Title:
Portable marine privacy toilet
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A portable toilet for marine craft securely located on the deck of a boat, and including a privacy cover. The toilet includes a seat assembly and a box-shaped housing for a portable toilet. A support brace connects the boat seat assembly to the housing. The boat seat assembly includes a boat seat, a boat seat back, and the support brace, made up of first and second support members hinged together. The first member connects the boat seat back to the second support member. The inner surface of the second support member defines a seat receiving portion for the boat seat. The portable marine privacy toilet can also have a swivel attached to the bottom for allowing the toilet to be vertically pivoted, and a clamp for removably fastening the privacy cover to the toilet.



Inventors:
Becker, Mark A. (Alexandria, MN, US)
Application Number:
09/863391
Publication Date:
11/29/2001
Filing Date:
05/24/2001
Assignee:
BECKER MARK A.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
114/363
International Classes:
B63B17/02; B63B29/14; (IPC1-7): A47K11/02; B63B17/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PHILLIPS, CHARLES E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Richard C. Litman (Alexandria, VA, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A portable marine privacy toilet comprising: a housing adapted for receiving a portable toilet, said housing comprising at least one wall and a bottom portion, said at least one wall extending upwardly from said bottom portion; and a boat seat assembly.

2. The portable marine privacy toilet of claim 1, wherein said at least one wall is joined to an adjacent wall by at least one wall fastener, said at least one wall fastener being selected from the group comprising an angle bracket, a pin, a bolt, a screw, a nail, an angle iron, an adhesive material, and a plate.

3. The portable marine privacy toilet of claim 1, wherein said boat seat assembly includes a boat seat, a back, and a brace for connecting said boat seat assembly to said housing; said housing comprising at least one connector for removably connecting said boat seat to said housing; and said housing having an opening disposed thereon for receiving the flush pedal of a toilet therethrough.

4. The portable marine privacy toilet of claim 1, wherein said boat seat assembly includes a boat seat and a seat receiving portion for removably and supportably receiving said boat seat on said housing; and said housing comprising at least one connector for removably connecting said boat seat to said housing.

5. The portable marine privacy toilet of claim 1, wherein said boat seat assembly includes a boat seat and a seat supporting portion for supporting said seat when on said housing.

6. The portable marine privacy toilet of claim 1, wherein said toilet further comprises a privacy cover for concealing a user during use of said toilet.

7. The portable marine privacy toilet of claim 1, wherein said housing further comprises a connector for removably fastening a privacy cover to said toilet, said privacy cover serving to conceal a user during use of said toilet.

8. The portable marine privacy toilet of claim 1, wherein said bottom has a swivel assembly attached thereon, said swivel assembly comprising at least one fastener for fastening to an underlying surface and a swivel for allowing said housing to be vertically pivotable.

9. The portable marine privacy toilet of claim 1, wherein said housing further comprises a clamp for removably fastening a privacy cover to said toilet, said privacy cover comprising a central axis rod having a plurality of U-shaped bales fastened thereon, said plurality of U-shaped bales for supporting said privacy cover for covering a person when at toilet.

10. A portable marine privacy toilet comprising: a housing dimensioned for receiving a portable toilet, said housing comprising an opening for receiving the flush pedal of a portable toilet therethrough; and, (b) a boat seat assembly, wherein said boat seat assembly includes a seat, a back, and a brace.

11. The portable marine privacy toilet of claim 10, wherein said brace connects said assembly to said housing.

12. The portable marine privacy toilet of claim 11, wherein said brace includes a first and second brace member, said brace second member being fixedly attached to said housing and having a seat receiving portion for removably and supportably receiving said seat.

13. The portable marine privacy toilet of claim 12, wherein said first brace member is fixedly attached to said back and hingedly connects said back to said second brace member.

14. The portable marine privacy toilet of claim 13, wherein said housing further comprises at least one privacy cover connector for removably fastening a privacy cover to said toilet.

15. The portable marine privacy toilet of claim 14, wherein said bottom has a swivel attached thereon for allowing said toilet to be vertically pivotable.

16. The portable marine privacy toilet of claim 15, wherein said cover connector comprises a clamp for removably fastening said privacy cover to said toilet; said cover comprising a material substrate and a central axis rod having a plurality of U-shaped bales movably fastened thereto; and said U-shaped bales supporting said material substrate for covering a person when at toilet.

17. The portable marine privacy toilet of claim 16, wherein said toilet further comprises a portable toilet.

18. The portable marine privacy toilet of claim 17, wherein said housing further comprises at least one connector for reversibly fastening said housing to an underlying support surface.

19. A portable marine privacy toilet comprising: a housing adapted for receiving a portable toilet; a boat seat assembly, wherein said boat seat assembly includes a seat, a back, and a brace for connecting said boat seat assembly to said housing; said brace includes a seat receiving portion for supportably and removably receiving said seat, a portable toilet; and a cover reversibly fastened by a connector to said housing and for covering a user when sitting on said toilet.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/206,957, filed May 25, 2000.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The present invention relates generally to sanitation devices and more specifically to portable toilets.

[0004] 2. Description of Related Art

[0005] Numerous toilet and sanitary devices have been invented for marine craft. Some of the most significant advances in the art have centered around the development of toilets having privacy chambers for changing clothes or for concealing a person using the bathroom. However, none of devices presented hereinbelow describes a portable marine privacy toilet which also functions as a boat seat. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 3,986,215, issued to Amalfitano, discloses a toilet sanitary device for use on small toilets, comprising a frame carrying a toilet seat, the frame being extensible over the upper edge or gunwale of the boat over the water. An upright post carries a curtain ring from which is suspended a curtain, which is adjustable to cover the occupant of the toilet when in use. An angle strut is provided to connect from the outer portion of the toilet support frame and fits into a socket secured to a lower portion of the hull, providing extra support for the toilet and its occupant.

[0006] U.S. Pat. No. 4,883,016, issued to Larson, discusses a collapsible privacy chamber for use aboard a boat or other watercraft. The privacy chamber includes an openable enclosure having an openable top, a sectional support member, a mechanism for anchoring the sectional support member inside of the openable enclosure, an upper support frame, a flexible sheet attachable to the upper support frame such that the flexible sheet can hang from the upper support frame to provide a privacy enclosure, and an upper mechanism for supporting the upper support frame such that the upper support frame can support the flexible sheet. The sectional support member preferably includes a plurality of elongated cooperating segments. The sectional support member cooperates with the anchoring mechanism to anchor the support member in the openable enclosure such that the assembled support member can extend vertically from the enclosure. Preferably, the privacy chamber includes a portable toilet located inside the openable enclosure. The elements of the partial enclosure are preferably collapsible such that they may be disassembled and placed within the enclosure. The enclosure is preferably portable, however, in an alternate embodiment, it is incorporated into the deck of a boat.

[0007] U.S. Pat. No. 5,029,348, issued to Boren, shows the head construction for a pontoon boat comprising a housing having an open top, an open front, and a toilet mounted within the housing. A lid is hinged to the rear edge of the housing and is movable between a horizontal, closed position and an open position where the lid extends vertically. A foldable frame is secured to the housing and can be moved between a folded retracted position, where the frame is located within the housing, to an extended position where the frame extends vertically a substantial distance above the housing. When the lid is moved to the open position, the frame can be pivoted from the retracted to the extended position where the curtain provides an enclosure. The front surface of the curtain is provided with a closable slit to enable a person to enter the enclosure to provide privacy for a person using the head.

[0008] U.S. Pat. No. 5,095,556, issued to Franey, presents a foldable, portable personal commode including a case having an openable top and front. A toilet seat is pivotally mounted to a block secured in the case. A U-shaped support is pivotally mounted to the toilet seat and removably holds the toilet seat in its horizontal position when the free ends of its legs are vertically inserted in sockets secured to the front when it is in the open position. The toilet seat and U-shaped support may be pivoted generally parallel to each other and arranged vertically within the case allowing closing of the front and top of the case. L-shaped arm supports may be removably secured to the vertical sides of the U-shaped support to face either forward or rearward. A removable U-shaped back rest is adjustably inserted in the block of the case. The toilet seat includes affixed hardware which supports a removable collar which slidably receives the opening of a plastic bag retained thereon by a rubber band.

[0009] U.S. Pat. No. 5,379,466, issued to Davies, discloses a portable privacy closet which may be selectively moved from a raised to a lowered position such that when the closet is in the raised position it provides a private area for use as a changing room or for housing a toilet facility, and when in the lowered position, the closet provides a weathertight storage area.

[0010] U.S. Pat. No. 5,586,344, issued to Liang, discusses a portable toilet which can be readily assembled and disassembled, including a base, a bowl detachably connected to the base, and an upper frame detachably connected to the base by two suspension tubes. The portable toilet can also be used in a car.

[0011] U.S. Pat. No. 5,937,452, issued to Brewer, relates to a portable toilet assembly including a rigid frame assembly. A flexible tent assembly removably coupled about the rigid frame and a toilet seat is removably situated within the rigid frame. International Patent granted to Bly (EP 389,204 A1) discloses a portable commode comprising legs which support a tubular frame, the frame defining a chair-like configuration that includes arm rests and front and rear parallel horizontal cross-bar members. International Patent granted to Liao (EP 689,790 A1) discloses a portable toilet including a bowl-like base defining an open chamber.

[0012] U.S. Design Pat. No. 378,540, issued to Becker, illustrates a portable shelter comprising a plurality of U-shaped bails connected to a central axis rod.

[0013] None of the above inventions and patents, taken either singly or in combination, is seen to describe the instant invention as claimed.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0014] The portable toilet for a marine craft, according to the invention, presents an effective solution to the longfelt need for a portable toilet which can be securely located on the deck of a conventional boat, while also providing privacy and maximizing the efficient use of space on deck by incorporating a boat seat into the exterior housing for the portable toilet. The portable marine privacy toilet comprises a substantially box-shaped housing, adapted for closely receiving a portable toilet therein, and a boat seat assembly, which includes a brace for connecting the boat seat assembly to the housing. The housing preferably includes four walls and a bottom, the walls each having top and lateral side edges and extending upwardly from the bottom. An opening is located on the housing for allowing the flush pedal of a portable toilet to extend therethrough. Each wall is joined to an adjacent wall at a lateral side edge by at least one fastener. Alternatively, the walls may be integrally formed together, the apparatus comprising injection-molded plastic to form a one-piece structure.

[0015] The boat seat assembly preferably includes a boat seat, a boat seat back, and a support brace comprising first and second support members hingedly connected together. The first member connects the boat seat back to the second member. The inner surface of the generally L-shaped second member, which is fixedly attached to the top of the walls, defines a seat receiving portion for supportably receiving the boat seat, which is removably attached to the housing by fastening means. The portable marine privacy toilet may also have a swivel attached to the bottom thereof for allowing the toilet to be vertically pivotable and a clamp for removably fastening a privacy cover to the toilet to visually conceal a user of the toilet.

[0016] Accordingly, it is a principal object of the invention to provide a portable toilet for marine craft, the toilet being designed to be also used as a boat seat.

[0017] It is another object of the invention to provide a portable toilet for marine craft, the toilet also comprising a privacy cover to conceal a user.

[0018] It is a further object of the invention to provide a portable toilet for marine craft, which is sanitary, secure, and space saving.

[0019] Still another object of the invention is to provide a portable toilet for marine craft which has a swivel and a removable seat to allow for easy access by a user.

[0020] It is an object of the invention to provide improved elements and arrangements thereof in an apparatus for the purposes described which is inexpensive, dependable and fully effective in accomplishing its intended purposes.

[0021] These and other objects of the present invention will become readily apparent upon further review of the following specification and drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0022] FIG. 1 is an environmental, perspective view of a portable marine privacy toilet being used on the deck of a water craft according to the present invention.

[0023] FIG. 2 is a side angle view of the portable marine toilet, showing the portable toilet inside the housing, according to the invention.

[0024] FIG. 3 is a perspective side view of the portable marine privacy toilet showing the attachment of the cover thereon according to the invention.

[0025] FIG. 4 is an exploded view of the portable marine privacy toilet according to the invention.

[0026] Similar reference characters denote corresponding features consistently throughout the attached drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0027] The present invention is directed to a portable toilet for marine craft. The preferred embodiment of the invention is depicted in FIGS. 1-4 and is generally referenced by numeral 10.

[0028] As diagrammatically illustrated in FIG. 1, a view of the portable toilet for marine craft is depicted in which a person P is shown using the portable toilet for marine craft 10, the portable toilet 10 being located on the deck of a conventional boat B. In recent years, boating has become an ever more popular form of recreation, providing endless hours of pleasure and leisure to millions of people. Nevertheless, a serious problem exists in that many boaters must endure inadequate restroom facilities, particularly on small and medium-sized watercraft. Families not infrequently find this discomfiting, particularly since the only option may be to resort to unsanitary methods which, since the decks of boats are fairly easily observed from afar, can involve significant privacy concerns.

[0029] Many previous attempts to provide a solution to the need for a practical and effective portable marine toilet 10 are unsatisfactory, because they require individuals to sit in uncomfortable positions, such as over the edge of a boat, or use ineffective privacy coverings such as sail-like curtains, which may be unwieldy under windy conditions. Additionally, ineffective sanitary means, such as those involving the direct discharge of sewage into the surrounding water or which do not effectively sterilize contaminated matter, present serious questions of cleanliness and reduce product appeal, and can even result in violations of state or federal law.

[0030] Marine sanitation devices are specially designed for use on pleasure craft, and are made to conform to Coast Guard standards regarding discharge of sewage into restricted waters. other benefits of portable marine toilets include the neutralization of odor causing molecules, and the disinfection of potentially hazardous matter. Space is limited on boats, and the space which is available is usually devoted to boat seats, navigational equipment, and storage areas or housing for fishing and boating accoutrements.

[0031] Another drawback of water craft and portable toilets is the fact that rough waves or rocking of the boat can make portable toilets potentially dangerous if they are unsecured, possibly resulting in their sliding across the deck and causing damage. Thus, if a device could be built which would maximize the efficient use of space on board, while providing an aesthetically pleasing and secure housing, an important contribution to the art would be made. The present invention provides an effective means by which a conventional portable toilet can be used on a boat by incorporating a boat seat into the protective housing of a portable toilet, providing a practical solution to this longfelt need.

[0032] Turning now to FIG. 2, it can be seen that the portable marine privacy toilet 10 comprises a substantially box-shaped housing 12 adapted for closely receiving a portable toilet therein so as to allow a user's legs to always be on the outside of the housing 12 to insure comfort. The toilet 10 also comprises a boat seat assembly 14, which includes a support structure or brace 16 for connecting the boat seat assembly 14 to the housing 12. The housing 12 preferably includes front 18, back 16, and lateral 20 side walls and a bottom 21, the walls each having a top portion 22 and lateral side edges, generally 24, and extending upwardly from the bottom 21. Each wall is joined to an adjacent wall at a lateral side edge 24 thereof by at least one fastener, each generally 26. Any fastening means commonly known in the art and in conventional usage can be employed to join the walls together including the angle brackets 25 shown, as well screws, pins, nails, angle irons, plates, bolts, and adhesive substances. Alternatively, the walls can be integrally formed together, the housing 12 comprising injection-molded plastic to form a one-piece structure.

[0033] The front wall 18 of the housing 12 preferably has a generally rectangular-shaped opening 27 disposed thereon for receiving the flush pedal or lever 28 therethrough of a portable toilet seat 30 and cover 32, although the opening 27 and flush pedal 28 can be absent in alternative embodiments. The housing 12 of the invention can be covered with a vinyl sleeve or liner (not shown) to match the seat 34 in an alternative embodiment of the invention. The housing 12 can be comprised of any substance, including polymeric material, metal, and wood, and can be designed according to any shape, size, appearance, and dimensions, according to the needs of the user and the specifications of the manufacturer.

[0034] Turning now to the exploded view of FIG. 4, the boat seat assembly 16 preferably includes a boat seat 34, a boat seat back 36, and a support brace 16 comprising first and second support members 38 and 40, respectively, hingedly connected together. The first support member 38 connects the boat seat back 36 to the second support member 40 with the hinge 42 allowing the seat back 36 to fold forwardly over, as shown in FIG. 3. The inner surface 44 of the generally L-shaped second support member 40, which is fixedly attached to the top 22 of the walls, defines a seat receiving portion for supportably and removably receiving the boat seat 34. The second support member 40 can also comprise a spacer element to allow the top of the portable toilet to protrude above the top edge 22 of the housing 12. It should be understood that the specification embraces configurations and designs for all boat seats 34, as well as conventional boat seat designs such as commonly known in the art.

[0035] The boat seat back 36 and boat seat 34 are preferably padded, comprising an inner support, and an exterior liner preferably made of waterproof polymeric material, such as polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride, or similar thermoplastic material. The housing 12 further comprises a fastener 46 for removably connecting the boat seat 34 to the housing 12 and a mating fastener 48 located on an underlying seat support rod 50. In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the fastener 48 is a hook and loop fastener, and is brought into abutting and reversibly connectible relationship with its mating fastener 46 by proper placement of the seat 34 on the housing 12. Any conventional fastener other than the hook and loop type can be used for attaching the boat seat to the top portions of the side walls or the housing, including adhesive materials, clips, snaps, and interlocking attachment devices.

[0036] Referring back to the exploded view in FIG. 3, the portable marine privacy toilet 10 can also have a swivel assembly 52 attached to the bottom 54 thereof for allowing the toilet 10 to be vertically pivotable. The swivel assembly can comprise any means for allowing the toilet 10 to be pivotable, including a rotatable bearing unit (not shown). In the preferred embodiment of the invention, this rotatable bearing unit would include upper and lower bearing plates, each comprising a ring-shaped depression which, when matched together, define a raceway for bearing balls. And although the toilet is portable, the housing 12 or swivel assembly 52 can include at least one fastener 31 for fastening the toilet 10 to an underlying or upstanding support surface.

[0037] The portable marine privacy toilet housing 12 further preferably comprises a pair of clamps 56 for removably fastening a privacy cover 58 to the toilet 10. The cover 58 comprises a main axis rod 60 having a plurality of U-shaped bales 62, movably fastened thereto, for supporting a covering portion 64 for concealing a person when using the toilet 10. The cover 58 can comprise any suitable material, but is preferably non-transparent, lightweight, and water resistant. The main axis rod 60 removably but securely fits into the clamps 56 as indicated by the ghost lines. The weight of the toilet 10 insures its stability when on deck, as well as the stability of the cover 58 which it is attached.

[0038] It should be understood that any jacket, shelter, enclosure, blind, or cover can be used, including covers that do not directly connect to the housing or are free standing. Also any kind of connector between the toilet and the cover can be used, the clamp 56 being a preferred embodiment of the connector. Nevertheless, as shown in FIG. 1, the preferred embodiment of the cover 58 herein described when positioned with the user forwardly facing into the wind, provides for decreased wind resistance and stability to the overall invention. Furthermore, it should be stressed that the present invention embraces any and all models of portable toilets 30 such as in conventional usage or commonly known, the housing 12 being suitably dimensioned or adaptable to receive them. Therefore, any boat seat incorporating or housing a toilet, especially a portable marine toilet, as well as any combination boat seat/toilet with or without a privacy cover is fully encompassed.

[0039] It is to be understood that the present invention is not limited to the sole embodiments described above, but encompasses any and all embodiments within the scope of the following claims.