toilet boat

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Planning to just hold it? No bueno.

We all have to pee. You pee. I pee. He pees. She pees. It’s one of the most basic biological functions.

And yet, it’s so hard to do on a boat.

I go on the water with a lot of different people. The top thing common among them is they love fishing. The second thing that almost all of them share is an unwillingness to tinkle while aboard.

This leads to some problems, especially because we all know we’re supposed to stay well-hydrated. In the short term, acute dehydration will give you a nasty headache, speed your heart rate, and probably give you a case of the woozies — and perhaps even a urinary tract infection. Over the long haul, chronic dehydration is a major strain on your kidneys and can lead to elevated blood pressure and kidney stones.

No one wants the health risks. Here’s a common compromise: I’ll drink only as much as I’m sweating out. That way, I won’t have to take a whiz, and I won’t get dehydrated!

You think you’re somehow beating the system with that plan? OK — then here’s a question you need to answer honestly, if only to yourself: When you got off the boat and finally went potty, what color was it? A healthy pale yellow, or a dark and angry orange? Lie if you want, but I know better. I’ve tried your plan, and it doesn’t work. If it did, then why were you so thirsty the rest of the day?

Going wee-wee on the boat isn’t really that hard. We make it hard because we’re all a bunch of first-graders, too embarrassed to admit in front of our friends that we have to go. It’s all so silly and unnecessary.

Here are your options:

GO OVER THE SIDE: This works well for most men, unless they have balance issues or the boat has wide gunnels. Women can also use this method, though few are willing to lean their sterns out far enough. Ladies, if you’re in the minority who will, be sure to keep a good grip on something that’s firmly affixed in the boat (and your girlfriend’s hand is not the best choice). Alternatively, there are adapters that allow women to make water from a standing position, either into a tank or through a tube.

GO OVERBOARD: If you’re in shallow water or if the boat has a swim platform or dive ladder, this might be a good option. I strongly suggest that you don a life jacket before undertaking this maneuver if the water is over chest-deep.

GO IN THE LIVEWELL: It’s not exactly a toilet, but it will do in a pinch. If it’s full of bait, maybe go with a different choice.

GO IN A BUCKET: Many boaters carry a 5-gallon bucket aboard for various and sundry purposes, and this can be one. It’s not exactly comfortable to sit on, but there are snap-on toilet seats that can fix that. You can even relieve yourself when there are other boats around: Wrap a big towel around your waist, drop ‘em and have a seat. Nobody sees nothin’.

Go in the head: If you are fortunate enough to actually have a head aboard, by all means make use of it. I’ve seen people dangerously dehydrate themselves because they didn’t want to sit on a porta potty. Come on, folks; prioritize!

The next time you’re out on the boat, drink up. It’s good for your health. And when it’s time to piddle, you’ve got several ways to deal with the situation like a grown-up. Get it done, because this problem really urinates me off.

Contact Capt. Josh Olive at 941-276-9657 or

Contact Capt. Josh Olive at 941-276-9657 or Publisher@


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