Title:
CRADLE DEVICE FOR A LIFE RAFT OR LIKE DINGHY
United States Patent 3593355


Abstract:
A device for storing and launching a life raft or similar device, the device having supporting means in which a raft-supporting cradle is rotatively mounted, a chute down which the raft moves when discharged by the tilting movement of the cradle, the chute including an inboard portion rigidly secured to the cradle, and an outboard portion dependent from hinge means located at the upper end of the inboard portion. A rigid link member has one end pivotally connected to the supporting means and its opposite end connected to the outboard portion, the arrangement of the inboard and outboard portions and the link member being such that when the cradle is moved from a storage position to a discharge position, the outboard portion is pivoted outwardly until the discharge position is reached at which time the inboard and outboard portions are longitudinally aligned and form the chute down which the life raft, removed from the cradle, freely descends.



Inventors:
HUSBAND RICHARD EDWARD
Application Number:
04/820819
Publication Date:
07/20/1971
Filing Date:
05/01/1969
Assignee:
HUSBAND'S SHIPYARDS LTD.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B63C9/22; (IPC1-7): B63B23/28
Field of Search:
9/30,31,41
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3387811Liferaft cradle1968-06-11Adams, Jr.
1271237N/A1918-07-02Storie



Foreign References:
GB752676A1956-07-11
GB853060A1960-11-02
GB853657A1960-11-09
Primary Examiner:
Buchler, Milton
Assistant Examiner:
Weinrieb, Steven W.
Claims:
What I claim is

1. A cradle device for storing and discharging a life raft or like article, comprising a fixed support, a cradle in which a life raft or the like to be discharged is stored, said cradle being pivotally mounted at its ends on the fixed support, chute means mounted on the cradle, quick release means to retain said cradle and the chute means in a storage position, said chute means comprising an inboard portion rigidly secured to the cradle and extending upwardly at the outboard side thereof; hinge means located at the upper end of said inboard portion, an outboard portion dependent from said hinge means and caused to lie alongside the outboard side of the inboard portion, and a rigid link member pivotally connected at one end to said fixed support and pivotally connected at its other end to said outboard portion, the shape and length of the link member and the location of its pivotal connections being such that as the cradle is released from the storage position and is rotated into a discharge position, the link member causes the outboard portion to pivot outwardly about the hinge means as said inboard portion is swung downwardly by the cradle, until the discharge position of the cradle is reached wherein the inboard and outboard portions are longitudinally aligned to form a chute down which the life raft or the like descends freely from the cradle.

2. In a water vessel, a cradle device as set forth in claim 1, wherein the cradle device is mounted on an inboard boat deck structure, the chute extending, in the discharge position, outwardly beyond an outboard portion, such as a handrail of said vessel.

3. A cradle device according to claim 1, wherein retaining means is mounted on the fixed support and is engageable with the cradle to hold the cradle and the chute in the discharge position.

4. A cradle device according to claim 3, wherein the inboard portion of the chute means comprises a pair of elongate members having curved extensions which form part of the cradle, and wherein the cradle is of semicylindrical form.

5. In a water vessel, a cradle device according to claim 3, wherein the cradle device is mounted on an inboard boat deck structure, said chute extending, in the discharge position, outwardly beyond an outboard portion, such as a handrail of said vessel.

6. A cradle device for storing and discharging a life raft or the like, comprising a fixed support, a cradle in which a life raft or the like to be discharged is stored, clamping means mounted on the ends of the cradle to adjustably and, pivotally support said cradle on the fixed support so that said cradle tends to assume a discharge position, chute means mounted on the cradle, and quick release means to retain said cradle and chute means in a storage position; said chute means comprising an inboard portion rigidly secured to the cradle and extending upwardly at the outboard side thereof, hinge means mounted at the upper end of said inboard portion, an outboard portion dependent from the hinge means and caused to lie alongside of the outboard side of the inboard portion and extending to a point below said cradle and said outboard portion, and a rigid link member pivotally connected at one end to said fixed support and pivotally connected at its other end to said outboard portion; the shape and length of the link member and the positions of its pivotal connections being such that as the cradle is released from the storage position and is rotated into a discharge position, the link member causes the outboard portion to pivot outwardly about the hinge means as said inboard portion is swung downwardly by the cradle until the discharge position is reached wherein the inboard and outboard portions are longitudinally aligned to form a chute down which the life raft or the like can descend freely from the cradle.

7. A cradle device according to claim 6, wherein the life raft consists of a self-inflating rubber dinghy having a ripcord which is secured to the cradle device so as to initiate inflation of the dinghy when the dinghy has passed down the chute.

8. In a water vessel, a cradle device as set forth in claim 6, wherein said cradle device is mounted on an inboard boat deck structure, and chute extending, in the discharge position, outwardly beyond an outboard portion, such as a handrail, of said vessel.

Description:
This invention concerns a cradle device, for a life raft or like dinghy, and an object thereof is to provide an improved form of cradle device in order to facilitate the launching of a life raft or dinghy.

Accordingly, the present invention provides a cradle device, for a life raft or like dinghy, comprising a static support which pivotally carries a cradle, and a chute arrangement having an inboard portion which is fixedly carried by the cradle and is pivotally connected to an outboard portion, there being a link member which is pivotally connected to a static member and is pivotally connected to the outboard portion, so that, in use, the cradle may be pivoted from a storage position, wherein the chute arrangement is folded so that the inboard and outboard portions extend upwardly adjacent each other, to a discharge position, wherein the cradle is partially inverted and the chute arrangement is extended so that the inboard and outboard portions are substantially longitudinally aligned to form a chute which is inclined downwardly from the cradle.

The cradle device is preferably provided with quick release means which is adapted to retain a life raft or like dinghy in the cradle and is adapted to retain the cradle in the storage position.

The cradle itself is preferably so pivoted so as to tend to assume the discharge position automatically upon the quick release means being actuated, to enable a life raft or like dinghy to move down the chute.

The invention will be described further, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 shows a cradle device of the invention in end elevation;

FIG. 2 shows the cradle device of FIG. 1 in front elevation; and

FIG. 3 shows the cradle device of the invention in plan.

As shown in the drawings the cradle device comprises a static support 10, a cradle 11, a chute arrangement 12, a link member 13, and a static member 14.

The static support comprises a pair of spaced-apart parallel uprights 15, provided with web members 16 at their lower ends to serve as feet in order that the uprights may be firmly secured to the deck or like structure 17 of a ship or boat. At their upper ends the uprights 15 support plates 18 which plates are provided with bearings (not shown) to pivotally support the cradle 11.

The support plates 18 each have an upwardly directed extension 18a to which a handle 18b is pivotally secured, each handle 18b having a recess 18c and a stop member (not shown) which limits the rotation of the handle.

The cradle 11 is of semicylindrical form and comprises a perimeter frame 19 of metal strip which is arranged to provide three transverse members 20 which are connected together at their ends by T-shaped members 21 which serve as ends for the cradle 11. A crossmember 21a (see FIG. 3) of each T-shaped member is provided with a longitudinal slots whereby to slidably accommodate a pair of bolts 21b to clampingly adjustably secure a mounting plate 21c to the T-shaped member 21. Each mounting plate 21c carries a spigot 22 which is socketed into the respective pivot 18. Each mounting plate also carries a T-bracket 22a. The T-brackets and the handles 18b together serve as a retaining mechanism as hereinafter described.

The chute arrangement 12 comprises an inboard portion 23 which comprises a pair of elongate members 24, and an outboard portion 25 which likewise comprises a pair of elongate members 26. As shown in FIG. 1 the adjacent ends of the elongate members 24, 26 are provided with hinge parts 27 so as to secure together the inboard and outboard portions 23, 25.

The inboard portion 23 is rendered integral with the cradle 11 as the elongate members 24 are provided with extensions 28 of semicircular form which are secured to the transverse members 20.

The elongate members 26 of the outboard portion are secured together by a transverse member 29 to which an outboard end of the link member 13 is pivotally secured. The other end of the link member 13 is pivotally secured to the static member 14 which comprises a pair of upstanding plates 30 mounted on the deck structure 17.

The static member 14 also serves as a mounting for a quick release means 31 which comprises a pivotally mounted lever 32 arranged to actuate a catch device 33 so as to release a retaining strap arrangement 34.

As shown in FIG. 2 (wherein the link member 13 is cut away) the strap arrangement 34 is secured to that transverse member 20 which is adjacent the chute arrangement 12, and then passes over a life raft 35, mounted in the cradle, before descending to join a cable 34a which is provided with a ring 34b to engage the catch device 33.

The life raft 35 (shown in broken lines) is housed in a two-part drum-shaped casing 36, and is of the self-inflating rubber dinghy type. The life raft is provided with a ripcord (not shown) which is secured to an anchorage on the cradle device or on the boat itself so as to cause the life raft to inflate upon the life raft being fully discharged from the cradle device.

In use, when it is desired to launch the life raft, it is merely necessary to actuate the quick release means by depressing the lever 32 so as to disengage the strap arrangement from the catch device 33.

Thereafter, depending upon the attitude of the ship in the water and the balance of the cradle and chute arrangement with respect to the pivotal mounting thereof upon the static support, it may or may not be necessary to impart a slight manual upward thrust to the cradle in order to move it from the storage position, shown in FIG. 1 in full lines, to the discharge position shown in broken lines. However, in the particular arrangement of the cradle device having adjustable mounting plates as shown in the drawings, the positioning of the bearing spigots 22 may be adjusted, preferably when the ship is on a level keel, such that the cradle will tend to assume the discharge position automatically upon the quick release means being actuated.

From the drawings it will be appreciated that in the storage position the chute arrangement is folded so that the inboard and outboard portions extend upwardly adjacent each other, and that as the cradle is pivoted the link member 13 will cause the outboard portion to pivot about the hinge parts 27 until it is substantially in longitudinal alignment with the inboard portion to form a chute which is downwardly inclined from the cradle, which latter, in the discharge position, is partially inverted to discharge the life raft down the chute, as shown in broken lines in FIG. 1.

As the cradle is pivoted, each T-bracket 22a traverses the under edge of the respective handle 18b which is thereby lifted and partially rotated, until, at the discharge position, one limb of the T-bracket enters the recess 18c whereupon the handle drops to retain the cradle in the discharge position. The stops prevent the handles being rotated beyond a predetermined limit to ensure that the retaining mechanism functions correctly. Both handles have to be lifted to release the cradle before it can be restored to the storage position.

It will be appreciated that the lengths of the elongate members 24 and 26 may be selected to suit the particular installation requirements, e.g., to enable a lower deck handrail 38 to be cleared by the life raft, as shown diagrammatically in FIG. 1.

Experimental trials have shown that the cradle device described enables a life raft or like dinghy to be launched in a most expeditious manner, and furthermore the life raft can be launched when the ship is listing to any degree up to that degree of list which causes the extended chute to slope upwardly away from the cradle, as, with the correct design and lengths of elongate member 24, 26, the life raft will be discharged clear of projecting handrails and the like and will thereafter be free to slide down the side of the ship.

The invention is not confined to the precise details of the foregoing example and many variations are possible with the scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims. For example, the cradle, retaining mechanism, static support, chute arrangement, and link member may be made of any suitable materials, e.g., mild steel, and given any suitable form of protective treatment, e.g., galvanizing. The actual shape and size of the cradle may be varied to suit the particular life raft or life dinghy which it is required to be able to launch, and such cradle may be mounted upon any suitable static support, e.g., a pair of cantilever lever arms.

Any suitable means may be provided to retain the cradle in the storage position and to retain the life raft in the cradle, if required, but it is preferred to provide a quick release means which is adapted to serve both functions.

The static member may be mounted on or constituted by part of the static support, and the like member may comprise a pair of arms each secured pivotally to a respective one of the elongate members 26 and to a respective static member.

In an installation upon a ship or boat, wherein several of the cradle devices are provided, the quick release means may be ganged so as to permit simultaneous launching of the life rafts, and the quick release means may be arranged for remote or direct actuation. Furthermore, a linkage arrangement may be provided so that manual or mechanically derived thrust may be applied to the cradle or cradles to initiate, cause or control the movement of the cradle or cradles from the storage position to the discharge position.

Where a large life raft or like dinghy is to be discharged, the chute arrangement may comprise a multiplicity of elongate members arranged to form a chute which will provide suitable support for a rolling or sliding discharge of the life raft.

The cradles can also be installed over bow or stern of a vessel.

In some vessels, the cradle with its support structure can be mounted on a turntable so that the cradle can be swung round to discharge the raft over either side or stern of the vessel as dictated by the sea, wind and rescue conditions.