Title:
FLOATATION AID HAVING TWO INFLATABLE TUBULAR PARTS BRANCHING OFF FROM ONE INFLATABLE TUBULAR PART
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A flotation aid having an inflatable first tubular part 1, an inflatable second tubular part 2, and an inflatable third tubular part 3. An attachment arrangement 7, 8 enables an end portion of each of the second and third tubular parts to be releasably secured to the first tubular part. When the flotation aid is inflated and in use the first tubular part is able to extend from the front of the torso of a person directly downwards so that an inflated portion of the first tubular part passes, as one piece, between the person's legs. From there it extends directly up the rear of the person and inflated portions of the second and third tubular parts are extend from the back of the person up and over respective shoulders of the person to the front of the torso. The flotation aid is formed so that when it is in normal use, fully inflated and worn by a person in as indicated, in a body of water, the person is held in a substantially upright orientation with his or her head out of the water.



Inventors:
Rangiuaia, Moana Nui Kiwa A. (Wellington, NZ)
Application Number:
12/096611
Publication Date:
08/13/2009
Filing Date:
12/06/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B63C9/18
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
AVILA, STEPHEN P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BIO INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY SERVICES (BIO IPS) LLC (8509 KERNON CT., LORTON, VA, 22079, US)
Claims:
1. A flotation aid having an inflatable first tubular part, an inflatable second tubular part branching off the first tubular part, and an inflatable third tubular part also branching off the first tubular part; an attachment arrangement which enables an end portion of each of the second and third tubular parts to be releasably secured to the first tubular part; the flotation aid being formed so that when it is inflated and in use the first tubular part is able to extend from the front of the torso of a person directly downwards so that an inflated portion of the first tubular part passes, as one piece, between the person's legs in contact with the person's crutch, and from there extends directly up the rear of the person, as one piece, and wherein inflated portions of the second and third tubular parts are able, at the same time, to extend from the back of the person up and over respective shoulders of the person to the front of the torso and releasably attach to the first tubular part by way of the attachment arrangement at a position at the front part of the person's torso; the flotation aid being formed such that when it is in normal use, fully inflated and worn by a person as indicated in this claim above in a body of water significantly too deep for the person to stand in, the person is held in a substantially upright orientation with his or her head out of the water.

2. A flotation aid according to claim 1, formed so that it is substantially open sided.

3. A flotation aid according to claim 1, wherein the first tubular part comprises first and second tubular compartments which are joined by a seam and, after a point where the seam terminates, diverge into the second and third tubular parts.

4. A flotation aid according to claim 3, wherein the first and second tubular compartments are not open to one another.

5. A flotation aid according to claim 1, wherein the first tubular part is open to the second and third tubular parts.

6. A flotation aid according to claim 3, having a strap extending from the second tubular part to the third tubular part to protect the seam from tearing.

7. (canceled)

8. A flotation aid having an inflatable first tubular part, an inflatable second tubular part branching off the first tubular part, and an inflatable third tubular part also branching off the first tubular part; an attachment arrangement which enables an end portion of each of the second and third tubular parts to be releasably secured to the first tubular part; the flotation aid being formed so that when it is inflated and in use the first tubular part is able to extend from the front of the torso of a person directly downwards so that an inflated portion of the first tubular part passes, as one piece, between the person's legs in contact with the person's crutch, and from there extends directly up the rear of the person, as one piece, and wherein inflated portions of the second and third tubular parts are able, at the same time, to extend from the back of the person up and over respective shoulders of the person to the front of the torso and releasably attach to the first tubular part by way of the attachment arrangement at a position at the front part of the person's torso; the flotation aid being formed such that when it is in normal use, fully inflated and worn by a person as indicated in this claim above in a body of water significantly too deep for the person to stand in, the person is held in a substantially upright orientation with his or her head out of the water; the flotation aid being substantially open sided and the first tubular part comprising first and second tubular components which are joined by a seam and, after a point where the seam terminates, diverge into the second and third tubular parts.

9. A flotation aid according to claim 8, wherein the first and second tubular compartments are not open to one another.

10. A flotation aid according to claim 8, wherein the first tubular part is open to the second and third tubular parts.

11. A flotation aid according to claim 8, wherein the first and second tubular compartments are not open to one another, and the first tubular part is open to the second and third tubular parts.

12. A flotation aid according to claim 8, wherein there is a strap extending from the second tubular part to the third tubular part to protect the seam from tearing.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a flotation aid suitable for use by humans in a body of water.

BACKGROUND

It is known to use flotation aids such as ring like live savers or life jackets to keep a person afloat in a body of water. It is an object of the present invention to provide a flotation aid which gives the public a useful alternative to many known devices.

The term “comprising” or derivatives thereof, if and when used herein, should be interpreted non-exclusively—ie to convey “consisting of or including”.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to one aspect of the invention there is provided a flotation aid having an inflatable first tubular part, an inflatable second tubular part branching off the first tubular part, and an inflatable third tubular part also branching off the first tubular part;

    • an attachment arrangement (eg straps and clips) which enables an end portion of each of the second and third tubular parts to be releasably secured to the first tubular part;
    • the flotation aid being formed so that when it is inflated and in use the first tubular part is able to extend from the front of the torso of a person directly downwards so that an inflated portion of the first tubular part passes, as one piece, between the person's legs in contact with the person's crutch, and from there extends directly up the rear of the person, as one piece, and wherein inflated portions of the second and third tubular parts are able, at the same time, to extend from the back of the person up and over respective shoulders of the person to the front of the torso and releasably attach to the first tubular part by way of the attachment arrangement at a position at the front part of the person's torso;
    • the flotation aid being formed such that when it is in normal use, fully inflated and worn by a person as indicated above in a body of water significantly too deep for the person to stand in, the person is held in a substantially upright orientation with his or her head out of the water.

Preferably the flotation aid is substantially open sided.

Preferably the first tubular part comprises first and second tubular compartments which are joined by a seam and, after a point where the seam terminates, diverge into the second and third tubular parts.

Preferably the first tubular part is open to the second and third tubular parts.

Preferably there is a strap extending from the second tubular part to the third tubular to prevent these from moving apart to an undesirable degree (for example to prevent them from slipping off the shoulders of a wearer).

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Some preferred forms of the invention will now be described by way of example and with reference to the accompanying drawings, of which:

FIG. 1 is a front view of a flotation aid suitable for use by an adult, and

FIG. 2 shows the flotation aid when worn by an adult.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, in a preferred form of the invention there is a flotation aid having an inflatable first tubular part 1, an inflatable second tubular part 2 branching off the first tubular part 1, and an inflatable third tubular part 3 also branching off the first tubular part. The first tubular part 1 comprises two tubes 4 and 5 joined to one another by a central seam 6. The two tubes 4 and 5 may or may not be open to one another. The seam 6 may comprise synthetic welding. The two tubes 4 and 5 continue to the back of the flotation aid where the seam ends and they diverge to provide the second and third tubular parts 2 and 3. The first tubular part is releasably attachable to the second and third tubular parts 2 and 3 by way of length adjustable strap and clip/buckle arrangements 7 and 8.

FIG. 2 demonstrates the way the flotation aid is worn by a person 9 when in a normal in-use disposition. As shown, the first tubular part 1 extends from the mid front torso part of the person and proceeds directly downwards so that an inflated portion of the first tubular part passes, as one piece, between the person's legs in contact with the person's crutch. From there the first tubular part 1 extends directly up the rear of the person, as one piece, until the central seam ends as at 10. At that point the second and third tubular parts 2 and 3 proceed up the person's back and over the person's shoulders respectively, forward to where they terminate at the mid front torso part 11, but slightly above the highest front point 12 of the first tubular part 1. The second and third tubular parts 2 and 3 are releasably attached to the first tubular part at two points by way of the length adjustable clip/strap and buckle arrangements 7 and 8 to ensure that the flotation aid is securely fitted to the person 9.

Referring to FIG. 1, an elastic strap 13 extends between the second and third tubular parts 2 and 3 so as to restrict the degree to which they can be spaced from one another proximate the shoulders and thus prevent them from slipping off the shoulders.

The flotation aid is formed so that when it is in normal use, fully inflated, and worn in the manner described above, with the wearer in a body of water significantly too deep to stand in, the wearer is held in a substantially upright orientation with his or her head out of the water. The dimensions of the first, second and third tubular parts 1, 2 and 3 are thus able to accommodate inflation sufficient to achieve that, at least with an adult of average size. The flotation aid may be manufactured to accommodate people of smaller or greater size, for example young children, although the strap and clip/buckle arrangements 7 and 8 enable the flotation aid to function with a reasonably wide range of users.

Preferably the sides 14 of the flotation aid are open to make it relatively easy to put on one's body and enable free movement of the arms. The fact that the first tubular part 1 passes between the wearer's legs and is fastened to the second and third tubular parts 2 and 3 means that flotation aid cannot readily come away from the body, even in the absence of side fasteners. However in some embodiments of the invention there may be side fasteners, for example straps and buckles/clips, extending laterally from a front portion to the rear portion of the first tubular part above and around the wearer's hip or hips.

The flotation aid may have a valve or valves (not shown) so that it can be blown up and subsequently deflated when desired. The valve or valves may be associated with a protruding mouth piece so that the wearer can inflate it while it is worn. In some embodiments of the invention the flotation aid may be provided with a canister of pressurized gas to inflate the first, second, and third tubular parts 1, 2 and 3.

Preferably the flotation aid is primarily made from a suitable durable flexible woven synthetic material. The material may be brightly coloured and or have reflective parts.

While some preferred forms of the invention have been described by way of example it should be appreciated that modifications and improvements can occur without departing from the scope of the following claims.