Title:
Protective cover for marine mooring bumper
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A protective cover for a cylindrically-shaped marine mooring bumper, such as a scrap tire, includes a band having a pair of opposing edges, and a circular panel connected at or near its circumference to one of the edges of the band. At least one—and preferably both—of the band and the panel include a marine-grade material.



Inventors:
Rude, Richard J. (Landing, NJ, US)
Application Number:
11/072908
Publication Date:
11/17/2005
Filing Date:
03/04/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
405/215
International Classes:
B63B59/02; E02B3/26; (IPC1-7): E02B3/26; B63B59/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SINGH, SUNIL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Richard J. Rude (Landing, NJ, US)
Claims:
1. A protective cover for a cylindrically-shaped marine bumper, comprising: a band having a pair of opposing edges; and a circular panel connected at or near its circumference to one of the edges of the band; at least one of the band and the panel comprising a marine-grade material.

2. The protective cover of claim 1, wherein both the band and the panel comprise a marine-grade material.

3. The protective cover of claim 1, wherein the marine-grade material comprises a fabric that is water resistant.

4. The protective cover of claim 3, wherein the fabric is treated to provide the water resistance.

5. The protective cover of claim 1 wherein the marine-grade material comprises a fabric that is mildew resistant.

6. The protective cover of claim 5, wherein the fabric is treated to provide the mildew resistance.

7. The protective cover of claim 1 wherein the marine-grade material comprises a fabric that is fade resistant.

8. The protective cover of claim 7, wherein the fabric is treated to provide the fade resistance.

9. The protective cover of claim 1 wherein the marine-grade material comprises a fabric that is wear resistant.

10. The protective cover of claim 9, wherein the fabric is treated to provide the wear resistance.

11. The protective cover of claim 1, further comprising a releasable fastener carried at or near the other edge of the band.

12. The protective cover of claim 11, wherein the releasable fastener comprises a draw string.

13. The protective cover of claim 11, wherein the releasable fastener comprises a narrow elastic band.

14. The protective cover of claim 1, wherein the releasable fastener comprises VELCRO fasteners.

15. The protective cover of claim 1, wherein the band is equipped with one or more orifices therein to permit water to drain therethrough.

16. The protective cover of claim 1, wherein the band and the panel are integrally formed from a single piece of marine-grade material.

17. A marine mooring bumper comprising: a cylindrically-shaped bumper for attaching to a marine mooring structure; and a protective cover for the cylindrical bumper, the protective cover comprising: a band having a pair of opposing edges; and a circular panel connected at or near its circumference to one of the edges of the band; at least one of the band and the panel comprising a marine-grade material.

18. The marine mooring bumper of claim 17, wherein the bumper comprises a tire.

19. The marine mooring bumper of claim 17, wherein the marine-grade material comprises a fabric that is resistant to water, mildew, mold, wear, rot, fade, stain, scuff, or a combination thereof.

20. The marine mooring bumper of claim 19, wherein the fabric is treated to provide its resistance to water, mildew, mold, wear, rot, fade, stain, scuff, or a combination thereof.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/847,025, filed on May 17, 2004, of which this application is a continuation-in-part.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to bumpers for marine craft mooring structures, and more particularly to such bumpers that comprise scrap tires.

2. Background of the Related Art

Disposed or scrap tires are used extensively as bumper guards (or simply “bumpers”) on or around marine craft mooring structures such as docks, decks, bulkheads, seawall retaining walls, and other similar man-made and natural structures. “Marine,” as used herein, means of or relating to a significant body of water such as an ocean, river, fjord, lake, or lagoon. FIG. 1 illustrates a typical marine dock D fitted with one or more scrap tire bumpers B. When a marine craft (e.g., a boat or personal watercraft) ties to such a dock, the craft will repeatedly strike or bump the tire bumper(s) B with varying degrees of force, depending on conditions such as the wind and tide. The potential therefore exists for the exposed tire bumper(s) to create black contact or scuff marks on the sides of the marine craft, which are not easily removed. Further, such contact with the tire bumpers may mark, tear, smudge or remove decals, strips and stickers applied to the side of the marine craft. A need therefore exists for a barrier—particularly a simple, inexpensive, and replaceable barrier—that protects the sides of marine craft such as boats by preventing such undesirable contact between the tire bumper sidewall or tread and the marine craft.

Additionally, the tires that are so employed as marine bumpers are typically quite worn and weathered, and are therefore unsightly. A need therefore exists for a barrier solution that is aesthetically pleasing.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The needs identified above, as well as other needs and problems in the relevant art, are addressed by the present invention. In one aspect, the invention provides a protective cover for a cylindrically-shaped marine mooring bumper, such as a tire, secured to a marine dock or other man-made or natural mooring structure. The protective cover includes a band having a pair of opposing edges, and a circular panel connected at or near its circumference to one of the edges of the band. “Edge(s)” is used broadly herein to mean lines or borders defining one or more boundaries of an object, and does not necessarily imply precise or abrupt transitions at such boundaries. At least one of the band and the panel include a marine-grade material.

In particular embodiments of the inventive cover, both the band and the panel include a marine-grade material. In such embodiments, the band and the panel may be integrally formed from a single piece of marine-grade material.

The marine-grade material may include a fabric that is resistant to water, mildew, mold, wear, rot, fade, stain, scuff, or a combination thereof. Such fabric may be treated to provide the resistance characteristic(s).

In particular embodiments of the inventive cover, a releasable fastener is carried at or near the other edge of the band. The releasable fastener may include a draw string, a narrow elastic band, VELCRO fasteners, or other fastener means such as snaps or latches.

Additionally, the band may be equipped with one or more orifices therein to permit water to drain therethrough.

In another aspect, the present invention provides a marine mooring bumper, including a cylindrically-shaped bumper for attaching to a marine mooring structure such as a dock, and a protective cover for the cylindrical bumper. The protective cover includes a band having a pair of opposing edges, and a circular panel connected at or near its circumference to one of the edges of the band. At least one of the band and the panel includes a marine-grade material. In particular embodiments of the inventive marine mooring bumper, the bumper includes a tire.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

So that the above recited features and advantages of the present invention can be understood in detail, a more particular description of the invention, briefly summarized above, may be had by reference to the embodiments thereof that are illustrated in the appended drawings. It is to be noted, however, that the appended drawings illustrate only typical embodiments of this invention and are therefore not to be considered limiting of its scope, for the invention may admit to other equally effective embodiments.

FIG. 1 illustrates a typical installation of a disposed or scrap tire used as a bumper for a marine dock.

FIG. 2A illustrates the dock tire bumper being fitted with a protective cover in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 2B is a side view of FIG. 2A.

FIG. 3 illustrates a perspective view of one embodiment of the inventive protective cover.

FIG. 4 illustrates the components of the inventive protective cover before assembly, according to one embodiment thereof.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIGS. 2A-2B illustrate front and side views of a cylindrically-shaped marine mooring bumper—more particularly a tire bumper B like that of FIG. 1—fitted with a protective cover 10 in accordance with the present invention. With reference also to FIGS. 3-4, the protective cover 10 includes a band 12 having a pair of opposing edges 12a, 12b, and a circular panel 14. The panel 14 is connected at or near its circumference 14c to one of the edges 12a of the band 12, such as by sewing with a marine-grade thread, but other suitable connecting means such as glue, buttons, zippers, or other fasteners may be similarly employed. Additionally, the band and circular panel may be connected by their common inclusion in a unitary structure, such as by making the cover using injection-molding, heat-molding, or similar processes. It will be therefore be appreciated that the band and the panel may be integrally formed from a single piece of marine-grade material.

The band 12 has a width approximately equal to the width of a standard tire (e.g., 8-9 inches), while the panel 14 has a diameter approximately equal to the diameter of a standard tire (e.g., 24-26 inches). It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the band and panel may be sized differently, such as to fit varying tire widths and diameters. In fact, the band and panel may be constructed of elastic material (preferably having the marine-grade qualities described below), so as to be adaptable to numerous tire widths and diameters. Thus, when the cover 10 is fitted about a tire bumper B, the band 12 covers the tread portion of the tire bumper while the panel 14 covers sidewall portion of the tire bumper. Accordingly, the cover 10 serves as a protective barrier that prevents the tire bumper from directly contacting a water craft tied to a mooring structure such as a marine dock D.

It will be further appreciated that a protective cover 10 may be used singularly or in combination with other such covers to achieve an esthetically appealing physical appearance, or at least upgrade the appearance of, mooring structures such as docks that employ scrap tires as bumpers. For this purpose, the protective covers 10 can be designed to match the colors of a commonly-docked marine craft or nearby home, such as by dyeing, etc. Additionally, the panel 14 of inventive cover 10 can be used to exhibit decorative indicia or other markings, designs, etc., through processes such as silk-screening, embossing, engraving, embroidering, or stitching.

The band may be equipped with one or more grommet-reinforced orifices 18 therein to permit water to drain therethrough, as shown in FIG. 3. Additionally, the band may be discontinuous so as to leave a gap G between ends 12c, 12d, thereby facilitating the expansion of the band's edge 12b for easy fitting of the cover 10 about a tire bumper B (shown in dotted lines in FIG. 3).

At least one of the band 12 and the panel 14, and preferably both, include a marine-grade material. The marine-grade material may include a fabric that is resistant to water, mildew, mold, wear, rot, fade, stain, and scuff or a combination thereof, so as to provide durability and ruggedness for the protective cover 10 in its intended marine environment. Suitable examples of marine-grade fabrics (including thread, yarn, etc.) include canvas, nylon, vinyl, acrylic, and other natural and man-made fabrics that exhibit these qualities. Such fabric may be treated to provide or enhance the resistance characteristic(s). Some suitable treatment examples include fluorocarbon-based fabric treatments, UV-stabilizing pigment treatments, and temperature/abrasion resistance treatments. Suitable marine-grade fabrics (at least some of which are treated fabrics) are presently commercially available under the following brand names: COASTGUARD, FLORIDIAN, GORE-TEX HERCULITE/AQUUATEX II, ISLANDER, NAUTOLEX, OUTDURA, PHIFERTEX, SEAMARK, STAMOID, SUN DUCK, SUNBRELLA, SURELAST, TEXTILENE, TOPGUN, AND WEBLON.

A releasable fastener may be carried at or near the other edge 12b of the band 12. The edge 12b may be formed as a hollow sleeve or hem 20 through which the releasable fastener is inserted for moving the ends 12c, 12d together, thereby closing the gap G and helping to secure the cover 10 about a tire bumper B. Grommets (not shown) may be used to reinforce the hem 20. The releasable fastener may include, e.g., a draw string 16 or a narrow elastic band, and may also utilize VELCRO fasteners or other suitable fastener means such as snaps, latches, hooks, zippers, and buttons. In the case of a draw string 16, a clasp 17 may be employed for securing end portions of the draw string 16 outside the hem 20, thereby ensuring a snug fit of the cover 10 about a tire bumper B and preventing the cover 10 from being inadvertently removed from the tire bumper 10. FIG. 4 illustrates the panel 14, band 12, and draw string 16 as separate components before they are assembled to form the illustrated embodiment of the protective cover 10.

It will be understood from the foregoing description that various modifications and changes may be made in the preferred and alternative embodiments of the present invention without departing from its true spirit.

This description is intended for purposes of illustration only and should not be construed in a limiting sense. The scope of this invention should be determined only by the language of the claims that follow. The term “comprising” within the claims is intended to mean “including at least” such that the recited listing of elements in a claim are an open set or group. Similarly, the terms “containing,” having,” and “including” are all intended to mean an open set or group of elements. “A,” “an” and other singular terms are intended to include the plural forms thereof unless specifically excluded.