Dometic Corporation 
Sanitation Division 
13128 State Rt. 226 
Big Prairie, OH 44611    

by Oliver White

“I remember one Annapolis boat show”, recalls Marshall Larner, owner of J. Gordon & Company, a full-service yacht repair center in Annapolis, and a dealer for SeaLand VacuFlush toilets, “when a lady came up to the VacuFlush exhibit and literally hugged the model on display. ‘I love this thing!’ she said. Then she came back later and did it again!” So listen to Marshall, guys. These things are important.

The new 5000 series demo model he had rigged up in his shop showed the heart of the system, a neat, white PVC box that is the J Series Vacuum Generator. The simple push of a pedal causes the waste to quietly disappear into the holding tank through a large, 1 1/2” hose with an average power draw of just 6 amps in a 12-volt DC system. “We’ve run these all day at boat shows with the battery from a rechargeable power drill,” Marshall notes. There’s no noisy macerator; by the time the waste runs through a series of one-way valves and the vacuum pump, it’s disintegrated into liquid. A 1” discharge port at the base of the bowl catches any debris that would cause a plug in other systems. A push of the pedal opens the valve to reveal that port, so potential clogs are easily cleaned out.

Unlike other marine toilets, this one uses fresh water for the flushes, which might be counter-intuitive for some cruisers. Why, you might ask, would you not want to use the water you’re floating in to wash away the waste? One answer, Marshall points out, is that a closed system keeps the creek-water odor from emanating from the bowl and the holding tank. And since the vacuum-powered system uses an average of less than half a liter of water per flush, you’re not using up a whole lot of drinking water and, since that’s about 1/3 the amount of the water flushed in a standard marine head, you’re not filling up your holding tank as much. A check valve in the water line keeps waste water from siphoning back into the fresh water tank.

The 5000 series toilets are available in three heights, and the front-to-back footprint is a compact 18-3/8” while still providing the same size seat as in your home bathroom. In other words, the VacuFlush provides comfort for your best beloved crew and it can easily be retrofitted in just about any head compartment in any cruising boat afloat. It’s quiet, efficient, easy to operate and keep clean, it’s odorless (there’s even a SaniGard filter for the holding tank vent).

SeaLand manufactures the VacuFlush products in their Big Prarie, Ohio, plant. SeaLand is a division of the Dometic Group, an international conglomerate based in Sweden that also manufactures the marine air conditioning systems by Condaria, Cruisair and Marine Air along with other products for the marine industry. You can expect to pay about $1,600 for the 5000 series VacuFlush system, plus installation. You can talk to your broker about how this investment will enhance the resale value of your particular boat. But most importantly, providing the familiar comfort and convenience of a real ceramic toilet will show how much you care for your guests and crew. Especially when they need a head to hug.