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Thread: Small (rowboat-sized) Boat Toilets?

  1. #1
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    Default Small (rowboat-sized) Boat Toilets?

    What do people use? I'm specifically interested in what the sail & oar, small open boat, wilderness cruising crowd is doing that works well.

    My own trips often involve being in wilderness/semi-wilderness areas where so far I have gotten by with digging a hole when ashore. But that can sometimes be tricky in Canadian Shield territory where bedrock is close to (or at) the surface, and with islands small enough to make finding a space away from potential campsites troublesome. Or in cruising grounds where shores are so thickly wooded that just landing can be a real challenge (e.g. Lake Nipigon).

    More importantly, there are venues where a "bury your waste" approach is just not going to work (I'm thinking the Maine Island Trail, for example, or places where big tides make it difficult to get ashore), and where some kind of "pack it out" system is needed.

    Here's my boat:

    DSCN3448.jpg

    With no floorboards, there may not be a flat space on the sole big enough to provide a secure footing for a bucket-type head. There is enough space on the raised "deck" in the bow, or on the sleeping platform, but that's way too high to be stable. And a bucket head is a fairly big object to stow, so there's another complication.

    With a pack-it-out approach, odor control and durable storage will be crucial, as will ease of disposal at the end of a trip.

    I welcome any and all thoughts about how to handle this. Like it or not, I suspect that "pack it out" is probably the most responsible, and most versatile, approach.

    So, thoughts? Ideas? Recommendations? Specific products? Experiences?

    Thanks!

    Tom
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    Default Re: Small (rowboat-sized) Boat Toilets?

    How about a custom built container shaped to fit the bottom and a bag of sawdust or hydrated lime? Can you drop a bucket down thru a cutout anywhere? There are chemicals available to keep the odor down.

    What do you do if there are people nearby, wrap yourself in a tarp? If so planning ahead and sewing up a big poncho might help. Make it hooded and waterproof for when it's raining.

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    Default Re: Small (rowboat-sized) Boat Toilets?

    I used a 5 gal bucket with a Luggable Loo seat combined with WAG bags to do portions of the Maine Island Trail in a large triple kayak. Since the bags handled the business end of things, the bucket was perfectly clean and available to handle storage for other bulky camp items when in transit. Using bags, while a disagreeable nuisance, is the responsible way to handle nature's call in a lot of places.
    Last edited by Dusty Yevsky; 02-15-2021 at 03:53 PM.

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    Default Re: Small (rowboat-sized) Boat Toilets?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gib Etheridge View Post
    How about a custom built container shaped to fit the bottom and a bag of sawdust or hydrated lime? Can you drop a bucket down thru a cutout anywhere? There are chemicals available to keep the odor down.

    What do you do if there are people nearby, wrap yourself in a tarp? If so planning ahead and sewing up a big poncho might help. Make it hooded and waterproof for when it's raining.
    Gib,

    that's an interesting idea on the cut-out. I'm less fond of the idea of a custom container, as I don't have a lot of space available that isn't already spoken for. But might be possible to arrange a bucket cut-out in the bow "deck" of my boat:

    DSCN2635.jpg

    A bit tricky to access without unstepping the mast. And probably more difficult than just setting up a set of level floorboards in the forward bay--I could use the 3rd and 4th filler planks for my sleeping platform, and solve the storage issue at the same time. But then, that's where all the gear gets stowed, so it might be hard to use the bucket without unstrapping bags and moving them.

    Maybe some kind of stable footing for a bucket in the aft cockpit could be arranged--that would be far more convenient in many ways, as that area is kept clear even with the sleeping platform in place:

    DSCN3107.jpg

    Or maybe just shift my packing routine a bit to allow enough space to keep a head bucket upright between the dry bags up front:

    DSCN2541.jpg

    That might be such a tight fit that you'd have trouble actually sitting on the bucket to use it, though.

    The boat's in winter storage at the moment, no access to try anything out. But I appreciate the suggestions.

    Tom
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Small (rowboat-sized) Boat Toilets?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dusty Yevsky View Post
    I used a 5 gal bucket with a Luggable Loo seat combined with WAG bags to do portions of the Maine Island Trail in a large triple kayak. Since the bags handled the business end of things, the bucket was perfectly clean and available to handle storage for other bulky camp items when in transit. Using bags, while a disagreeable nuisance, is the responsible way to handle nature's call in a lot of places.
    Yes, I think bags make a lot of sense--easy disposal, clean bucket, etc. How was the odor with the bags on your trip?

    Tom
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    Default Re: Small (rowboat-sized) Boat Toilets?

    I've done the bucket with seat and WAG bags for 10 years, except use a 3 gal bucket which is plenty of capacity and fits inside the boat better. Duckworks now sells a complete kit for that: https://duckworks.com/small-boat-head-system/
    The bags go into a sealed zip bag, no smell and apparently legal most places to dispose of in the trash.
    It does double duty as emergency bailing bucket also. I have not needed that function yet, but it is available.

    -Rick

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    Default Re: Small (rowboat-sized) Boat Toilets?

    I eat more meat when out...make em sink.

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    You can build your own bucket, with plans and advice from fellow Forumite, Jay Greer!

    http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...-bucket-bottom

    Traditional looks; you can still use it with the bags.







    Kevin




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    Default Re: Small (rowboat-sized) Boat Toilets?

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    Yes, I think bags make a lot of sense--easy disposal, clean bucket, etc. How was the odor with the bags on your trip?

    Tom
    I can't remember the brand but there was no odor at all. I got them from the late, great Old Quarry campground store.

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    Default Re: Small (rowboat-sized) Boat Toilets?

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    You can build your own bucket, with plans and advice from fellow Forumite, Jay Greer!

    http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...-bucket-bottom

    Traditional looks; you can still use it with the bags.







    Kevin




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Wow. When everything else on my boat is tweaked to perfection it's good to know I should still make a loo like this....

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    Default Re: Small (rowboat-sized) Boat Toilets?

    I was going to suggest, and I will probably get the duckworks bucket.
    I guess sawdust takes care of the poop smell. Stored urine is what really smells nasty.
    Guys of course can just pee elsewhere.

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    Default Re: Small (rowboat-sized) Boat Toilets?

    That Duckworks bucket system is pretty slick and going to be hard to beat in terms of simplicity for occasional use on short trips. Of course, you still need to figure out the privacy/discretion aspect but maybe you already have a cockpit tent or forward spray hood in mind. A small floorboard platform just aft of your mainmast seems like the logical place, obviously this is something you want to be secure. If it were me I'd fit a plywood box seat over it so no one suspects what it is. ;-)
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    Default Re: Small (rowboat-sized) Boat Toilets?

    A cutout in the 3rd thwart back, the one just forward of the cockpit, would be accessible even with the bunk in place. Might require a custom shape but that would be simple with filleted and glassed 1/4" ply. The cover might be a challenge.

    Perhaps you could cut the bottom out of a 3 gallon bucket, on an angle if necessary, and replace it with caulked and screwed in ply. Some buckets have screw on tops.

    It doesn't look like there's enough width for a standard bucket, or a standard sized seat for that matter. Might have to be free standing.

    How about the stern seat? Maybe raised enough higher to allow for a bucket thru a cutout. The lip of the bucket could be the support, then screw the cover on and drop a cushion rabbetted out for the cover over the whole thing.

    Writing as I think out loud here. How about the cushion has a cut out the same shape as a standard toilet seat with a filler cushion shaped to fit, or something like that? Once again the cover is the hard part.

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    Default Re: Small (rowboat-sized) Boat Toilets?

    I have a flip up hatch top with a 3 gallon bucket under it. We found that a basic plastic "poncho" drapes around the person and leaves their arms under the plastic to deal with garments and butt-wipe and lessens the social awkwardness. I have never had to store the result for a long time. so I leave that to others

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    Default Re: Small (rowboat-sized) Boat Toilets?

    Is it the case that a screw on leak proof cover is necessary due to heeling?

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    Default Re: Small (rowboat-sized) Boat Toilets?

    Quote Originally Posted by timo4352 View Post
    I was going to suggest, and I will probably get the duckworks bucket.
    I guess sawdust takes care of the poop smell. Stored urine is what really smells nasty.
    Guys of course can just pee elsewhere.
    Yep. "Separation of functions" is what they call it on river trips. It's best not to pee in the poop bucket. Easy enough for guys.

    Any experience with effective deodorizing systems would be welcome on this thread!

    Tom
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    Default Re: Small (rowboat-sized) Boat Toilets?

    Quote Originally Posted by cluttonfred View Post
    That Duckworks bucket system is pretty slick and going to be hard to beat in terms of simplicity for occasional use on short trips. Of course, you still need to figure out the privacy/discretion aspect but maybe you already have a cockpit tent or forward spray hood in mind. A small floorboard platform just aft of your mainmast seems like the logical place, obviously this is something you want to be secure. If it were me I'd fit a plywood box seat over it so no one suspects what it is. ;-)
    Good thoughts here. On the privacy issue, I cruise alone. And honestly, I can't remember the last time I shared an anchorage with another boat. Well, yes, I guess I can. There was one night (out of 28) on my 2014 Georgian Bay trip where there were boats in sight, kind of, at my last anchorage. So this may be less of an issue for me than for many. A poncho or something similar would work.

    The platform aft of the mast--yes, that's a logical location. But it's also my primary cargo area, and is also not available when the sleeping platform is set up.

    Tom
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    Default Re: Small (rowboat-sized) Boat Toilets?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gib Etheridge View Post
    A cutout in the 3rd thwart back, the one just forward of the cockpit, would be accessible even with the bunk in place. Might require a custom shape but that would be simple with filleted and glassed 1/4" ply. The cover might be a challenge.

    Perhaps you could cut the bottom out of a 3 gallon bucket, on an angle if necessary, and replace it with caulked and screwed in ply. Some buckets have screw on tops.

    It doesn't look like there's enough width for a standard bucket, or a standard sized seat for that matter. Might have to be free standing.

    How about the stern seat? Maybe raised enough higher to allow for a bucket thru a cutout. The lip of the bucket could be the support, then screw the cover on and drop a cushion rabbetted out for the cover over the whole thing.

    Writing as I think out loud here. How about the cushion has a cut out the same shape as a standard toilet seat with a filler cushion shaped to fit, or something like that? Once again the cover is the hard part.
    I think, if the toilet is using a disposable bag, then a cut-out in the rear thwart might work. Maybe. It would need some kind of watertight lid, though, to maintain the sealed volume for buoyancy. I suppose, done right, a toilet seat might be able to overlap the thwart and still be ok, as long as the bag is catching everything.

    But then, you still need a place to stow the bucket. So perhaps not really an improvement over just finding a place to set the bucket in the aft cockpit--making a little level platform there might not be too difficult.

    I don't anticipate using the head while sailing. So, even setting 2 of the platform filler planks athwartships over the keelson in that aft cockpit might be all I need to do. Might not even need cleats or anything. It would take a couple of minutes to deploy, but for my uses, I think that could be tolerable.

    Edit to add: It might even be possible to simply use one of my blue square cushions as a base for the bucket. Set the cushion on the keelson, and the bucket on the cushion. That would win in terms of simplicity--use the Duckworks bucket, maybe, and disposable deodorized bags? I'll definitely give that a look in a month or so when I pull the boat out of storage.

    Tom
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 02-15-2021 at 06:52 PM.
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    Default Re: Small (rowboat-sized) Boat Toilets?

    Another option might be a "rocket box" type container instead of a bucket. That might set up neatly on the keelson, aligned fore and aft, and be more stable than a bucket.

    https://boc123.com/Store/BOC_store.c...oilet%20System

    Whatever the container is, I am definitely leaning toward disposable bags for waste, rather than storing waste directly in the container with sawdust or kitty litter. Thoughts about that, anyone? At this point, every option is on the table.

    Tom
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    Default Re: Small (rowboat-sized) Boat Toilets?

    Wag bags involve the step of removing the bag from the bucket, squeezing out most of the air (without ejecting any of the contents), then putting the bag into the zip bag and closing it. For the sawdust, just close the lid. The Wags also cost more. I still use the Wags, once zipped no smell no tipping...

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    Default Re: Small (rowboat-sized) Boat Toilets?

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    Another option might be a "rocket box" type container instead of a bucket. That might set up neatly on the keelson, aligned fore and aft, and be more stable than a bucket.

    https://boc123.com/Store/BOC_store.c...oilet%20System

    Whatever the container is, I am definitely leaning toward disposable bags for waste, rather than storing waste directly in the container with sawdust or kitty litter. Thoughts about that, anyone? At this point, every option is on the table.

    Tom
    I would still use a bag in the bucket first....add sawdust...poop... close up bag for disposal.
    No bucket cleaning required...yuck

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    Default Re: Small (rowboat-sized) Boat Toilets?

    I can easily imagine going 20-30 days without a way to empty a bucket in an approved or safe way, so bags seem to make more sense. But I am skeptical about odor control for a 3-4 week trip without options to offload very often.

    Tom
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    Default Re: Small (rowboat-sized) Boat Toilets?

    What about a variation on the ammo box system described above. On river trips of an extended nature governmental agencies require and so does having a good conscience require that rafters remove their solid waste. For many years a 25 mm "rocket box" (see picture https://riverbent.com/picking-the-best-river-toilet/) I am not suggesting that size ammo can but rather the smaller .50 cal box. (Google is your friend). Much smaller in size, I am guessing 6" x 8" x 10" in size. They come with strong, latching lids to keep the contents dry. The 20 mm size box has been used for decades on many, many river trips. The smaller size might just fit in it's own dedicated slot in the stern section of the boat. On the 20 mm boxes it is easy to carry along a toilet seat to perch on. Perhaps a combination of the metal ammo can and Jay Greer's wooden seat would work. There are numerous suggestions online for powders to mix with the waste contents. Som folks suggest powdered Tide or similar. With a Wag Bag it would seem to be a good system.

    Drift Boat Rick

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    Default Re: Small (rowboat-sized) Boat Toilets?

    What about a variation on the ammo box system described above. On river trips of an extended nature governmental agencies require and so does having a good conscience require that rafters remove their solid waste. For many years a 25 mm "rocket box" (see picture https://riverbent.com/picking-the-best-river-toilet/) I am not suggesting that size ammo can but rather the smaller .50 cal box. (Google is your friend). Much smaller in size, I am guessing 6" x 8" x 10" in size. They come with strong, latching lids to keep the contents dry. The 25 mm size box has been used for decades on many, many river trips. The smaller size might just fit in it's own dedicated slot in the stern section of the boat. On the 25 mm boxes it is easy to carry along a toilet seat to perch on. Perhaps a combination of the metal ammo can and Jay Greer's wooden seat would work. There are numerous suggestions online for powders to mix with the waste contents. Som folks suggest powdered Tide or similar. With a Wag Bag it would seem to be a good system.

    Drift Boat Rick

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    Default Re: Small (rowboat-sized) Boat Toilets?

    Tom, Roy Schreyer had a composting head on Di Anne's Rose

    they used a combination of peat moss and saw dust 50/50 for the solid waste and her liquid while his liquid waste IIRC went into a bottle

    they used the boat as their camper when they came to Texas for the Port Aransas WoodenBoat Festival

    i boarder her and stuck my head behind the curtain detecteing NO ODOR

    goto Roy's interwebsite to read more about it

    https://www.roydesignedthat.com

    i used the same mixture and HD kitchen garbage bags in a bucket on Wendy for the Texas 200 w/ no odor issues

    the 3.5gal and 5gal buckets have the same sized top and accept the screw on/waterproof lids made by Gamma Seal

    the lids can be found at many big box stores and all over the interweb for <$10ea

    the bridal unit saves plastique bell bottom shaped laundry detergent bottles for me for liquid waste

    i like the big ones w/ wide bottoms that had fragrant laundry cleaning agents because the fragrance gets imbedded in the plastic and simple rinsing after emptying keeps the bottles fresh smelling

    remove the pour spout for easy access

    that 2-part wooden seat above sure looks handy and as comfortable as anything of that size and that portable

    just make sure to sand n seal it well prior to use ;-)

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    Default Re: Small (rowboat-sized) Boat Toilets?

    I switched to the wag bags (Reliance "Luggable Loo" bucket and bags) with my current boat and find it all around the most straightforward, lowest maintenance way to go (yuk yuk). And I've had the other options on other boats. I didn't see the Duckworks product when I was shopping, would probably would have gone with it if I had. One advantage of the tall Reliance bucket is that there's room to store quite a few sealed bags in the bottom. Have not had any odor issues - they actually use two bags to seal it up. The negative is the bags, which contain a small amount of white absorbent powder, are pricey.
    -Dave

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    Default Re: Small (rowboat-sized) Boat Toilets?

    But I am skeptical about odor control for a 3-4 week trip without options to offload very often.
    On your Maine trip, or most coastal trips of the duration you propose, you'll need to stop for water, which means a marina or town. Buy water, find dumpster, take a hot shower, cruise on.

    Kevin
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    Default Re: Small (rowboat-sized) Boat Toilets?

    Plastic bucket with a seal-able lid, bag of sawdust. At the end of the cruise take it home and tip it into a compost bin. 6 months or so later dig it into a garden and grow great tomatoes.
    be modest, and be proud of it.

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    Default Re: Small (rowboat-sized) Boat Toilets?

    Restop 2 bags, a bucket, and a thwart.

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    Default Re: Small (rowboat-sized) Boat Toilets?

    The Duckworks bucket is nice, the top is good but the tray to hold kit isn't much use. I found that it fit just along side my trunk under the seat, but you'll need to check. I have a seat but don't use it having trained my bum to endure paint. I found a couple of sealable round tupperware containers that fit into the bucket; I think they are made fdor pie. Fill one up with bags then fill the other. Enough stowage for a week or more, and you will be coming ashore to get water. Keep your tp etc in a waterproof container ( I use the big Folger coffee containers.)
    Ben Fuller
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    Default Re: Small (rowboat-sized) Boat Toilets?

    They make a portable car toilet for toddlers, it is small.
    Available in different colors... https://alexnld.com/product/children...ounted-yellow/
    D1892ECF-7B7D-477E-9261-B41F4C3D3EDD.jpg

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    Default Re: Small (rowboat-sized) Boat Toilets?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Fuller View Post
    The Duckworks bucket is nice, the top is good but the tray to hold kit isn't much use. I found that it fit just along side my trunk under the seat, but you'll need to check. I have a seat but don't use it having trained my bum to endure paint. I found a couple of sealable round tupperware containers that fit into the bucket; I think they are made fdor pie. Fill one up with bags then fill the other. Enough stowage for a week or more, and you will be coming ashore to get water. Keep your tp etc in a waterproof container ( I use the big Folger coffee containers.)
    Ben,

    that confirms my thoughts on the Duckworks kit. The approach you describe is probably what I'll try, as long as I can find a convenient and stable place to put the bucket while using it. That way the only complication for me will be finding a place to stow the bucket, and I doubt that will be impossible.

    Tom
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    Default Re: Small (rowboat-sized) Boat Toilets?

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    They make a portable car toilet for toddlers, it is small.
    Available in different colors... https://alexnld.com/product/children...ounted-yellow/
    D1892ECF-7B7D-477E-9261-B41F4C3D3EDD.jpg


    Heck, my cats get a bigger litterbox than that. Two of them, actually (though admittedly not as brightly colored).

    Tom
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    Default Re: Small (rowboat-sized) Boat Toilets?

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    Ben,

    that confirms my thoughts on the Duckworks kit. The approach you describe is probably what I'll try, as long as I can find a convenient and stable place to put the bucket while using it. That way the only complication for me will be finding a place to stow the bucket, and I doubt that will be impossible.

    Tom
    Bucket is bottom diameter is 10 1/4, top with the padded cover is 12 1/4 and the height is 11 1/2. I didn't find the base useful, too much space and the seat is removeable and pretty flat so easy to stow. I found that it was just under my seat height, and ideally it might fit under your sleeping platform, but I think it will fit up forward, then move aft to use. If you need a stable platform aft, just put it on top of a throw cushion.
    Ben Fuller
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    Default Re: Small (rowboat-sized) Boat Toilets?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Fuller View Post
    Bucket is bottom diameter is 10 1/4, top with the padded cover is 12 1/4 and the height is 11 1/2. I didn't find the base useful, too much space and the seat is removeable and pretty flat so easy to stow. I found that it was just under my seat height, and ideally it might fit under your sleeping platform, but I think it will fit up forward, then move aft to use. If you need a stable platform aft, just put it on top of a throw cushion.
    Ben,

    thanks--exactly what I was thinking. I believe the sleeping platform is 12" above the keelson, so the bucket may store there if I need it to. But I think forward is a likelier place for it. I appreciate knowing the dimensions; I think that should mean I can set my blue cushion on the keelson just forward of the sternsheets, and put the bucket on the cushion during use.

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

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