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A handout photo made available by the US Navy shows Sailors manning the rails of the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) during its commissioning ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, USA, 22 July 2017. Ford is the lead ship of the Ford-class aircraft carriers, and the first new US aircraft carrier designed in 40 years. US President Donald J. Trump (not pictured) presided over the commissioning.
EPA/Julio Martinez
Stand or sit?
MISSION FRIENDLY

The US Navy’s newest aircraft carrier has no urinals

By Steve Mollman

The $12.9 billion USS Gerald R. Ford, which can carry about 5,000, is the first new US aircraft carrier designed in 40 years. Of course, a lot has changed in 40 years. 

For one thing, it’s not uncommon to find women serving aboard such carriers these days. Women account for nearly 20% of the sailors in the US Navy. So, the ship’s designers adapted to the new reality. According to the Navy Times, the Ford has no urinals—only seated toilets with stalls.

Urinals have their advantages. They take up less space. They allow men to relieve themselves while standing, without creating a hygiene problem. Many men will no doubt opt to stand despite the option to sit—and create a smelly mess when they miss the target.

Gender-neutral bathrooms are a hotly debated topic in the US and elsewhere, but for the USS Ford the issue is flexibility. ”There aren’t any berthing areas that are dedicated to one sex or the other,” an operations specialist told the Navy Times of the new design. If a space were needed for males, “we could shift the females to other berthing areas and make this all male without any modification being necessary.”

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