrying tanks of clean & dirty water is heavy work.

People will frequently inquire, "how much does it weigh" during boat shows.

When you flush a chemical toilet, you must use clean water, which, when combined with waste, produces thick blackwater.

Composting toilets are also considered dry toilets, so you'll be able to remove the water weight from the calculations.

However, they have additional concerns, such as the necessity for regular electrical charging and venting, all of which add weight.

The Laveo Dry Flush toilet uses no water at all.

The weight of the toilet itself is important to consider; it soon becomes simple to use and store when you don't need to add any additional liquid.

Please be aware that the Laveo will become heavier as you use it for waste accumulation, but when you remove the trash, it becomes weightless as a feather once more (in comparison).

Dumping - Where does it end?

Now to get a little serious.

Most people will seek solutions to avoid fines and the environmental impact of dumping raw sewage into waterways.

If you’re pumping and dumping, you can get into much trouble.

Here is a snapshot of the sea dumping act.

The Sea Dumping Act:

  • Forbids the disposal of substances in the water deemed detrimental to release into the marine ecosystem.

  • Restricts allowed ocean waste disposal to lessen its effects on the environment

  • Controls the placement of artificial reefs to improve the maritime environment.

  • Applies to all vessels and platforms in Australian waters, all Australian vessels, and any part of the sea.

That’s a lot of information when you’re using pump toilets.

So how can we avoid this and make sure that we stay on the right side of marine toilet dumping laws?

They have a specific location for you to remove your “man-made horrors”, which means a trip to the pump-out facilities.

Each state will have a similar list.

On the plus side, you can dispose of the Laveo dry flush toilet waste at any site that offers ordinary trash pickup as if it were a regular part of your weekly waste collection.

It’s about convenience and focusing on why you’re out in the sea in the first place.

You are not just hopping from one dump spot to another, planning your excursions around waste management.

Where did the sense of adventure go?


So there you have it.

Taking your portable toilet needs is essential when organising your expeditions into open waters.

We at Laveo genuinely enjoy sharing our opinions because there are so many options for portable toilets and having the information to make the best choice for you is what drives us.

Laveo is perfect for dayboats, fishing boats, recreational boats, small boats, BBQ pontoons, houseboats, and party boats (honestly, any boat is the right boat!).

Most boat manufacturers will install the Laveo if you ask them to if you have one on the way.

Its portability and size make it the "convenient king" of the Portaloo world, and you can retrofit one to nearly any boat!

Floor mounting brackets, which are also available, make it simple to fix the item if you're concerned about it moving.

The fantastic thing is that nothing will escape if anything does spill while you're floating with the waves.

Did we miss any? If there is essential boating portaloo knowledge you think we need to know & share, please get in touch at


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