Title:
Crustacean barrier system and method
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A crustacean barrier system and method incorporating a woven polyolefin and/or polymer mesh covering the hull of a protected vessel above the waterline is disclosed. The present invention permits a woven mesh to be deployed below the waterline on a boat or other seagoing vessel and is secured to the boat via the use of nylon straps and/or cleats. This mesh creates a barrier to crustaceans and prevents their attachment to the vessel hull. An alternative embodiment is disclosed that utilizes floatation cylinders to support the woven mesh at a level necessary to encompass the draft of the boat/vessel hull. These disclosed systems and method prevent crustaceans from attaching to the vessel hull, improves fuel efficiency of the vessel, reduces vessel hull maintenance, and extends the life of the vessel hull.



Inventors:
Tucker, Zack Coolidge (Rome, GA, US)
Application Number:
10/702705
Publication Date:
06/17/2004
Filing Date:
11/06/2003
Assignee:
TUCKER ZACK COOLIDGE
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B63B59/04; (IPC1-7): B63B17/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
AVILA, STEPHEN P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CARSTENS & CAHOON, LLP (DALLAS, TX, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A crustacean barrier system comprising: (a) a mesh material to generate a crustacean barrier; (b) retention strap connected to said mesh material; (c) rope tied to said retention strap; wherein said mesh material covers the bottom of a vessel and said retention strap is connected to said vessel via said rope; said mesh material is constructed with mesh sizing determined to prevent transmission of and attachment of crustaceans to said vessel hull.

2. A crustacean barrier system of claim 1 wherein said mesh material comprises a polymer.

3. A crustacean barrier system of claim 1 wherein said mesh material comprises a polyolefin.

4. A crustacean barrier system of claim 1 wherein said mesh material comprises polyethylene.

5. A crustacean barrier system of claim 1 wherein said mesh material comprises polypropolene.

6. A crustacean barrier system of claim 1 wherein said mesh material comprises polyester.

7. A crustacean barrier system of claim 1 wherein said mesh material comprises polyamide.

8. A crustacean barrier system of claim 1 wherein said mesh material comprises polimide.

9. A crustacean barrier system of claim 1 wherein said mesh material comprises an aramide.

10. A crustacean barrier system of claim 1 wherein said mesh material comprises a polyol.

11. A crustacean barrier system of claim 1 wherein said mesh material comprises polycarbonate.

12. A crustacean barrier system of claim 1 wherein said rope comprises nylon.

13. A crustacean barrier system of claim 1 wherein said mesh material is in roll form.

14. A crustacean barrier system of claim 13 wherein said roll deploys mesh material from a dock.

15. A crustacean barrier system comprising: (a) a mesh material to generate a crustacean barrier; (b) floatation pocket formed from and surrounding the perimeter of said mesh material and further comprising floatation material having a density less than water; (c) retention strap connected to said mesh material; (d) optional rope tied to said retention strap; wherein said floatation pocket supports said mesh material and prevents the top of said mesh material from being submerged; said mesh material covers the bottom of a vessel and said retention strap is connected to said vessel via said optional rope; said mesh material is constructed of a polymer and has mesh sizing determined to prevent attachment of crustaceans to said vessel hull.

16. A crustacean barrier system of claim 15 wherein said mesh material comprises a polymer.

17. A crustacean barrier system of claim 15 wherein said mesh material comprises a polyolefin.

18. A crustacean barrier system of claim 15 wherein said mesh material comprises polyethylene.

19. A crustacean barrier system of claim 15 wherein said mesh material comprises polypropolene.

20. A crustacean barrier method comprising: (1) grasping a rope attached to the end of a barrier mesh material generally conforming to a vessel hull and tying said rope to a cleat or other fastener on the bow of said vessel hull; (2) while holding the back corner of said barrier, placing the rest of said barrier into the water and pull said barrier to the back of said vessel, dragging said entire barrier under said hull; (3) pulling said barrier above the waterline of said hull and tying said ropes to said cleats or other fasteners on the back of said vessel in each corner; (4) traveling towards the bow of said vessel pulling said barrier above said waterline and tying said ropes to said cleats or other fasteners along the side of said vessel; (5) repeating steps (2)-(4) for both sides of said vessel until all of said ropes are secured to said cleats and said barrier is above said waterline around said entire hull.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention is related directly to situations in which seagoing vessels must be protected from crustaceans (barnacles, etc.) as these creatures reduce the fuel efficiency of vessels, increase the need for hull maintenance, and reduce the life of vessel hulls.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] It is well known in the art that crustaceans (barnacles, etc.) attach to the hulls of all seagoing vessels, causing damage to the hulls, reducing the fuel efficiency of the vessels, and eventually result in increased maintenance costs. The art has not as yet devised a simple and inexpensive method of combating this problem.

OBJECTIVES OF THE INVENTION

[0003] Accordingly, the objectives of the present invention are (among others) to circumvent the deficiencies in the prior art and affect the following objectives:

[0004] (1) To provide a system and method restricting the attachment of crustaceans and the like to vessel hulls.

[0005] (2) To increase the fuel efficiency of vessels by reducing crustacean attachment to their hulls.

[0006] (3) To reduce maintenance costs of vessel hulls.

[0007] (4) To increase the useful lifetime of vessel hulls.

[0008] (5) To provide a method of implementing the above features consistent with low cost and implementation on a variety of vessels.

[0009] While these objectives should not be understood to limit the teachings of the present invention, in general these objectives are achieved in part or in whole by the disclosed invention that is discussed in the following sections. One skilled in the art will no doubt be able to select aspects of the present invention as disclosed to affect any combination of the objectives described above.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0010] The present invention as generally illustrated in FIGS. 1-14. As illustrated in FIG. 1 (0100), the present invention is generally applied to the submerged exterior of a boat/vessel (0110). The term “boat” or “vessel” is generic and can apply to any apparatus that is exposed to attachment by crustaceans and the like. The term “crustaceans” can include barnacles, but also includes any undesirable life form that may attach itself to a vessel while the vessel is in contact with fresh and/or salt water. FIG. 1 illustrates the fact that the mesh material comprising the invention need not contact the vessel hull over the entire perimeter of the vessel hull to be effective.

[0011] As illustrated in FIG. 2, the general function of the invention is to provide a loose mesh of material (0210) that is tied to the vessel hull (0200) in several places as illustrated in FIG. 2 (0211). This mesh material then covers the vessel hull both below and above the waterline as illustrated in FIG. 2.

[0012] The form factor for the mesh material may be conformal to that of the vessel hull as illustrated in FIG. 3 (0310, 0320), but may also be rectangular in form as illustrated in FIG. 4 (0400), or box-like as illustrated in FIG. 5 (0500). Note that the form illustrated in FIG. 5 exemplifies a typical configuration in which a 12-foot by 32-foot vessel is contained with a 4-foot draft of mesh, permitting the vessel to rest up to four feet below the waterline. To function properly, the vessel draft should be less than the draft of the mesh material implementation.

[0013] The mesh material may also be rolled from stem to stern and deployed below the vessel as illustrated in FIG. 6 (0600). FIG. 6 illustrates an alternative embodiment of the present invention in which the mesh material is formed on a roller and deployed from a dock under a vessel (boat) hull. The use of retention straps with rope permits the mesh to be unrolled and formed to the vessel hull and secured via cleats to the vessel hull. Once the vessel is ready for sail, the mesh roller is wound to retrieve the mesh material after the retention straps are disabled.

[0014] FIG. 7 (0700) illustrates a typical and preferred mesh weave that is effective in permitting water transfer but simultaneously preventing crustacean entry.

[0015] FIG. 8 (0800) provides a detail of preferred strap construction consistent with many preferred embodiments of the present invention.

[0016] FIGS. 9-13 illustrate an alternative embodiment of the present invention utilizing an integrated floatation pocket to permit support of the mesh material above the waterline without the need for direct attachment to the vessel. This embodiment utilizes floatation pockets attached or woven into the mesh material on its outer perimeter.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0017] For a fuller understanding of the advantages provided by the invention, reference should be made to the following detailed description together with the accompanying drawings wherein:

[0018] FIG. 1 illustrates a side view of a typical vessel configured with the present invention;

[0019] FIG. 2 illustrates a top view of a typical vessel indicating retention points for the present invention;

[0020] FIG. 3 illustrates top and side views of a preferred custom tailored mesh material embodiment of the present invention;

[0021] FIG. 4 illustrates a planar view of a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

[0022] FIG. 5 illustrates a planar view of a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

[0023] FIG. 6 illustrates a side view of an alternative preferred embodiment of the present invention using a mesh roller for mesh material deployment as applied to a docked vessel;

[0024] FIG. 7 illustrates a typical mesh useful in constructing some embodiments of the present invention;

[0025] FIG. 8 illustrates an exemplary retention strap and securing means (rope) used in some preferred embodiments of the present invention;

[0026] FIG. 9 illustrates an exemplary embodiment of the present invention utilizing a floatation pocket for mesh material support;

[0027] FIG. 10 illustrates a top view of a floatation pocket embodiment of the present invention;

[0028] FIG. 11 illustrates a side view of a floatation pocket embodiment of the present invention;

[0029] FIG. 12 illustrates a detailed view of a typical lap seam used in some embodiments of the present invention;

[0030] FIG. 13 illustrates a detailed view of a typical floatation pocket design utilized in some preferred embodiments of the present invention;

[0031] FIG. 14 illustrates an exemplary method embodiment flowchart as taught by the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PRESENTLY PREFERRED EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS

[0032] While this invention is susceptible of embodiment in many different forms, there is shown in the drawings and will herein be described in detailed preferred embodiment of the invention with the understanding that the present disclosure is to be considered as an exemplification of the principles of the invention and is not intended to limit the broad aspect of the invention to the embodiment illustrated.

[0033] The numerous innovative teachings of the present application will be described with particular reference to the presently preferred embodiment, wherein these innovative teachings are advantageously applied to the particular problems of a CRUSTACEAN BARRIER SYSTEM AND METHOD. However, it should be understood that this embodiment is only one example of the many advantageous uses of the innovative teachings herein. In general, statements made in the specification of the present application do not necessarily limit any of the various claimed inventions. Moreover, some statements may apply to some inventive features but not to others.

Exemplary System Embodiment (0100, 0200)

[0034] As generally illustrated in FIGS. 1-2 (0100, 0200) present invention is constructed of a material that is (preferably) a polyolefin thread woven into a loose mesh, as further illustrated in FIG. 7 (0700). The mesh is generally cut to cover the entire hull of the vessel/boat and extends just above the waterline as illustrated in FIG. 1. The mesh is generally secured with nylon ropes or the like tied to a nylon strap or the like that is sewn along the edges of the mesh and then tied to cleats or other fasteners on the vessel/boat as illustrated in FIG. 2.

[0035] Because the mesh rises above the waterline it creates a barrier so that the crustaceans cannot build on the hull, thus increasing the performance of the boat and extending the life of the hull. The material on a 40-foot boat would weigh less than 20 lbs, and as such can be easily handled by one man and can be made to fit any size boat.

Custom Tailored Embodiment (0300)

[0036] The present invention may be embodied in custom tailored configurations as illustrated in FIG. 3 (0300) in which the mesh material is generally constructed to be form fitting to the vessel hull as illustrated by the top (0310) and side (0320) views.

Generic Embodiment (0400)

[0037] The present invention may be embodied in generic configurations as illustrated in FIG. 4 (0400) in which the mesh material is generally constructed to be rectangular with a multiplicity of tie points (0410) for attachment to the vessel. This generic formulation permits one configuration to service a number of vessel hulls.

Box Embodiment (0500)

[0038] The present invention may be embodied in box configurations as illustrated in FIG. 5 (0500) in which the mesh material is generally constructed to be in rectangular box form with a multiplicity of tie points for attachment to the vessel. This rectangular box formulation permits one configuration to service a number of vessel hulls with a variety of draft sizes.

[0039] Note here that the configuration illustrated in FIG. 5 (0500) is constructed for a vessel having dimensions of 12-feet by 32-feet with a draft not to exceed four feet. One skilled in the art will recognize that this template may be altered to service a large number of vessel dimensions.

Dock Embodiment (0600)

[0040] The present invention may be embodied in box configurations as illustrated in FIG. 6 (0600) in which the mesh material (0610) is generally constructed to be in roll form (0620) for deployment from a dock (0630) under the vessel (0640) hull (0650) as the vessel (0640) is docket in the water (0660). This configuration permits small or large vessels to be docket, then protected from crustacean attachment via deployment of the mesh material (0610) over the vessel hull (0650). This process may be reversed prior to vessel departure.

Mesh Material (0700)

[0041] An exemplary mesh material useful in some embodiments is illustrated generally in FIG. 7 (0700). This material may be constructed from a wide variety of materials, but has as its principal characteristic web openings sufficiently large to permit water passage while sufficiently small to prohibit transfer or transmission of crustaceans and the like. With this in mind, one skilled in the art will recognize that the list of suitable materials for this mesh material is only exemplary of the teachings of the present invention.

[0042] A wide variety of materials may be used to construct the mesh material used to form the crustacean barrier, including but not limited to:

[0043] polymers, chemical compounds or mixture of compounds formed by polymerization and consisting essentially of repeating structural units;

[0044] any polymers in the polyolefin family such as polyethylene, polypropolene, polyester, polyamide, polimide, aramides, polyols, polycarbonates, and the like.

Strap Construction (0800)

[0045] Many preferred embodiments of the present invention incorporate straps (0800) for use in securing the mesh material (0800) to the vessel hull in conjunction with ropes (0805) or other fastening means. FIG. 8. (0800) illustrates a general construction for an exemplary strap.

[0046] As illustrated by the side view (0810) and top views (0820) of the exemplary invention strap, these straps are typically approximately one inch in width (0801) and constructed of nylon, and may incorporate lockstitching (0802) and/or a double back hem (0803) for added strength. The barrier fabric may be sewn between (0804) or outside the strapping material.

[0047] Additionally, while nylon is a preferred material for use in creating retaining straps and rope for use in the present invention, other materials having similar structural and/or mechanical properties are also anticipated.

[0048] The use of cleats for attachment to the vessel hull is not limitive, as any attachment means would suffice in this context.

Floatation Pocket Embodiment (0900,1000,1100,1200,1300)

[0049] The present invention may be embodied utilizing a floatation pocket as generally illustrated in FIG. 9 (0900). In this configuration the vessel hull (0901) is protected by an embodiment of the invention (0910) employing mesh material (0911) supported by floatation pockets (0912) that are attached to the mesh material (0911) and which float upon the water. This configuration permits the invention to be constructed with few or no ties to the vessel, eliminating the need for much of the support structure required in other embodiments. FIG. 9 (0900) generally illustrates this concept.

[0050] FIG. 10 (1000) illustrates a top view of the floatation pocket embodiment of the present invention. Here the mesh material (1010) is generally constructed with seams (1011) at the corners as well as straps (1012) for attachment to the vessel. The unique feature of this embodiment is the construction of floatation pockets (1021, 1022, 1023, 1024) on the periphery of the crustacean barrier. These floatation pockets are constructed of material that floats and can support the weight of the mesh material (1010) so as to permit containment of the vessel hull to prevent crustacean attachment.

[0051] FIG. 11 (1100) illustrates a side view of the floatation pocket embodiment of the present invention. Here the mesh material is generally constructed with seams (1101) at the corners as well as straps (1102) for attachment to the vessel. Strap details are generally illustrated in FIG. 8 (0800).

[0052] FIG. 12 (1200) illustrates a typical lap seam (1101) as may be used in some embodiments of the floatation pocket embodiment of the present invention. Here the mesh material (1201) is generally constructed with seams having a one-inch double hem (1202) and two rows of stitching (1203). One skilled in the art may easily deviate from this construction model.

[0053] FIG. 13 (1300) illustrates a typical floatation pocket (1021, 1022, 1023, 1024) construction detail. Here the mesh material (1301) that comprises a double stitched (1302) hem (1303) lap seam used to surround a cylindrical floatation device (1304) having a rigid conduit center core (1305). A preferred embodiment of this construction utilizes 0.75-inch LPS Frost King polyethylene closed cell pipe insulation (1304) surrounding 0.75-inch Carlon PVC gray Schedule 40 PVC conduit.

[0054] One skilled in the art will recognize that other material constructions are possible. The key feature here is the ability to support the mesh material (1301) in the water but simultaneously prevent crustaceans from circumventing the mesh material and having access to the vessel hull. Thus, the floatation pocket embodiment of the present invention only requires that a pocket of mesh material be formed which then contains floatation material that has a density less than that of the surrounding water. Note in some embodiments the need for rope attachment means may be eliminated, making the use of a rope for attachment to the vessel an optional item.

Exemplary Method Embodiment (1400)

[0055] The general installation/removal method for the present invention is generally illustrated in FIG. 14 (1400) and includes the following steps:

[0056] 1. Grasp the rope on the end of the barrier mesh and tie the nylon rope to the cleat or other fastener on the bow of the boat (1401);

[0057] 2. While holding the back corner of the barrier, place the rest of the barrier into the water and pull the barrier to the back (stern) of the boat, dragging the entire barrier under the hull (1402);

[0058] 3. Pull the barrier above the waterline of the hull and tie the ropes to the cleats or other fasteners on the back of the boat in each corner (1403);

[0059] 4. Travel towards the bow of the boat pulling the barrier above the waterline and tie the ropes to the cleats or other fasteners along the side of the boat (1404);

[0060] 5. Repeat steps 2-4 for both sides of the boat until all of the ropes are secured to the cleats and the barrier is above the waterline around the entire hull (1405);

[0061] At the end of this procedure, crustaceans will not be able to build on the hull as long as the barrier is above the waterline.

[0062] One skilled in the art will recognize that the above procedure/method may be generally reversed without loss of generality to implement a de-installation procedure/method for the disclosed crustacean barrier (1406).

System Variations

[0063] The present invention anticipates a wide variety of variations in the basic theme of construction. The examples presented previously do not represent the entire scope of possible usages. They are meant to cite a few of the almost limitless possibilities.

[0064] The present invention is not limited to use with boats, but preferred embodiments have this as their primary application context. The present invention is amenable to use in any situation where a crustacean barrier is desirable to prevent the attachment of crustaceans in an aqueous environment.

Conclusion

[0065] A crustacean barrier system and method incorporating a woven polyolefin and/or polymer mesh covering the hull of a protected vessel above the waterline has been disclosed. The present invention permits a woven mesh to be deployed below the waterline on a boat or other seagoing vessel and is secured to the boat via the use of nylon straps and/or cleats. This mesh creates a barrier to crustaceans and prevents their attachment to the vessel hull. An alternative embodiment has been disclosed that utilizes floatation cylinders to support the woven mesh at a level necessary to encompass the draft of the boat/vessel hull. These disclosed systems and method prevent crustaceans from attaching to the vessel hull, improves fuel efficiency of the vessel, reduces vessel hull maintenance, and extends the life of the vessel hull.

[0066] Although a preferred embodiment of the present invention has been illustrated in the accompanying drawings and described in the foregoing Detailed Description, it will be understood that the invention is not limited to the embodiments disclosed, but is capable of numerous rearrangements, modifications, and substitutions without departing from the spirit of the invention as set forth and defined by the following claims.