Title:
PROTECTIVE COVER FOR A BOAT
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A boat deck cover includes a flexible, generally water impervious, non-elastic central sheet with a peripheral, elastic strip having fasteners along the outside edge thereof for attachment to compatible fasteners on the boat.



Inventors:
Boyd, William W. (Wilmette, IL, US)
Application Number:
11/682530
Publication Date:
09/11/2008
Filing Date:
03/06/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B63B17/02; B63B17/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
VENNE, DANIEL V
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BANNER & WITCOFF, LTD. (TEN SOUTH WACKER DRIVE, SUITE 3000, CHICAGO, IL, 60606, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A boat cover comprising, in combination: (a) a waterproof, flexible sheet having a circumferential edge; (b) a partial or a continuous elastic band fastened to the circumferential edge and extending outwardly from the edge, said elastic band including an outside margin; and (c) a plurality of fastener elements attached to the elastic band, each fastener element spaced one from the other about the circumferential edge and elastically moveable relative to the edge, said fastener elements positioned adjacent the outside margin whereby the sheet may be placed over the top of a boat and the fastener elements affixed to the boat by elastically deforming the band.

2. The cover of claim 1 wherein the sheet is configured generally congruently with the deck of a boat.

3. The cover of claim 1 wherein the band has a width of at least six (6) inches.

4. The cover of claim 1 wherein each fastener element comprises an element selected from the group consisting of a snap, a hook and a grommet that may be attached to a boat.

5. A universal boat cover comprising, in combination: (a) a generally waterproof inelastic cover sheet having a circumferential edge; (b) a partial or continuous elastic band attached to the circumferential edge and extending outwardly therefrom; (c) an inelastic, flexible band assembly attached to the elastic band, said band including fasteners for attachment of the outer edge of the cover to a structure.

6. A universal boat cover comprising, in combination: (a) a generally non-elastic, generally impervious central cover panel having a circumferential edge; (b) a generally elastic, circumferential band with an outside edge, said band affixed to and extending outwardly from the peripheral edge of the central cover panel; (c) a generally inelastic material attached to the outside edge of the elastic band at least at selected portions of said elastic band; and (d) fastening elements located in the inelastic material for attachment to compatible fastener elements on a boat.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In a principal aspect, the present invention relates to a boat cover and more particularly to a boat cover which protects a boat (cockpit and/or deck) from the elements including rain and the like.

Boaters often place their boat in an open area on the water or on their boat trailer. In doing so, and when the boat is not in use, it becomes appropriate and desirable to cover the deck and open top of the boat to protect it from the elements. Various means have been utilized in the past for such protection. Typically, a tarpaulin or waterproof sheet of material is placed over the top of the boat deck and retained thereon by means of bungee cords, ropes, straps, snaps and the like. Nonetheless, there has remained a need for a more easily and snugly positioned cover sheet or boat cover which can be securely and easily placed on the boat and can be easily removed from the boat.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Briefly, the present invention comprises a boat cover including an impervious or protective central sheet of flexible, waterproof material having a peripheral edge with an elastic band attached to or near that peripheral edge. Alternatively, an elastic band is positioned between a central sheet and a peripheral strip of generally inelastic material. When the elastic band is on the peripheral edge, it includes fastening elements such as grommets incorporated therein which each cooperate with catch elements such as a stud on a boat to thereby allow the central protective sheet to be more easily attached to the top or sides of the boat. When the elastic band is inside the peripheral edge, the peripheral edge may include sections or a strip which incorporates the fastening devices. The fastening devices may thus be positioned onto a compatible catch affixed to the boat by stretching the elastic band. As an alternative, elastic material which retains the fastening devices (such as grommets) may also be positioned in the elastic band which may be stretched to enable the fastening device to be positioned over a stud or the like affixed to the boat.

Various types of fastening devices may be used in combination with the generally non-elastic interior or central panel of the boat cover and the peripheral fastening arrangement. For example, grommets, key shaped openings, and twist lock fasteners may be used.

Thus, it is an object of the invention to provide a lightweight, durable, economical, generally waterproof, flexible and easily attachable boat protection cover.

Another object is to provide a boat cover that may be easily folded for storage.

Another object is to provide a boat cover that includes a generally peripheral, elastic fastening feature which insures that the cover will remain tightly attached over or on a boat deck.

These and other objects, advantages and features will be set forth in the detailed description which follows.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

In the detailed description which follows, reference will be made to the drawing comprised of the following figures:

FIG. 1 is a top plan view of an embodiment of the boat cover of the invention;

FIG. 2 is an isometric view of the boat cover of FIG. 1 depicting the manner of placement over a boat deck;

FIG. 3 is a cross sectional view of a portion of the boat cover taken along the line 3-3 in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged plan view of the section of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a top plan view of an alternative embodiment of the boat cover of the invention;

FIG. 6 is a partial side cross sectional view of the alternative embodiment of FIG. 5 taken along the line 6-6;

FIG. 7 is a partial top plan view of another embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 8 is a cross sectional view of FIG. 7 taken along the line 8-8; and

FIG. 9 is an isometric view of the embodiment of FIGS. 7 and 8.

DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

Referring to the figures, the boat cover of the invention comprises a flexible sheet 10 of waterproof material for covering the open top and/or the deck of a boat as depicted in FIG. 2. A generally rectangular or, alternatively boat deck shape, of the sheet 10 is typical. However, the sheet 10 may be configured in any desired pattern or configuration for coverage of a boat deck or cockpit. The center sheet 10 includes a peripheral edge 12 extending about the circumference of the sheet 10. Attached to the peripheral edge 12 is an elastic material band 14, extending either totally or partially around the peripheral edge 12. The band 14 may or may not have a generally uniform width defined by the dimension 16 in FIG. 1. Typically, the width 16 is greater than two inches and possibly greater than about six inches depending on the size of the sheet 10 and the boat. Although it is preferable that the band 14 has a uniform width, the width of the band 14 may be varied about the periphery thereof. For example, as depicted in FIG. 1, the width of the band 14 at one end of the sheet 10 may exceed the width of the band 14 at the opposite end or side of the sheet 10. The expanded width of the band 14 in FIG. 1 is depicted by the phantom section 18. It is noted that the phantom section 18 may also be configured or shaped or contoured as depicted in phantom lines in FIG. 1 or may comprise separate elastic portions of material attached to the sheet. The circumferential edge 12 of the sheet 10 is attached to or fixed to the band 14 by means of stitching, heat sealing or the like.

In one embodiment, arranged at various positions within and along the elastic band 14 are fastener elements 20. The fastener elements 20 (such as shaped grommets) are preferably positioned adjacent outer edge 22. If the elastic band is on the periphery as depicted in FIG. 3, the elastic band 14 includes a fastener element 20 adjacent outer edge 22. The fastening element 20 may comprise a round snap or a metal grommet 60, for example, as depicted in FIG. 6. Alternatively, a metal grommet 24 may include a keyhole shaped opening 26 which may be fitted over the head 28 of a post element 30 affixed to a boat deck 33 or boat side panel 32. In this manner, the grommet 24 will retain the sheet 10 over the boat deck. Because the band 14 is elastic, it can adjust for dimensional variances in the location of post elements and for changes in the sheet 10 due to sun and rain. The sheet 10 can thus be tightly stretched onto and cover a boat deck 33 and the open cockpit of the boat. The sheet 10 may thus cover boat decks of various size and shape because of the elasticity of the band 14 and its capability to accommodate at least modest changes in boat shapes.

Numerous types of fastening constructions may be utilized to attach the elastic band 14 to catch elements, such as post element 30 affixed to the boat. Additionally, numerous types of elastic materials 14 may be utilized in combination with the cover sheet 10. In one embodiment, the band 14 comprises a continuous peripheral elastic element attached to the sheet 10. Preferably the sheet 10 and band 14 further comprise a foldable, waterproof material to thereby facilitate protection of a boat deck or other item covered by the sheet 10. However, the elastic material may comprise discrete sections or elements as depicted in FIGS. 7-9.

FIGS. 5 and 6 illustrate an alternative embodiment of the invention. A central sheet 50 is formed from a flexible, generally water impervious material. The flexible sheet 50 may be of any configuration, such as depicted in FIG. 5, wherein the sheet 50 is in the form of a deck of a boat. The sheet 50 is generally non-elastic, though flexible. The sheet 50 includes a peripheral edge 52. The peripheral edge is sewn to a band of water impervious, but elastic material 54, extending about the peripheral edge 52 of sheet 50. The width of the band 54 can vary but is probably in the range of two or more inches extending outwardly from the peripheral edge 52.

Attached to an outside edge of the peripheral band 54; namely to outside edge 56, is a secondary circumferential or peripheral band 58. The band 58 may be sewn or otherwise attached to the elastic band 54. A snap fastener 60 is provided in the band 58 for cooperation with a headed fastening element 62 attached to the deck or sides of a boat. Note that the shape and configuration and relative width of the elastic band 54 may be varied about the circumference of the peripheral edge 52.

FIGS. 7-9 depict other alternative embodiments of the elastic band and fastening arrangement. A central flexible sheet 80 includes a circumferential or peripheral boundary.

Multiple elastic strips, such as strip 84, may be attached to and extend outwardly from boundary 81. Each strip 84 includes a grommet 85 with a polygonal (rectangular) shaped opening 86. The grommet 85 may be fitted over a post 87 having a rotatable, locking catch 88. A pull tab 90 is provided as an extension of the strip 84. The strip 84 may thus be stretched to position grommet 85 over and on post 87. Alternatively, an elastic band 82 may be attached to boundary 81 and a strap 92 of non-elastic material with a grommet 85 compatible with a post 87 may be utilized.

Fasteners of the invention considered important in the choice of the design of the boat cover include the width of the elastic boundary band 14. A band of at least two inches and preferably about six or more inches is considered beneficial. Also, placement of the fasteners such as grommets 60 is preferably adjacent the outer boundary of the band 14. The use of a non-elastic band 58 is highly desirable since the non-elastic band can utilize materials that will not be seriously weakened by grommets 60 and will not tend to tear as some elastic materials may. The use of a band 14 enables adoption of configurations of a sheet 10 which is highly variable and further provides a structure which distributes the load on the elastic member or band 14, again enhancing the ruggedness of the construction.

Variations of the combination of elastic and inelastic materials may be used. For example, portions of the sheet 10 may include elastic strips or sections that permit lateral extension or stretching of the cover.

Thus, while there has been set forth embodiments of the invention, it is to be understood that the invention is limited only by the following claims and equivalents thereof.