Title:
Arrangement at a buoy
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A buoy (1) especially intended for picking up casualties at sea is equipped with a basket-like structure (2, 3) arranged unfoldably on the buoy (1). Which structure may be unfolded from a folded position proximal to the buoy (1) when the casualty/casualties tip(s) over into or is/are carried into the buoy (1). The basket structure may comprise a perforated base part (2) and a net (3) extending between the base part (2) and the buoy (1).



Inventors:
Hystad, Ann Helen (Kopervik, NO)
Application Number:
10/297123
Publication Date:
12/25/2003
Filing Date:
06/16/2003
Assignee:
HYSTAD ANN HELEN
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
441/87
International Classes:
B63C9/04; B63C9/06; (IPC1-7): B63B22/18
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BASINGER, SHERMAN D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Andrus Sceales Starke & Sawall (Suite 1100, Milwaukee, WI, 53202-4178, US)
Claims:
3. (amended) An arrangement according to claim 1, characterized in that the fixing elements are in the form of evenly spaced projecting hooks (6) adapted to grip a ring-shaped peripheral portion (11) of the base part (2). Please add the following claim:

4. (new) An arrangement according to claim 2, characterized in that the fixing elements are in the form of evenly spaced projecting hooks (6) adapted to grip a ring-shaped peripheral portion (11) of the base part (2).

Description:
[0001] The present invention regards an arrangement at a buoy, intended especially for picking up casualties at sea.

[0002] When rescuing casualties at sea, it is currently the practice to use a buoy that is thrown out from e.g. a vessel. Then the casualty/casualties can bold on to the buoy until a light boat has been launched in order to pick the person(s) concerned up in the light boat. A significant disadvantage of such buoys however, is that if the wave height is too great, the light boat can not be launched without putting the lives of the rescue personnel at considerable risk and risking destruction of the actual light boat. Also, large waves will necessarily mean that the time required to manoeuvre the light boat up to the buoy will be considerably longer. Thus the latter fact will increase the danger of the casualty/casualties, in the case of loss of consciousness, losing their grip on the buoy, or at the worst perishing due to the low sea temperature before the light boat manages to came to the rescue. Moreover, casualties who are already unconscious before the buoy is thrown to sea, will in all probability only be rescuable to a certain degre.

[0003] It is an object of the present invention to provide a buoy that allows the casualty/casualties to be picked up and brought directly onboard the vessel proper without the use of a light boat, so that the rescue of the person concerned is not affected by the wave height to any great extent during the rescue mission. Another object of the present invention is to provide a buoy of such a nature that the casualty/casualties will, even in the case of loss of consciousness, remain in the buoy both when the person is at sea and is picked up to be brought onboard the vessel. A further object of the present invention is to provide a buoy that, when stored and when being thrown out, has dimensions and a weight that are not significantly greater than those of known buoys.

[0004] These and any other, unspecified objects are realised by means of the present invention, which according to the independent claim 1 is characterized by a basket-like structure that is arranged unfoldably on the buoy, and which may be unfolded from a folded position proximal to the buoy when the casualty/casualties tip over into or are carried into the buoy. The basket structure may comprise a base part, preferably perforated, and a not, assembly of straps or similar extending between the base part and the buoy. Further, the base part may be fixed to the buoy in a releasable manner. Such releasable fixing of the base part can be effected by means of breakable fixing means, or alternatively by at least one peripheral portion of the base part being mixed in a groove formed in the buoy.

[0005] In the following, an account of the invention will be given by means of preferred embodiments shown in the appended drawings, in which:

[0006] FIG. 1 shows a side view of the present buoy, which has a central opening, where the buoy is provided with a basket-like structure that is arranged to be unfoldable and comprises a lower, perforated base part and a net between the base part and the buoy, and which may be brought to an unfolded position underneath the buoy when a casualty at sea (not shown) tips into or is carried into the buoy;

[0007] FIG. 2 shows a side view of the present buoy, where the basket structure is in an initial, folded position proximal to the buoy;

[0008] FIG. 3 shows a vertical longitudinal section through a portion of the present buoy, where the basket structure is in the process of unfolding from the initial position following the breaking of the fixing leans, which prior to unfolding kept the basket structure in the initial position;

[0009] FIG. 4 shows a vertical longitudinal section through a portion of the present buoy, where the basket structure is fixed in the initial position by the breakable fixing means;

[0010] FIG. 5 shows a side view of an alternative embodiment of the present buoy, where the buoy and the base part have a quadrangular shape, and where the buoy is designed with a groove for fixing at least one peripheral portion of the base part when the basket structure is in the initial position;

[0011] FIG. 6 shows a side view of the alt rnativ buoy, wher the basket structure is in th initial position; and

[0012] FIG. 7 shows a perspective view of the present buoy equipped with lifting straps to allow the buoy to be connected to a hoist onboard a vessel, where the basket structure is in the unfolded position by a casualty who has entered the buoy, and where the buoy is being hoisted together with the casualty by means of the hoist.

[0013] The present invention comprises a buoy equipped with an unfoldable basket-like structure, and is particularly suitable for picking up casualties at sea. It would however b perfectly possible to use the invention in other connections, e.g. for getting casualties down from a mountain by use of helicopter. In such cases, the role of the buoy will be to prevent the casualty from being injured in the case of impacts against the rock face. The buoy and the basket structure have dimensions that allow one or more casualties to be picked up at the same time. When in storage and when being transported to an accident site, the basket structure is in a releasable initial position proximal to the buoy. The basket structure will unfold from this initial position by means of the weight of the casualty when the person concerned tips over into or is carried into a central opening in the buoy.

[0014] Th buoy 1 must be provided with sufficient buoyancy to keep the casualty/casualties afloat by the surface of the sea, and may have any outer contour suitable for the purpose, e.g. circular or quadrangular as shown in FIGS. 1 and 4. Mor over, the buoy 1 is provided with a central opening in the normal manner, to enable conscious casualties to tip themselves int r unconsci us asualties to be carri d into the c ntral opening of the buoy 1, thus unfolding the basket structure. In order to allow the buoy 1 t be picked up with the casualty/casualties placed in the basket structure, the buoy 1, as shown in FIG. 7, is equipped with lifting straps 7 that may also be connected to the basket structure in a suitable manner (not shown).

[0015] The basket structure is unfoldably arranged on the buoy 1 and, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 4, comprises a base part 2, 4 and preferably a net 3, 5 that extends between and is connected to the base part 2, 4 and the buoy 1. In the initial position, the base part 2 is, as seen most clearly in FIG. 4, releasably fixed by means of a suitable number of breakable fixing means 6 that grip a ring-shaped peripheral portion 11 of the base part 2. Further, the net 3 is stored inside a recess 12 formed in the buoy 1. Alternatively, the base part 4 may as shown by FIG. 6 be fixed releasably in the initial position in such a way that at least one portion of the outer contour of the base part 4 is inserted into and fixed by a corresponding groove (not shown) formed in the buoy 1.

[0016] As has been mentioned already, the unfolding of the basket structure takes place from the initial position when the casualty tips over into or is carried into the basket structure through the central opening of the buoy 1, so that the weight of the person concerned will push the base part 2, 4 down relative to the buoy 1. In order to avoid the surrounding mass of water preventing or delaying the unfolding of the basket structure, the base part 2, 4 is perforated by a suitable number of holes 10, alternatively by slats or similar (not shown). The base part 2, 4 may alternatively be formed by a net. It will also be appreciated that the net 3, 5 shown In FIGS. 1 and 5 may b replaced by e.g. vertical straps that will prevent the casualty/casualties from accidentally being carried out of the basket structure.

[0017] Th pick-up of the casualty/casualties may as shown in FIG. 7 take place by means of a hoist 8 placed onboard a vessel 9, with the hoist being connected to the lifting straps 7 on the buoy 1 in a suitable manner. The vessel 9 shown may obviously be replaced by e.g. a helicopter or a platform. The buoy 1 with the basket structure may if desired be thrown to the sea without the lifting straps 7 being connected to the hoist, whereupon the connection of these will take place only after the casualty/casualties has/have entered the basket structure. In cases of unconscious casualties however, the most propitious thing will be for the buoy 1 to be conducted to the sea and further towards the casualty/casualties with the lifting straps 7 connected to the hoist, in order to enable the person concerned to be brought into the basket structure without own contribution. In order to facilitate the pick-up operation, the buoy 1 may he appropriately equipped (not shown) with e.g. a pull-in line, signalling equipment with lights or sound and similar.