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Help With Head Hoses please....a work in progress  

October 13, 2013. This page started off with an October 1 post on the Forum from new Dolphin owner Eric Barnett (Misstress, Yankee #140) requesting help with head hoses. You can see the post and responses by clicking here.

Here is the setup - there seems to be a mystery.

When Eric bought the boat it was reported to him there was no holding tank. Routine head systems Investigation by the new boat owner determined there was a holding tank!

It was installed under a bolted in water tank - under the V-berth, and with no readily apparant access to the holding tank!

Exchanges of emails with the resident website staff head expert ensued. First, from Eric

I was told when I bought my boat (Hull #140) that it DID NOT have a waste holding tank. Subsequent investigation hath shown this not to be the case. I do, indeed, have a holding tank connected to a two-way valve from the head. What I DON'T have is a pump-out on deck. I need some guidance on how this system operates and how I would empty the tank. Anyone else have a boat set up this way?


Some of the email exchanges were direct, not thru the Forum. For the record website "head expert staff" contibuted the following to this investigation

Hi Eric

In the 'bad old days', when rules on direct overboard discharge were just coming out, some people had a Y valve installed on the hose coming out of the head with one hose going to the holding tank and the other going direct to the overboard thru hull fitting. The holding tank was never used!!

Then, this set up became illegal in many, if not all places, and the head discharge had to go to a holding tank - no direct overboard discharge - No Y valve!! There were 'wrinkles' and 'interpretations' involving lockout systems - lock with keys, etc., different in various states

Anyway, if #140 does not have a way to empty its holding tank then it probably was never used. The fact that you can't access it suggests that's the case. One would definitely want to clean out a holding tank and access is needed.

There are online websites that describe the various 'legal' set ups. Rules may change locally so its important to get current regulations. This is the Dolphin24.org website page on the subject, if you have not checked it out already http://www.dolphin24.org/head_tank_etc.html

My Marionette's setup is direct discharge from the head only to the holding tank - no Y valve in this hose giving the option for direct overboard discharge. Then, from the holding tank a hose goes from the discharge outlet to a Y valve giving the option to go to a Whale pump that goes to a thru hull fitting - direct overboard discharge when out on the open sea, no regulations, area. The other option on the Y valve is to a hose that leads to a deck fitting for a pumpout. The thru hull fitting is set up with a locking device on the lever so that 'only the captain' has the key thereby controlling any overboard discharge.

Hope this helps


Back From Eric - edited

I do not have a pump out on deck or anywhere else. The only through hull connected to the system is the overboard dump valve. However, the PO (prior owner) had a laminated card on the boat identifying all the pump out stations along the Southern California coast, so he must have had a way to pump out the holding tank, I just can't figure out how he did it. Also, the holding tank is beneath the water tank in the v-berth and is not readily accessible.

Hi Ron, (re above picture)

The hose on the left goes to the overboard dump after passing through a manual bilge pump. The hose in the middle runs from the valve along the sole, and through the bulkhead to the holding tank which I cannot access because the water tank is bolted in with a wooden frame. The hose on the right runs from the valve to the head pump.


Still further investigation by Eric located a control device with a cable leading to the holding tank - possibly a switch to a macerator pump?


There is evidence that at some time in the past there was a way to empty the holding tank. The attached picture shows a box with an alarm buzzer
and a button.

The wiring seems to be attached to the holding tank and I surmise that this controlled a macerator pump that emptied the tank. I plan to remove the water tank this weekend to see what is really under it. If it is repairable, great. Otherwise it's all coming out.

I've already bought a porta-potty.

Stay tuned



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