That’s a term that will be appearing more in print and heard on the air, especially in connection with some U.S. Navy ships, predicts Grumpy Editor.
The biggest boost will be linked to a new class of carriers that will sail without urinals (in the “head,” as the Navy describes the location), in part to accommodate female sailors.
As Navy brass explain: Omitting urinals lets the Navy easily switch the designation of any head from male to female, or vice versa, helping the ship adapt to changing crew compositions over time.
A ship without urinals is a shocking development to veteran sailors.
Making the “relief areas” aboard ships more gender-neutral is a relatively new consideration for the Navy.
Future ships, led by the Gerald R. Ford class of carriers --- starting with the namesake carrier due in late 2015, with others to follow through 2027 --- is one of a number of new features meant to “improve sailors' quality of life and reduce maintenance costs,” says the Navy.
Improving "quality of life” on the high seas with female sailors on board isn’t amplified.
But the plumbing switch, explains Capt. Chris Meyer, manager of the Future Aircraft Carriers Program for the Naval Sea Systems Command, will lead to less maintenance.
That’s because urinal drain pipes clog more than toilets and therefore can be smellier and costlier to maintain, explains Meyer.
The new arrangement will lead to sweeter-smelling ships in the future.