Head (watercraft)

Head (watercraft)

The head (or heads) is a ship's water closet or toilet.

The term derives from sailing ships in which the toilet area for the regular sailors was placed at the head or bow of the ship. In sailing ships this position was sensible for two reasons: first, since most vessels of the era could not go to weather particularly well, ["Going to weather" means heading towards the wind] the winds came mostly from the quarter, ["Wind from the quarter" means wind from any point behind 90 degrees to the vessel, but the term is not generally used for wind from dead astern] placing the head essentially downwind; secondly, if placed somewhat above the water line, vents or slots cut near the floor level would allow normal wave action to wash out the facility. Only the captain had his private toilet near his quarters, below the poop deck.Fact|date=October 2007

In many modern boats, the heads look similar to a seated, land-type toilet, but have several technical differences. Rather than using a cistern and gravity to flush the waste away through a plumbing trap to a drain, there is a system of valves and pumps that brings sea water into the toilet and pumps the waste out through the hull. In small boats the pump is often hand operated. The cleaning mechanism is often easily blocked if too much toilet paper or other fibrous material is put down the pan.


For ladies especially recreational diving, it makes more sense to wear a two-piece swimsuit or bikini as it allows ease of use of the head, taking into account the instability of the diveboat.


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