Title:
Aquatic hammock
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An aquatic hammock for attachment across a liquid containment structure such as a spa, a pool or the like. The liquid containment structure defines a basin for containing a liquid and a basin peripheral edge. The aquatic hammock includes a supporting sheet made of a generally deformable and liquid resistant material. The supporting sheet defining a sheet peripheral edge. The aquatic hammock also includes a releasable attachment means for releasably attaching the aquatic hammock to the liquid containment structure so that at least a section of the aquatic hammock extends generally across at least a section of the basin. The attachment means is positionable between the supporting sheet and the liquid containment structure generally adjacent the sheet peripheral edge and the basin peripheral edge. The supporting sheet is preferably made out of a generally soft, buoyant and resiliently deformable material.



Inventors:
Maynard, Michel (Terrebonne, CA)
Giroux, Linda (Terrebonne, CA)
Application Number:
10/224348
Publication Date:
02/27/2003
Filing Date:
08/21/2002
Assignee:
MAYNARD MICHEL
GIROUX LINDA
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C15/00; A47C17/84; A47K3/12; E04H4/14; (IPC1-7): E04H4/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PHILLIPS, CHARLES E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Michel Maynard (Boisbriand, QC, CA)
Claims:

The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive privilege or property is claimed are defined as follows:



1. A combination of a liquid containment structure and a aquatic hammock, said liquid containment structure defining a basin for containing a liquid and a basin peripheral edge, said aquatic hammock comprising: I. a supporting sheet, said supporting sheet being made of a generally deformable and liquid resistant material, said supporting sheet defining a sheet peripheral edge; II. an attachment means for attaching said aquatic hammock to said liquid containment structure so that at least a section of said aquatic hammock extends generally across at least a section of said basin, said attachment means being positionable between said supporting sheet and said liquid containment structure generally adjacent said sheet peripheral edge and said basin peripheral edge.

2. A combination as recited in claim 1 wherein said attachment means is a releasable attachment means.

3. A combination as recited in claim 1 wherein said sheet peripheral edge defines a pair of generally opposed sheet edge attachment sections and said basin peripheral edge defines a corresponding pair of generally opposed basin edge attachment sections, said supporting sheet being configured and sized so that when said sheet attachment sections are attached to said corresponding basin edge attachment sections, said supporting sheet extends across said basin in a predetermined relationship relative to said liquid.

4. A combination as recited in claim 3 wherein said sheet peripheral edge also defines a pair of generally opposed sheet edge spacing segments extending between said sheet edge attachment sections, said supporting sheet being provided with at least one reinforcement strip attached thereto adjacent at least a corresponding one of said sheet edge spacing segments in a direction generally parallel to said at least corresponding one of said sheet edge spacing segments and at least partially therealong.

5. A combination as recited in claim 4 wherein said reinforcement strip is made out of a generally resiliently deformable material.

6. A combination as recited in claim 3 further comprising at least one handle extending from said supporting sheet generally adjacent at least one of said sheet edge spacing segments.

7. A combination as recited in claim 1 wherein said attachment means includes at least one first strip of miniature hook or loop fiber and at least one complementary second strip of miniature hook or loop fiber, said first strip of miniature hook or loop fiber being attached to said supporting sheet and said second strip of miniature hook or loop fiber being attached to said basin, said first and second strips of miniature hook or loop fiber being configured, sized and positioned so as to be able to cooperate with each other for releasably attaching at least a segment of said supporting sheet to said basin.

8. A combination as recited in claim 7 wherein at least one of said first and second strips of miniature hook or loop fiber is made of a water resistant material.

9. A combination as recited in claim 7 wherein said liquid containment structure is a spa, said spa defining a spa peripheral wall and a spa peripheral flange depending therefrom, said spa peripheral flange defining a spa flange spacing segment extending generally perpendicularly from said spa peripheral wall and a spa flange outer segment extending from said spa flange spacing segment in a generally parallel and spaced relationship relative to said spa peripheral wall, said second strip of miniature hook or loop fiber being attached to said spa flange outer segment so that when said first strip of miniature hook or loop fiber is attached to said second strip of miniature hook or loop fiber a generally adjacent overriding portion of said supporting sheet is in frictional contact with at least a portion of said spa flange spacing segment.

10. A combination as recited in claim 1 wherein said attachment means includes at least one attachment pin insertable through said supporting sheet and at least one corresponding attachment recess formed in said basin, said attachment pin and said attachment recess being configured, sized and positioned so as to be able to cooperate with each other for releasably attaching at least a segment of said supporting sheet to said basin.

11. A combination as recited in claim 9 further comprising a pin grommet attached to said supporting sheet for receiving at least a section of said attachment pin and a sleeve positioned in said attachment recess for receiving at least a section of said attachment pin.

12. A combination as recited in claim 10 wherein said liquid containment structure is an in-ground swimming pool, said in-ground swimming pool having an in-ground swimming pool peripheral wall and an in-ground swimming pool border depending therefrom, said in-ground swimming pool border defining a pool border spacing segment extending generally perpendicularly from said in-ground swimming pool peripheral wall, said attachment recess being formed in said pool border spacing segment so that when said attachment pin is inserted into said attachment recess a generally adjacent overriding portion of said supporting sheet is in frictional contact with at least a portion of said pool border spacing segment.

13. A combination as recited in claim 1 wherein said attachment means includes a hooking component attached to said supporting sheet, said hooking component being configured, sized and positioned so as to be attachable to at least a portion of said basin.

14. A combination as recited in claim 13 wherein said hooking component has a generally “L”-shaped cross-sectional configuration defining a hook spacing segment, a hook abutment segment extending from said hook spacing segment and a hook retaining segment extending from said hook abutment segment in a generally parallel relationship relative to said hook spacing segment; said aquatic hammock has an attachment cable attached thereto generally adjacent said sheet peripheral edge, said hook spacing segment being attached to said attachment cable.

15. A combination as recited in claim 14 wherein said hooking component also includes a hook sleeve extending from said hook spacing segment for receiving at least a section of said attachment cable, said aquatic hammock including a hem attached thereto adjacent said sheet peripheral edge, said hem (turned under and sewn down) forming a cable receiving channel for receiving said attachment cable, said hem defining a hem recess formed therein for receiving said hook sleeve, said hook sleeve being pivotally mounted around a section of said attachment cable, said hem recess being configured and sized to allow said hooking component to pivot at least partially about said attachment cable.

16. A combination as recited in claim 13 wherein said hooking component defines a hook first retaining segment and a generally opposed hook second retaining segment, said supporting sheet further comprising a hook grommet extending therethrough adjacent one of said sheet edge attachment sections, said hook first retaining segment being attachable to said liquid containment structure and said hook second retaining segment being attachable to said hook grommet.

17. A combination as recited in claim 13 wherein said liquid containment structure is an above-ground swimming pool, said above ground swimming pool having an above-ground swimming pool peripheral wall and an above-ground swimming pool border extending from an upper peripheral edge of said above-ground swimming pool peripheral wall, said hooking component being attachable to said above-ground swimming pool border.

18. A combination as recited in claim 1 wherein said supporting sheet and said attachment means are configured and sized so that at least a portion of said supporting sheet contacts said liquid when said attachment means is attached to said liquid containment structure.

19. A combination as recited in claim 1 wherein said supporting sheet defines a sheet first surface and an opposed sheet second surface, said supporting sheet having at least one sheet aperture extending therethrough for allowing passage of said liquid between said sheet first and second surfaces.

20. A combination as recited in claim 19 wherein said supporting sheet is provided with a plurality of sheet apertures extending therethrough, said sheet apertures being surrounded by peripheral sheet supporting segments of said supporting sheet, said sheet apertures and sheet supporting segments together forming a generally checkered pattern on at least a section of said supporting sheet, said sheet apertures being configured and sized for allowing through passage of said liquid.

21. A combination as recited in claim 20 wherein said sheet supporting segments have a minimal width of approximately ⅛ of an inch.

22. A combination as recited in claim 1 wherein said supporting sheet is made out of a generally soft, buoyant and resiliently deformable material.

23. A combination as recited in claim 1 wherein said supporting sheet is made out of polyester coated with polyvinyl chloride.

24. An aquatic hammock for attachment across a liquid containment structure, said liquid containment structure defining a basin for containing a liquid and a basin peripheral edge, said aquatic hammock comprising: I. a supporting sheet, said supporting sheet being made of a generally deformable and liquid resistant material, said supporting sheet defining a sheet peripheral edge; II. a releasable attachment means for releasably attaching said aquatic hammock to said liquid containment structure so that at least a section of said aquatic hammock extends generally across at least a section of said basin, said attachment means being positionable between said supporting sheet and said liquid containment structure generally adjacent said sheet peripheral edge and said basin peripheral edge.

25. An aquatic hammock as recited in claim 24 wherein said supporting sheet is made out of a generally soft, buoyant and resiliently deformable material.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to the general field of body supporting structures and is particularly concerned with an aquatic hammock for use in an aquatic environment.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] There exists a plurality of situations wherein it is desirable for a given individual to lounge or rest in a generally supine position. A subset of such situations includes situations wherein a given individual wishes to lie in a generally supine position while being partially immersed in a body of water or other liquids. For example, an intended user may wish to use a spa or other liquid containment structure for the purpose of hydrotherapy.

[0003] Hydrotherapy units that provide aerated heated water for physical therapy or for relaxation have been increasingly popular in recent years because of their recognized beneficial impact on users. Although they could be used merely for relaxation, in some cases, therapeutic devices of this kind are even medically prescribed for persons with physical impairments.

[0004] According to the usual practice, all or part of an intended user's body is immersed into the spa. Piping systems provided with the spa, allow for injection of water and air inside the spa.

[0005] Conventional spas employ a plurality of relatively high-pressure jets distributed about the inner periphery of the spa shell, normally beneath the seat. The presence of Ventury nozzles adds air to create a bubbling stream of water for soothing the body of the occupant of the spa.

[0006] Most conventional spas are made with the inner surface of the spa's shell shaped in complicated forms at various positions within the spa to create seating for the occupants. Thermoplastic sheeting is used in most cases for forming the shell. It is applied via vacuum forming of the spa internal surfaces against a female mold made of wood and gel coated fiberglass. The inner surface is also been made in much the same shapes including seating by rotational molding.

[0007] Spas can be shaped internally in many different ways. Most spas have seating arrangements which include a contour-type seat having a generally vertical back wall and a slightly grooved seats so that the person using it seats generally upright within the spa. The shape of the inner surface of the spa shell determines how many people will be seated, how each person may be seated and how impinging jets of air/water are aimed. However, since each spa configuration requires its own particular mold, manufacturers must limit their variety of models because each mold is relatively large and costly.

[0008] Since the seating arrangements are made integral with the spa shell inner surface, they cannot be varied once the spa is purchased. This greatly limits the versatility of the spa. Also, since the body supporting arrangements are integral to the spa shell, spas are typically not provided with body supporting arrangements allowing for an intended user to lie in a supine position while being immersed into the pool section of the spa. This greatly hinders the relaxation potential of conventional spas since the supine position is often considered as one of the most relaxing position.

[0009] Another disadvantage of not allowing an intended user to lie in a supine or reclining position within the spa is that the body of the intended user may is not optimally exposed to the bubbling and turbulent action of the water. It would thus prove to be desirable to provide spa and other water containment structure enthusiasts with a body supporting structure allowing an intended user to lounge or rest in a generally supine or reclining position.

[0010] In non-aquatic environments, one particularly popular body supporting structure allowing an intended user to lounge or rest in a generally supine or reclining position is the so-called hammock. Conventional hammocks are typically constructed from a sheet of fabric or woven material suspended by cables, ropes or wires extending from opposite ends.

[0011] The wires are tied to a rigid supporting structure, such as vertical posts, one on each end, and in this manner suspended off the ground. Any vertical fixture, like a tree or wall, for example, can be used to support the hammock as long as there is something to tie the suspension wires to at each end.

[0012] Although conventional hammocks have proven to be generally satisfactory in certain settings, prior art hammocks suffer from numerous drawbacks including the fact that they are not particularly well suited to be used in an aquatic environment. Indeed, most prior art hammocks are not constructed so as to be easily suspended across a water containment structure such as a conventional spa, a conventional in-ground swimming pool, a conventional above ground swimming pool or the like.

[0013] Conventional hammocks require vertical attachment structures, such as posts that would prove to be inefficient, cumbersome and potentially dangerous if positioned adjacent the peripheral border of conventional water containment structures. Furthermore, the type of material used for forming conventional hammocks is not well suited to the aquatic environment. Prior art hammocks are typically constructed either of solid fabric, such as cotton canvas or netting material such as fishermen's net.

[0014] Prior art hammocks constructed of solid fabrics such as canvas, can be uncomfortable to occupy for a given length of time especially in a humid environment. Solid fabrics do not allow air circulation from the occupant's skin.

[0015] Furthermore, they do not allow unobstructed through flow of the water thereacross hence at least partially negating the therapeutic effects of the bubbling action in the case of spas and relatively direct contact with the liquid in the case of swimming pools.

[0016] Additionally, solid canvas chairs can collect dirt and moisture, especially in the context of an aquatic environment leading to molding, mildew and fabric rot.

[0017] Prior art hammocks constructed of netting material do not share some of the same disadvantages of solid material hanging chairs because they potentially allow for circulation of liquid therethrough. However, occupying a conventional hammock made of netting material for any length of time can be quite uncomfortable due to pressure points on the occupant's exposed skin created by the uneven distribution of weight along the strands of the net. Also, some of the netting material used for constructing conventional hammocks may also be subjected to mildew when used in a primarily aquatic environment.

[0018] Another disadvantage associated with some prior art hammocks is the downward bowing that naturally occurs in the middle of the hammock. This is, at least in part, related to the fact that the hammock is held by its ends, and, hence, the center sags downward due to the pull of gravity. Once a person climbs into the hammock, the sagging or downward bowing is even more pronounced because of the added weight.

[0019] The bowing forces the occupant's spine to bend downward accordingly when he is in a supine position. Such unavoidable contortions prevent many people from using and enjoying the benefits of the hammock. There are also possible deleterious effects on the spine from such unnatural bending. The prior art hammocks being made out of non-buoyant material are not well suited to taking advantage of the upward pressure created by liquids on buoyant material to relieve some of the disadvantages associated with bowing.

[0020] Accordingly, there exists a need for an improved aquatic hammock. It is therefore a general object of the present invention to provide such an improved aquatic hammock.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0021] In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a combination of a liquid containment structure and a aquatic hammock, the liquid containment structure defining a basin for containing a liquid and a basin peripheral edge, the aquatic hammock comprising: a supporting sheet, the supporting sheet being made of a generally deformable and liquid resistant material, the supporting sheet defining a sheet peripheral edge; an attachment means for attaching the aquatic hammock to the liquid containment structure so that at least a section of the aquatic hammock extends generally across at least a section of the basin, the attachment means being positionable between the supporting sheet and the liquid containment structure generally adjacent the sheet peripheral edge and the basin peripheral edge.

[0022] Preferably, the attachment means is a releasable attachment means. Typically, the supporting sheet is made out of polyester coated with polyvinyl chloride.

[0023] Conveniently, the sheet peripheral edge defines a pair of generally opposed sheet edge attachment sections and the basin peripheral edge defines a corresponding pair of generally opposed basin edge attachment sections, the supporting sheet being configured and sized so that when the sheet attachment sections are attached to the corresponding basin edge attachment sections, the supporting sheet extends across the basin in a predetermined relationship relative to the liquid.

[0024] Typically, the sheet peripheral edge also defines a pair of generally opposed sheet edge spacing segments extending between the sheet edge attachment sections, the supporting sheet being provided with at least one reinforcement strip attached thereto adjacent at least a corresponding one of the sheet edge spacing segments in a direction generally parallel to the at least corresponding one of the sheet edge spacing segments and at least partially therealong.

[0025] In one embodiment of the invention, the attachment means includes at least one first strip of miniature hook or loop fiber and at least one complementary second strip of miniature hook or loop fiber, the first strip of miniature hook or loop fiber being attached to the supporting sheet and the second strip of miniature hook or loop fiber being attached to the basin, the first and second strips of miniature hook or loop fiber being configured, sized and positioned so as to be able to cooperate with each other for releasably attaching at least a segment of the supporting sheet to the basin.

[0026] In another embodiment of the invention, the attachment means includes at least one attachment pin insertable through the supporting sheet and at least one corresponding attachment recess formed in the basin, the attachment pin and the attachment recess being configured, sized and positioned so as to be able to cooperate with each other for releasably attaching at least a segment of the supporting sheet to the basin.

[0027] In yet another embodiment of the invention, the attachment means includes a hooking component attached to the supporting sheet, the hooking component being configured, sized and positioned so as to be attachable to at least a portion of the basin.

[0028] In accordance with the present invention, there is also provided an aquatic hammock for attachment across a liquid containment structure, the liquid containment structure defining a basin for containing a liquid and a basin peripheral edge, the aquatic hammock comprising: a supporting sheet, the supporting sheet being made of a generally deformable and liquid resistant material, the supporting sheet defining a sheet peripheral edge; a releasable attachment means for releasably attaching the aquatic hammock to the liquid containment structure so that at least a section of the aquatic hammock extends generally across at least a section of the basin, the attachment means being positionable between the supporting sheet and the liquid containment structure generally adjacent the sheet peripheral edge and the basin peripheral edge.

[0029] Conveniently, the supporting sheet is made out of a generally soft, buoyant and resiliently deformable material.

[0030] Advantages of the present invention include that the proposed aquatic hammock is particularly well suited for being used in an aquatic environment. More specifically, the proposed aquatic hammock is provided with attachment components particularly well suited for attachment adjacent the peripheral edge of conventional liquid containment structures, such as spas, above ground swimming pools, in-ground swimming pools, bathtubs, hot tubs and the like.

[0031] The proposed aquatic hammock can be readily attached across a conventional liquid containment structure and removed therefrom through a set of quick and ergonomic steps without requiring special tooling or manual dexterity. Furthermore, attachment and detachment of the aquatic hammock to and from the liquid containment structure can be performed without major alterations or damage to both the aquatic hammock and the liquid containment structure.

[0032] Also, the proposed aquatic hammock is provided with apertures extending therethrough for allowing through flow of liquid. In turn, the flow of liquid and/or bubbles allows for the therapeutic effect of the liquid and/or bubbles to reach the intended user. The hammock is further designed so as to provide a comfortable supporting surface having weight distribution characteristics that prevent undue excessive pressure points from forming on the intended user's skin.

[0033] Still furthermore, the proposed aquatic hammock is, in at least one embodiment of the invention, made out of a generally buoyant material so as to take advantage of the pressure exerted by a liquid on buoyant bodies for reducing the unergonomic bowing that naturally occurs in the middle of the hammock. Also, the proposed aquatic hammock is designed so as to be manufacturable using conventional forms of manufacturing and conventional materials so as to provide an aquatic hammock that will be economically feasible, long lasting and relatively trouble free in operation.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0034] Embodiments of the present invention will now be disclosed, by way of example, in reference to the following drawings in which:

[0035] FIG. 1: in a partial perspective view with sections taken out, illustrates an aquatic hammock in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention extending across a conventional spa;

[0036] FIG. 2: in a partial longitudinal cross sectional view, illustrates the aquatic hammock shown in FIG. 1 floating on top of a liquid contained within the spa and attached to the spa peripheral border;

[0037] FIG. 3: in a partial longitudinal cross sectional view with sections taken out, illustrates an intended user resting on the aquatic hammock shown in FIGS. 1 and 2;

[0038] FIG. 4: in a partial perspective view with sections taken out, illustrates an attachment connection between the aquatic hammock shown in FIGS. 1 and 3 and the peripheral border of the spa;

[0039] FIG. 5: in a partial perspective view with sections taken out, illustrates an aquatic hammock in accordance with an alternative embodiment of the invention, the aquatic hammock being shown attached by a different attachment structure to the peripheral edge of an in-ground swimming pool;

[0040] FIG. 6: in a partially exploded cross sectional view with sections taken out, illustrates part of the attachment structure shown in FIG. 5;

[0041] FIG. 7: in a partial perspective view with sections taken out, illustrates an aquatic hammock in accordance with another alternative embodiment of the invention, the aquatic hammock being shown with an attachment structure typically used with conventional above ground swimming pools;

[0042] FIG. 8: in a partial perspective view with sections taken out, illustrates yet another alternative embodiment of the invention, the aquatic hammock shown in FIG. 8 using yet another type of attachment structure for use typically with a conventional above ground swimming pool.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0043] Referring to FIG. 1, there is shown an aquatic hammock (10) in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. The aquatic hammock (10) is shown extending across a liquid containment structure (12) such as a conventional Jacuzzi or spa. The liquid containment structure (12) also includes a basin peripheral border (18) defining a basin peripheral edge. It should be understood that the aquatic hammock (10) could be used with other types of liquid containment structures such as hot tubs, above ground swimming pools, in-ground swimming pools and the like without departing from the scope of the present invention.

[0044] Typically, each liquid containment structure (12) defines a bathing basin (14) for containing a liquid (16) such as water. Again, it should be understood that the bathing basin (14) could contain other liquids such as water mixed with chlorine, ozone or any other suitable liquid without departing from the scope of the present invention.

[0045] The aquatic hammock (10) includes a supporting sheet (20) made out of a generally deformable and liquid resistant material. The supporting sheet (20) defines a sheet peripheral edge. In the embodiments shown throughout the FIGS., the supporting sheet (20) has a generally rectangular configuration. It should however be understood that the supporting sheet (20) could have a generally trapeze-shaped configuration or any other suitable configurations without departing from the scope of the present invention.

[0046] The aquatic hammock (10) also includes an attachment means for attaching the latter to the liquid containment structure (12) so that at least a section of the aquatic hammock (10) extends generally across at least a section of the basin (14). The attachment means is positionable between the supporting sheet (20) and the liquid containment structure (12) generally adjacent the sheet peripheral edge and the basin peripheral edge.

[0047] Typically the attachment means is a releasable attachment means for releasably attaching the supporting sheet (20) to the liquid containment structure (12).

[0048] Alternatively, the attachment means may be a permanent-type of attachment means allowing for relatively permanent attachment of the supporting sheet (20) to the liquid containment structure (12).

[0049] Typically, the sheet peripheral edge defines a pair of generally opposed sheet edge attachment sections (22) (only one of which is shown in FIG. 1). Similarly, the basin peripheral edge also typically defines a corresponding pair of generally opposed basin edge attachment sections (24) (only one of which is shown in FIG. 1). The supporting sheet (20) is configured and sized so that when the sheet edge attachment sections (22) are attached to the corresponding basin edge attachment sections (24), the supporting sheet (20) extends across the basin (14) in a predetermined relationship relative to the liquid (16).

[0050] Typically, as illustrates in FIG. 2, the supporting sheet (20) will be configured and sized so as to float on the surface of the liquid (14) when no user is resting thereon.

[0051] Alternatively, the supporting sheet (20) could be configured and sized so as to be in a vertically spaced relationship relative to the surface of the liquid (14) or be at least partially immersed within the liquid (14) without departing from the scope of the present invention.

[0052] Typically, the sheet peripheral edge also defines a pair of generally opposed sheet edge spacing sections (26) extending between the sheet edge attachment sections (22). The supporting sheet (20) is typically provided with at least one reinforcement strip (28) attached thereto adjacent at least one of the sheet edge attachment sections (26) in a direction generally parallel to the corresponding sheet edge attachment section (26) and at least partially therealong. In the embodiments shown throughout the FIGS., each supporting sheet (20) is provided with a pair of reinforcement strips (28) attached to the sheet edge spacing sections (26) and extending therealong between the sheet edge attachment sections (22).

[0053] In at least one embodiment of the invention, the reinforcement strips (28) are made out of a generally resilient deformable material such as an elastomeric resin.

[0054] Reinforcement strips (28) made out of generally resilient deformable material may prove to be more suitable for situations wherein the sheet edge attachment sections (22) are relative close to one another such as when the aquatic hammock (10) is used across a conventional spa. In at least one other embodiment of the invention, the reinforcement strip (26) is made out of a generally foldable yet non-stretchable material such as a strip of nylon.

[0055] Optionally, the aquatic hammock (10) may be provided with at least one handle (30) extending from the supporting sheet (20) for facilitating handling of the supporting sheet (20). Typically, each aquatic hammock (20) is provided with a pair of handles (30) extending laterally from opposed ends of each sheet edge attachment sections (22). Each handle (30) is typically formed by corresponding loop of suitable material such as nylon attached at both ends thereof to a corresponding segment of a sheet edge attachment section (22).

[0056] In at least one embodiment of the invention shown in FIGS. 1 through 4, the attachment means includes at least one first strip (32) of miniature hook and loop fiber such as VELCRO (VELCRO is a registered trademark of Velcro Industries B. V. of Switzerland). The attachment means also includes at least one complimentary second strip (34) of miniature hook and loop fiber such as VELCRO.

[0057] The first strip (32) of miniature hook and loop fiber is typically attached to the supporting sheet (20) while the second strip (34) of miniature hook and loop fiber is attached to bathing basin (14). The first and second strips (32), (34) of miniature hook and loop fiber are configured, sized and positioned so as to be able to cooperate with each other for releasably attaching at least a segment of the supporting sheet (20) to the basin (14).

[0058] Typically, a first strip (32) of miniature hook and loop fiber is mounted on the supporting sheet (20) adjacent each sheet edge attachment section (20) and a second strip (34) of miniature hook and loop fiber is attached to the basin (14) adjacent each basin edge attachment section (24). Also, typically, the first strips (32) of miniature hook and loop fiber include the hook portion of the complimentary composition.

[0059] The second strips (34) of miniature hook and loop fiber form the loop portion of the complimentary combination so as to prevent the second strips (34) of miniature hook and loop fiber from interfering with the intended user when the first strips (32) of miniature hook and loop fiber are removed therefrom. Typically, at least one and preferably all of the first and second strips (32), (34) of miniature hook and loop fibers are made out of a water resistant material.

[0060] In the embodiments shown in FIGS. 1 through 4, the aquatic hammock (10) is used in combination with a spa. The spa defines a spa peripheral wall (36) and a spa peripheral flange (38) depending therefrom. The spa peripheral flange defines a spa flange spacing segment (40) extending generally perpendicularly from the spa peripheral wall (36) and a spa flange outer segment (42) extending from the spa flange spacing segment (40) in a generally parallel and spaced relationship relative to the spa peripheral wall (36).

[0061] Typically, the second strips (34) of miniature hook and loop fiber are attached to the spa flange outer segment (42) so that when the corresponding first strips (32) of miniature hook and loop fiber are attached to the second strips (34) of miniature hook and loop fiber a generally adjacent overriding portion (44) of the supporting sheet (20) is in frictional contact with at least a portion of the spa flange spacing segment (40), as shown more specifically in FIGS. 2 and 3.

[0062] The frictional contact between the overriding portion (44) and the spa flange spacing segment (40) is adapted to cooperate with the first and second strips (32), (34) of miniature hook and loop fiber for attaching the supporting sheet (20) to the liquid containment structure (12) and the positioning of the first and second strips of miniature hook and loop fiber (32), (34) on the spa flange outer segments (42) is adapted to increase the reliability of the first and second strips of miniature hook and loop fiber (32), (34) by optimizing the distribution of forces thereon.

[0063] It should however be understood that a first and second strips (32), (34) of miniature hook and loop fiber could be positioned otherwise and that the overriding portion (44) may be positioned so as not to be in contact with any portion of a spa peripheral flange (38) without departing from the scope of the present invention.

[0064] Referring now more specifically to FIGS. 5 and 6, there is shown an alternative embodiment of the invention wherein the attachment means includes at least one attachment pin (46) insertable through the supporting sheet (20) and at least one corresponding attachment recess (48) formed in the basin (14). The attachment pin (46) and the attachment recess (48) are configured, sized and positioned so as to be able to cooperate with each other for releasably attaching at least a segment of the supporting sheet (20) to the basin (14).

[0065] Typically, a set of attachment pins (46) are provided at each sheet edge attachment sections (22) and a corresponding set of attachment recesses (48) are provided at each basin edge attachment sections (24). Also, typically, each sheet edge attachment section (22) is covered by a sheet hem made out of a suitable resistant material such as nylon and sewn thereto using suitable sewing wires (52) such as nylon wire.

[0066] Furthermore, each attachment pin (46) typically extends through a corresponding pin grommet (54) mounted on the sheet edge attachment sections (22). Similarly, each attachment recess (48) is typically provided with an attachment sleeve (56) positioned in each corresponding attachment recess (48) for receiving at least a section of the attachment pin (46).

[0067] Typically, although by no means exclusively, the embodiment shown in FIGS. 5 and 6 is used in combination with an in-ground swimming pool-type of liquid containment structure. The in-ground swimming pool typically has an in-ground swimming peripheral wall (58) and in-ground swimming border (60) depending there from. The in-ground swimming pool border (60), in turn, defines a pool border spacing segment (62) extending generally perpendicularly from the in-ground swimming pool peripheral wall (58).

[0068] The attachment recesses (48) are typically formed in the pool border spacing segment (62) so that when the corresponding attachment pins (46) are inserted into the attachment recesses (48), a generally adjacent overriding portion (64) of the supporting sheet (20) is in frictional contact with the pool border spacing segments (62).

[0069] Similarly to the overriding segment (44) of the previously described embodiment, the overriding portion (64) of the embodiment shown in FIGS. 5 and 6 is adapted to contribute to the attachment of the supporting sheet (20) to the liquid containment structure (12) by its frictional contact with the pool border spacing segment (62). It should however be understood that the attachment recesses (48) could be located elsewhere and that the overriding portion (64) could be in a spaced relationship relative to the pool border (60) without departing from the scope of the present invention.

[0070] Referring now more specifically to FIGS. 7 and 8, there is shown yet another alternative embodiment of the invention wherein the attachment means includes a hooking component (66) attached to the supporting sheet (20). The hooking component (66) is configured, sized and positioned so as to be attachable to at least a portion of the basin (14). Typically, the attachment means includes a set of hooking components (66) extending from each sheet edge attachment sections (22).

[0071] In the embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 7, each hooking component (66) has a generally L-shaped cross sectional configuration defining a hook spacing segment (68), a hook abutment segment (70) extending from the hook spacing segment (68) and a hook retaining segment (72) extending from the hook abutment segment (70) in a generally parallel and spaced relationship relative to the hook spacing segment (68).

[0072] Also, in the embodiment shown in FIG. 7, the aquatic hammock (10) has an attachment cable (74) attached thereto generally adjacent each sheet edge attachment section (22). The hook spacing segment (68) is attached to the attachment cable (74) by a hook-to-cable attachment means.

[0073] Typically, the hook-to-cable attachment means includes a hook sleeve (76) extending from the hook spacing segment (68). The hook sleeve (76) is configured and sized for receiving at least a section of the attachment cable (74).

[0074] Also, typically, the aquatic hammock (10) further includes a hem (78) attached thereto adjacent each sheet edge attachment section (22). The hem (78) forms a cable-receiving channel (80) for receiving the attachment cable (74). The hook sleeve (76) is pivotally mounted around a section of the attachment cable (74).

[0075] The hem (78) defines a set of hem recesses (82) formed therein for receiving the corresponding hook sleeves (76). The hem recesses (82) are configured and sized so as to allow the hooking component (66) to pivot at least partially about the attachment cable (74) as illustrated by arrow (84) in FIG. 7.

[0076] In the embodiment shown in FIG. 8, the hooking component (66′) has a generally S-shaped configuration defining a hook first retaining segment (86) and a generally opposed hook second retaining segment (88). The supporting sheet (20) includes a corresponding set of hook grommets (90) extending there through adjacent each sheet edge attachment section (22). The hook first retaining segment (86) is attachable to the liquid containment structure (12) while the hook second retaining segment (88) is attachable to a corresponding hook grommet (90).

[0077] The embodiments shown in FIGS. 7 and 8 may be used with any type of liquid containment structure (12) including an above ground swimming pool. In situations wherein the embodiments shown in FIGS. 7 and 8 are used with an above ground swimming pool, the above ground swimming pool typically has an above ground swimming pool peripheral wall (92) and above ground swimming pool border (94) extending from an upper peripheral edge of the above ground swimming pool peripheral wall (92). The hooking components (66) and (66′) are attachable to the aboveground swimming pool border (94).

[0078] As illustrated more specifically in FIGS. 2 and 3, each supporting sheet (20) defines a sheet first surface (96) for contacting the body (98) of an intended user and an opposed sheet second surface (100). The supporting sheet (20) is provided with at least one sheet aperture (102) extending therethrough for allowing passage of the liquid (16) between the sheet first and second surfaces (96), (100).

[0079] Typically, the supporting sheet (20) is provided with a plurality of sheet apertures (102) extending therethrough. Each sheet aperture (102) is surrounded by a peripheral sheet-supporting segment (104), as shown in FIG. 9. The sheet apertures (102) and sheet supporting segments (104) together form a generally checkered pattern on at least a section of the supporting sheet (20). The sheet apertures (102) are configured and sized for allowing through passage of the liquid (16).

[0080] Typically, the checkered pattern extends along the entire surface of the supporting sheet (20) although it could extend only through a portion of the surface of the supporting sheet (20) without departing from the scope of the present invention. In order to distribute the supporting pressure on the body (98) of the intended user, the sheet supporting segments (104) typically have a segment width (106) of approximately no less than ⅛ of an inch. Also, each sheet aperture (102) typically has a minimum width substantially in the range of ⅛ of an inch.

[0081] Preferably, the supporting sheet (20) is made out of a generally soft, buoyant and resiliently deformable material. In one embodiment of the invention, the supporting sheet (20) is made out of polyester coated with polyvinyl chloride (PVC). It should however be understood that the supporting sheet (20) could be made out of other suitable material without departing from the scope of the present invention.

[0082] In use, the supporting sheet (20) is adapted to be laid across the basin (14) and attached thereto adjacent each sheet edge attachment section (22) using a suitable attachment means. An intended user may then climb into the aquatic hammock (10) and rest thereon in a generally reclined or other position such as shown in FIG. 3. Use of reinforcement strips (28) is adapted to facilitate ingress and egress into and out of the aquatic hammock (10). The reinforcement strips (28) are also adapted to reduce bowing especially in situations wherein the supporting sheet (20) is relatively long.

[0083] Bowing is further reduced by the use of a generally buoyant material since the liquid (16) will have the tendency to exert a force indicated by arrow (108) in FIG. 3 proportionally to buoyancy of the material from which the supporting sheet (20) is made.

[0084] The use of relatively water resistant material is intended to reduce the risks of mildew and rotting of the supporting sheet (20). Also, the configuration and size of the sheet supporting segments or strands (104) is adapted to reduce pressure on user's skin while the configuration and size of the sheet apertures (102) is intended to allow flow therethrough of liquid and/or bubbles in order to allow the intended user to benefit from the therapeutic effects of the aquatic environment in which he/she is resting.