I know charter captains who hate having women on board. Often this bias revolves around the fact that eventually everyone on board may need to “answer the call of nature,” and for women, this evolution can become a little more complicated. The reality is when you are offshore on a small center console, there are limited options for women to take a “potty break” and still maintain a degree of privacy and hopefully some dignity.

Mother Nature realized a long time ago men might cause themselves serious harm if they had to sit down every time they had to go, so fortunately evolution provided them with a simple physical adaptation to allow them to safely answer the call of nature. Unfortunately for women, survival in the great outdoors resulted in them developing some very unique equilibrium skills. One of those is the ability to remain perfectly balanced while reliving themselves over a bucket. In fact, even in rough seas, I have seen women struggle on a slick wet deck yet complete the task at hand. I don’t know a single guy who could replicate this performance.

Some adventurous women will decide to forego the bucket system and simply opt for the marine version of a bidet (the live-well). Women who have spent a lot of time out on boats may simply opt to use a scupper drain. If it is rough and the boat deck is pitching wildly, both of these techniques may require embedding manicured nails deep into the padded coaming of the gunnel while firmly hanging on to a rod holder with the other hand.

On occasion I have seen exceptionally “wild women” tempt fate (and perhaps show off) while they answer the call of nature by teetering precariously over the transom. When the boat is really rocking, this method can sometimes result in legs flailing about wildly, reminding me of a cowgirl in a bucking bronco event.

Now I have never seen a flats boat designed with any semblance of privacy or head, so there can be some interesting conversations when a woman’s full bladder takes priority over the pursuit of fish. Fortunately when most tourist ladies really (and I mean really) have to go, they will gladly settle for a quick potty break at the nearest island or sandbar.

Men and women are very different, but we do have one thing in common: limited bladder capacity! When your bladder is really full, it has a way of becoming your primary focus and its urgent demands will result in your undivided attention. While we all try to be civilized when dealing with this intimate, albeit natural process, the rules can quickly go out the window when you are on a small boat. When you gotta go … you gotta go!

Capt. Pete Peterson welcomes comments and suggestions sent to petersonventures@aol.com.

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