Waste is produced in various forms when cruising a large catamaran.  Disposal of most waste is regulated by the Federal and State Governments.  The majority of waste falls into four (4) categories: Oil/Fuel; Sewage (Brown Water); Garbage; and, Gray Water (shower sumps, bilge water, sink drains).  Standard placards are available through any marine supply source listing the regulations regarding the discharge of oil/fuel and plastic/garbage.  These placards must be posted in plain view near the engine and in the galley.  Millennium Dragon has these placards mounted on the hull in both engine compartments and above the stove in the galley.  Garbage disposal is regulated for any vessel but, on a vessel this size, a waste disposal plan must be in writing and posted.  This disposal plan is posted behind the stove below the placard and may be viewed below.  Sewage disposal may be overboard well off shore (refer to USCG regulations) or, if cruising near shore, only at pump out stations.  No placard is required.  Gray water from shower sumps, bilges, or sinks is not regulated if no “garbage” or “oil” is discharged overboard.


Gray water from the main Galley sink and the sinks in both heads is discharged directly overboard with the help of mean old Mister Gravity.  The Dragon has six (6) bilge pumps, three (3) on each side.  The showers located in the forward compartments of each hull drain into the bilge.  These are the pumps that run the most when cruising.  A second set of bilge pumps are located in each hull just ahead of the forward bulkhead of the companionway/stairs into each hull.  Small access panels are in the floorboards just above these pumps.  The third set of pumps are on each side in the aft lazarettos, at the aft crossbeam bulkhead.  THERE ARE NO BILGE PUMPS IN THE ENGINE COMPARTMENTS.  Any accidental leakage of oil or fuel must not be automatically pumped overboard.  The engines are in the compartment below the queen size berths in the aft staterooms.  The aft bulkhead of the stateroom is part of the aft crossbeam.  The bilge pumps in the lazarettos are aft of this water tight bulkhead.  The forward 1/2 bulkhead that supports the queen bunk board at the forward edge does not communicate with the bilge forward of this water tight barrier.  Any spill of oil or fuel must be manually removed from the engine compartment and disposed of properly.


The Dragon was built with four (4) float switch activated bilge pumps in the living compartment bilges and two “computerized” pumps in the lazarettos.  The float switches and pumps were mounted on aluminum plates using stainless steel machine screws.  After several years the pump mounts in the shower sumps corroded, the aluminum oxide formed swelled and the float switch mounting hinge bent and broke.   The pumps in the central compartments froze due to minimal and/or lack of use.  The Dragon is a very dry boat until you shower or wash down the floor boards.

The computerized pumps mounted in the lazarettos activate every several minutes to “sense” load/water and run for about two seconds if the bilge is dry.  Unfortunately these bilge pumps sounded like cows mooing every five minutes.  My wife and I became accustomed to the noise but guests would have problems sleeping for the first several nights.  I replaced all pumps with the design pictured above.  Pumps and float switches are mounted on a piece of Plexiglas with nylon machine screws and nuts.  The pumps are wired with a standardized male/female pattern of Anchor Marine protected electrical connectors so that pumps may be switched or replaced quickly and easily.  I carry several replacement assemblies while cruising.  If a pump does freeze or burn out, only the insert needs to be replaced.


“Garbage” is defined by USCG and State Regulations.  Placards listing the regulations are available at any marine supply store.  When cruising we sort and separately store recyclable items (aluminum can, glass bottles, etc.), refuse (dry containers, boxes, etc.) and wet garbage (peelings, un-consumed food, etc.).  The US Coast Guard requires a garbage disposal plan be developed, written and posted and that the crew be informed (trained) regarding the ship’s plan.  The plan I developed for the Dragon is posted on the access panel aft of the stove below the regulation placard and is pictured below.

S/V Millennium Dragon
Waste Management Plan

All waste and trash shall be placed in plastic bag lined trash containers located in cabinets below the galley and head sinks by all crewmembers.  Waste and trash shall be stored in plastic trash bags until taken ashore by the captain/owner (Roger H. Strube) for deposit in a proper trash collection container provided by the town, public dock facility, marina, yacht club or local private business.


The Raritan Heads

What you see...





The Raritan Heads

What you get...


Millennium Dragon has two holding tanks, one in each bow, for the heads.  Most of the plumbing is reasonably standard.  Waste pumped from the heads is transported through large PVC pipes to holding tanks in the bows located below the floor of the self draining forward deck lockers.  These pipes enter the top fill fitting of the holding tanks.  One arm (upper, deck pipe) of the “T” fitting connected to the lower/drain aperture of the holding tanks connects to the deck waste fittings for pump out when near shore, USA.  The other arm (lower, overboard discharge pipe) runs aft to a point under the lower (sink) cabinet in each head.  A hole cut in the floor of this cabinet reveals a large PVC ball valve fitting.  Aft of this fitting the pipe is connected to a large through hull fitting.  Opening the valve allows overboard discharge of the holding tank where regulations allow.  The valve handles have a 1/4” hole drilled so that a nylon wire tie may be used to secure the valve in the “closed” position.  This tie must be cut if the valve is to be used where permitted.  A new tie is fitted after the valve is again closed.  So far standard stuff.  The innovation is on the holding tank vent side.  A vent that remains open is necessary or the holding tank becomes pressurized.  Also, this vent pipe should have a water trap in it so that tank odor remains trapped in the tank.  This was accomplished using 1/2” PVC pipe.  The water trap is kept “watered” with mostly fresh water because the design of the deck hatch openings for the forward, self draining sail lockers.  These hatches are flush fitting into a “gutter” molded into the deck.  This gutter had no overboard discharge so that with rain or heavy sea spray, some water entered these self bailing sail lockers.  Not generally a big problem aside from some dampness issues in the lockers but, after all, these are self bailing deck lockers and could not be expected to remain dry as a bone.  The water in these gutters did, however, offer an opportunity to supply water to the water trap for the holding tank air, decompression lines.  Rain and/or sea spray are then used to fill and flush the water traps.  Excess water simply flushes the air vent and flows overboard.  Pictures of this system may be viewed below.

Rain water or sea spray enters the system through the drain fitting at the low point in the deck hatch “gutter” top center of this picture.  The large PVC pipe to the right is the holding tank deck access connection.  The deck fitting is out of the frame.  Water flows from the deck to a “T” near the bottom of the compartment where a 90 degree elbow directs the fresh water, now at the bottom of the water trap,  toward the center of the compartment.


Any rain, wash down or sea spray water entering the system is now at the bottom of the water trap.  Additional water fills this lower loop until it reaches the level of the “T” fitting above the 90 degree elbow.  The hose pictured running across the compartment to the through hull fitting then transports the excess deck water overboard and keeps the water trap flushed.  The pipe with the red handled ball valve coming up through the compartment floor is the vent from the holding tank.  Air escaping the holding tank bubbles through the bottom of the loop and is vented through the gutter fitting above or through hull to the right.

[Ocean Catamaran] [Cruising Log] [Your Desires, Your Budget] [Specifications] [Hull Design & Construction] [Sail Controls] [Sailing the Dragon] [Interior] [Steering] [Water] [Waste] [Electrical] [Heating Cooling] [Mechanical] [Electronics] [Dragon's Lair]