In France, among other places, certain zones demand equipping with a black water tank. Since 1998, all European boat constructors have been compelled to provide a space for locating black water tanks. This may be optionally also fitted. For boats made before 1998, there is no such obligation. Indeed, Directive 2003/44/EC, states only that the new boats equipped with toilets must have: either a tank or a facility that can accommodate a temporary tank for areas where the discharge of organic waste is limited. Any discharge pipe through the hull must be sealed by a valve. Currently in France, it is local authorities who may or may not accept boats without black tanks in their waters. Eventually, the tank will be compulsory, an important step for the preservation of the marine enviroment. Drain terminals are already installed at several French ports (inquire at the harbour.) Please note, black water installations are subjected to standards. Be sure to check that the products of your system respond to the requirements of this standard. If you do not have the possibility  to so equip your boat, nothing prevents you from adding a chemical toilet on board which gives you the opportunity to anchor in sensitive areas.



This standard regulates waste systems installed on, “small craft.” These black water tanks are mandatory in some European countries and parts of the French coast.

-Indication gauge of tank contents

-Access panel of tank larger than 75mm

-Siphon device

-Diameter of free vent larger than 20mm

-Tank identification (ISO, maker, model, capacity…)



On a marine toilet, a manual or electric pump has two functions: pumping sea water and removing the contents of the bowl. A toilet can be placed above or below the waterline. Below, the evacuation and supply pipes must make an elbow above the waterline. It is advisable to install an anti-siphon fitting. If the toilet is above the waterline, only the drain
requires a siphon. In all cases, the valve at the level of the ull leaves the possibility of isolating the circuit. The hand pump can be replaced with an electric model (12 or 24 V.)
Given the length of the pipes and to avoid bad smells, you have to pump at least 10 times in order to rinse the entire circuit.


Before wintering, you can clean the bowl with hot vinegar and then rinse with fresh water, empty the pump of water (risk of freezing) and use a WC wintering product or WC lube, for  lubricating the joints to prevent them drying out.

Professional Advice
“As a security feature toilet valves can be closed while sailing. Make sure you inform  your crew members so they are not surprised!”