Title:
PREVENTING MARINE VESSEL FROM COLLIDING WITH PILING OR DOCK
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method of preventing a marine vessel from colliding with a piling is disclosed. An apparatus is attached to a piling to prevent a marine vessel from colliding with the piling. The apparatus may be comprised of a body portion and one or more straps, which may be used to attach the body portion to the piling. The body portion may be comprised of a substantially flat portion and a protruding portion, which protrudes from the substantially flat portion. The body portion may be comprised of one or more slots through which one or more straps can be inserted to attach the body portion to a piling.



Inventors:
Sievewright, George (Gillette, NJ, US)
Application Number:
10/431844
Publication Date:
11/11/2004
Filing Date:
05/07/2003
Assignee:
SIEVEWRIGHT GEORGE
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E02B3/26; (IPC1-7): B63B59/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
OLSON, LARS A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Mr. Walter J. Tencza Jr. (Metuchen, NJ, US)
Claims:
1. a method comprising: attaching an apparatus to a piling; wherein the apparatus prevents a marine vessel from colliding with the piling; wherein the apparatus includes a body portion; wherein the body portion prevents the marine vessel from colliding with the piling by coming between the marine vessel and the piling; wherein the body portion is comprised of a substantially flat portion and a protruding portion, which protrudes from the substantially flat portion; wherein the substantially flat portion is elongated having a first length and a first width, wherein the first length is substantially greater than the first width; wherein the protruding portion is elongated having a second length and a second width, wherein the second length is substantially greater than the second width; wherein the second width of the protruding portion is substantially less than the first width of the substantially flat portion for the majority of the second length of the protruding portion; and wherein the second length is substantially the same as the first length; and wherein the substantially straight portion has a first ridge at its first end and a second ridge at its second end.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein the substantially flat portion and the protruding portion are made of the same material and are integrated together as one piece.

3. The method of claim 1 wherein the apparatus further includes a first strap; and the step of attaching the apparatus to the piling includes attaching the body portion to the piling by using the first strap.

4. The method of claim 3 wherein wherein the first strap is inserted through the body portion.

5. The method of claim 1 wherein the substantially flat portion has a thickness which gradually decreases in a first direction extending outward from the protruding portion and in a second direction, substantially opposite the first direction, extending outward from the protruding portion.

6. The method of claim 4 wherein the body portion is comprised of a first and second slot; and further comprising inserting an end of the first strap through the first slot and then the through the second slot and then wrapping the first strap around the piling in order to attach the apparatus to the piling.

7. The method of claim 6 wherein the body portion is comprised of a third slot and a fourth slot; and further comprising inserting an end of a second strap through the third slot and then through the fourth slot and then wrapping the second strap around the piling in order to attach the apparatus to the piling.

8. The method of claim 7 wherein the body portion is comprised of a fifth slot and a sixth slot; and further comprising inserting an end of a third strap through the fifth slot and then the sixth slot and then wrapping the third strap around the piling In order to attach the apparatus to the piling.

9. The method of claim 1 wherein the body portion is made of a flexible material.

10. An apparatus comprising: a body portion; a first strap; wherein the body portion can be connected to a piling by the first strap to prevent a marine vessel from colliding with the piling by coming between the marine vessel and the piling; wherein the body portion is comprised of a substantially straight portion and a protruding portion, which protrudes from the substantially straight portion; and wherein the substantially straight portion is elongated having a first length and a first width, wherein the first length is substantially greater than the first width; wherein the protruding portion is elongated having a second length and a second width, wherein the second length is substantially greater than the second width; wherein the second width of the protruding portion is substantially less than the first width of the substantially straight portion for the majority of the second length of the protruding portion; and wherein the second length is substantially the same as the first length; and wherein the substantially straight portion has a first ridge at its first end and a second ridge at its second end.

11. The apparatus of claim 10 wherein the substantially straight portion and the protruding portion are made of the same material and are integrated together as one piece.

12. The apparatus of claim 10 wherein the body portion has a first and a second slot through which the first strap can be inserted.

13. The apparatus of claim 10 further comprising a second strap; wherein the body portion can be connected to the piling by the first strap and the second strap.

14. The apparatus of claim 10 further comprising the piling.

15. The apparatus of claim 13 wherein the body portion includes a first, a second, a third, and a fourth slot; wherein an end of the first strap can be inserted through the first and second slots; wherein an end of a second strap can be inserted through third and fourth slots; and wherein the first and second straps can be wrapped around the piling and first and second ends of first strap can be attached together and first and second ends of the second strap can be attached together to attach the body portion to the piling.

16. The apparatus of claim 10 wherein the body portion is made of a flexible material.

17. The apparatus of claim 10 wherein the substantially straight portion has a thickness which gradually decreases in a first direction extending outward from the protruding portion and in a second direction, substantially opposite the first direction, extending outward from the protruding portion.

18. (canceled)

19. The apparatus of claim 10 wherein the protruding portion is in the form of a loop.

20. The apparatus of claim 10 wherein the substantially straight portion is flexible and can be flexed into a curved state.

21. (canceled)

22. The method of claim 1 wherein the protruding portion is in the form of a loop.

23. The method of claim 1 wherein the substantially straight portion is flexible and can be flexed into a curved state.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] This invention relates to improved methods and apparatus concerning keeping marine vessels, such as ships, from being damaged.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Typically in the prior art, marine vessels, such as ships, are kept tied to a dock or a bulkhead when the marine vessels are not being used. While in this state, the marine vessels will often collide with pilings or docks. This results in damage to the marine vessels.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0003] The present invention in one or more embodiments includes a method comprising attaching an apparatus to a piling, wherein the apparatus prevents a marine vessel from colliding with the piling. The apparatus includes a body portion. The body portion may prevent the marine vessel from colliding with the piling by coming between the marine vessel and the piling. The apparatus may also include one or more straps, which may be used to attach the body portion to the piling. The first strap may be inserted through the body portion. The body portion may be comprised of a substantially flat portion and a protruding portion, which protrudes from the substantially flat portion.

[0004] The body portion may be comprised of one or more slots through which one or more straps can be inserted to attach the body portion to a piling.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0005] FIG. 1 shows an apparatus in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention connected to a piling and FIG. 1 shows a sailboat tied to the piling;

[0006] FIG. 2A is a diagram of a front view of the apparatus connected to the piling in FIG. 1, except for several straps which have been omitted in FIG. 2;

[0007] FIG. 2B is a diagram of a front view of the apparatus connected to the piling in FIG. 1, with the straps shown;

[0008] FIG. 3 is a diagram of a top view of the apparatus connected to the piling in FIG. 1, except for the straps, which have been omitted in FIG. 3;

[0009] FIGS. 4A and 4B show left and right side views, respectively, of the apparatus connected to the piling in FIG. 1, except for straps which have been omitted in FIG. 4;

[0010] FIG. 5 shows a back view of the apparatus connected to the piling in FIG. 1, with the straps shown;

[0011] FIG. 6 shows a front view of another apparatus in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention for connecting to a piling (shown without straps), which is similar to the apparatus of FIGS. 2A and 2B, except that the apparatus of FIG. 6 is shorter and has fewer slots than the apparatus of FIG. 2;

[0012] FIG. 7 shows a front view of the apparatus of FIG. 1 connected to the piling;

[0013] FIG. 8 shows a rear view of the apparatus of FIG. 1 connected to the piling; and

[0014] FIG. 9 shows a top view of the apparatus of FIG. 1 connected to the piling.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0015] FIG. 1 is a diagram of a sailboat 100 tied to a piling 120 and an apparatus 10 in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention connected and/or attached to the piling 120. The sailboat 100 is tied to the piling 120 through a rope 104. The sailboat is located in a body of water 110, such as a harbor or bay. The piling 120 is connected to a dock or part of a dock 130. The apparatus 10 includes straps 40, 42, and 44, which are inserted through slots 24a, 24b, and 24c. The straps 40, 42, and 44 may be comprised of flexible materials, which may have Velcro (trademarked) attachment portions as will be described. The straps 40, 42, and 44, may be wrapped around the piling 120 to hold, connect, and or attach the apparatus 10 to the piling 120.

[0016] FIGS. 2A and 3 are diagrams of a front and top view, respectively, of the apparatus 10 except for straps 40, 42, and 44 which have been omitted. The apparatus 10 without the straps 40, 42, and 44, may be referred to as a body portion 10c of the apparatus 10. FIG. 2B shows a front view of the apparatus 10 with the straps 40, 42, and 44. FIGS. 4A and 4B show left and right side views, respectively, of the apparatus 10 except for the straps 40, 42, and 44 which have been omitted. FIG. 5 shows a back view of the apparatus 10 including the straps 40, 42, and 44.

[0017] The body portion 10c of the apparatus 10 includes portions 12, 14, 16, 18, 22, 24, and 26 as shown by FIGS. 2A and 3. Portions 18, 16, and 26 can be described as being part of a bumper or shock absorbing device 10a. The combination of portions 18, 16, and 26 may also be called a protruding portion. Portions 12, 14, 22 and 24 can be described as being part of a connection device 10b, which also may provide a shock absorbing function. Portions 12, 14, 22, and 24 may also be called a substantially flat portion from which the protruding portion (comprised of 16, 18, and 26) protrudes.

[0018] Portions 12 and 22 have a width of D5, shown in FIG. 3, which may be 0.186 inches. Portions 12 and 22 may have a slightly larger width than ends of portions 14 and 24, respectively, to which portions 12 and 22 are connected, as shown by FIG. 3. Portions 12 and 22 may be provided to prevent wear on the edges of the body portion 10c of the apparatus 10, including wear caused by the rubbing of the straps 40, 42, and 44 on the edges or portion 12 and 22. Portions 14 and 24 may have a gradually decreasing width, which starts out at D8 inches, which may be 0.216 inches, near portions 16 and 26, respectively, and ends at 0.150 inches near portions 12 and 22, respectively. Portions 14 and 24 may have surfaces 14a and 24a are at an angle of with respect to a back surface 30 of the apparatus 10. The angle may be three degrees. Surfaces 14a and 24a may be at an angle to provide strength near the point of impact of a marine vessel, such as 100 with the bumper 10a of the apparatus 10.

[0019] Portion 18 can be semicircular in shape to provide good shock absorption. Portion 18 may have a width of D6, shown in FIG. 3, which may be one inch. The portion 18 may have a thickness T1, shown in FIG. 3, which may be 0.180 inches. The body portion 10c of the apparatus 10 may have a width of D1, shown in FIG. 2A, which may be four inches.

[0020] The apparatus 10 includes slots 14a, 14b, 14c, 24a, 24b, and 24c, shown in FIG. 2A. The slots may be openings that allow an end of a strap, such as end 40b of strap 40, shown in FIG. 2B to be inserted into, for example, slot 24a, from the front of body portion 10c of the apparatus 10 shown in FIG. 2A, and allow for the end to come out the back of the body portion 10c of the apparatus 10 through the slot 24a, as shown by FIG. 5 and FIG. 9. Each slot of the slots 14a, 14b, 14c, 24a, 24b, and 24c may have a width of {fraction (3/16)} of an inch and a length of two inches.

[0021] The center of the slots 14a and 24a may be a distance of D3, shown in FIG. 2A, from an end 11a of the body portion 1 0c of the apparatus 10. D3 may be five inches. Similarly the center of slots 14c and 24c may be a distance of D3 from an end 11b of the body portion 10c of the apparatus 10. The center of the slots 14b and 24b may be centered in portions 14 and 24 of the body portion 10c of the apparatus 10 as shown in FIG. 2. The body portion 10c of the apparatus 10 may have a length of D2, shown in FIG. 2A, which may be, for example, forty-eight inches or thirty six inches.

[0022] FIG. 6 shows a front view of a body portion 200c of an apparatus in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention for connecting to a piling, such as piling 120. The body portion 200c is similar to the body portion 10c of FIGS. 1-5 except that the body portion 10c of FIG. 6 is shorter and has fewer slots than the body portion 10c of FIG. 2. The body portion 200c has slots 214a, 224a, 214b, and 224b. The body portion 200c has portions 212, 214, 218, 224, and 222, which are similar to portions 12, 14, 18, 24, and 22, respectively. The body portion 200c would have the same top view as shown for body portion 10c in FIG. 3. The body portion 200c may have a length of D9, which may be thirty-six inches. The body portion 200c may have the same width D1 as the body portion 10c.

[0023] In operation, an individual would insert ends 40b, 42b, and 44b, of straps 40, 42, and 44, respectively, into slots 24a, 24b, and 24c, respectively, typically through the front side and through portion 24, referring to FIG. 2B. The ends 40b, 42b, and 44b, of the straps 40, 42, and 44, respectively, would then come out of the rear openings, shown in FIG. 5, of slots 24a, 24b, and 24c, respectively. The individual would then insert the ends 40b, 42b, and 44b of the straps 40, 42, and 44 through the rear openings shown, in FIG. 5, of slots 14a, 14b, and 14c. The ends 40b, 42b, and 44c would then come out the front openings, shown in FIG. 2B, of slots 14a, 14b, and 14c, respectively. The straps 40, 42, and 44 after insertion is completed would be in a state as shown in FIG. 2B, where the straps 40, 42, and 44 are inserted in the appropriate slots and part of the straps 40, 42, and 44 lie on the right side of the body portion 10c of the apparatus 10 and part of the straps 40, 42, and 44 lie on the left side of the body portion 10c of the apparatus 10. The ends 40b, 42b, and 44b would then be wrapped around the piling 120 and inserted through buckles 50, 52, and 54.

[0024] FIG. 7 shows a front view of the apparatus 10 of FIG. 1 connected to the piling 120. FIG. 8 shows a rear view of the apparatus 10 of FIG. 1 connected to the piling 120. FIG. 9 shows a top view of the apparatus 10 of FIG. 1 connected to the piling 120. A dashed line L1 in FIGS. 7 and 8 shows where the body of water 110 begins.

[0025] Apparatus 10 is connected to the piling 120 by straps 40, 42, and 44. In one or more embodiments one end of each of the straps 40, 42, and 44 is inserted through two slots and through a buckle and then attached in order to attach the apparatus 10 to the piling 120. For example, end 40b of strap 40 of strap 40 is inserted through slot 24a from the front side of the apparatus body portion 10c and then comes out the back side of the body portion 10c. The end 40b is then inserted from the back side of body portion 10c through the slot 14a. The end 40b then comes out the front side from slot 14a and is brought around the piling 120 and inserted through the buckle 50 as shown by FIG. 9. The end 40b is then placed in a position so that the portion 41b of the strap 40 can be attached to the portion 40c as shown by FIG. 9. The portion 41b typically would have an attachment device 70a shown in FIG. 5 attached to its rear side. The attachment device 70a would typically be a material such as a Velcro (trademarked) material, i.e. one of either hooks or loops. The portion 40c typically would have an attachment device 70b shown in FIG. 5 attached to its rear side. The attachment device 70b would typically be a material such as a Velcro (trademarked) material, i.e. one of either loops or hooks. The attachment device 70a is designed to attach to the attachment device 70b as shown by FIG. 9. If the attachment device 70a is comprised of hooks then the attachment device 70b would typically be comprised of loops. If the attachment device 70a is comprised of loops then the attachment device 70b would typically be comprised of hooks.

[0026] The straps 42 and 44 are connected in a manner similar to strap 40 to the piling 120.

[0027] The present invention in one or more embodiments functions as a bumper or fender that protects marine vessels from smashing, rubbing, or hitting a piling 120 while a boat 100 is tied to a piling 120, or dock or bulkhead. The body 10c of the apparatus 10 acts as a shock absorber to absorb the collision as the boat 100 moves back and forth and up and down from the movement of water, wakes, tides, etc.

[0028] The apparatus 10 can be installed quickly and easily onto a piling, such as piling 120. The body portion 10c including portions 12, 14, 16, 18, 24, 26, and 22 can be made from a flexible material such as an extrusion of Flexible Polyvinyl Chloride (known as “FPVC) white antifungal material. FPVC can be provided at low cost and is durable. Rubber, or some other flexible durable, type of material can also be used. The straps 40, 42, and 44 can be made of nylon with Velcro (trademarked) attachment portions, such as hooks or loops on the ends 40b, 42b, 44b, which connect to Velcro (trademarked) attachment portions, such as loops or hooks on the portions 40c, 42c, and 44c,

[0029] Although the invention has been described by reference to particular illustrative embodiments thereof, many changes and modifications of the invention may become apparent to those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. It is therefore intended to include within this patent all such changes and modifications as may reasonably and properly be included within the scope of the present invention's contribution to the art.