Title:
Snorkel retaining clip
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A mask strap retaining clip releasably secured a breathing tube of snorkel to a diver's mask strap. The retaining clip comprises a clip unit with the diver's mask strap passed through and a ring unit put on the breathing tube. The ring unit comprises a mushroomlike projection extended from its peripheral surface. The projection comprises a neck having a width and a length longer than the width. The clip unit comprises large and small holes. The neck can move from the large hole to the small hole when a lengthwise direction the breathing tube is aligned with a channel between the holes such that the breathing tube can be disposed in an operating position by subsequently turning itself. The clip unit has a tab and the ring unit has a dent for lockingly engaging the tab when the neck is disposed in the small hole.



Inventors:
Shiue, Chih-cheng (Escondido, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/140961
Publication Date:
12/07/2006
Filing Date:
06/01/2005
Assignee:
QDS Injection Molding LLC
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
128/201.27
International Classes:
B63C11/16
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PATEL, NIHIR B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BRUCE H. TROXELL (FALLS CHURCH, VA, US)
Claims:
1. 1-4. (canceled)

5. A mask strap retaining clip for selectively connecting a snorkel and a mask strap comprising: a) a clip unit having: i) a snapping member having a first plate, a second plate, and a snapping opening located between the first plate and the second plate, the second plate having a larger hole, a smaller hole, and a channel connecting the larger hole and the smaller hole, each of the larger hole, the smaller hole, and the channel being spaced apart from edges of the second plate and communicating with the snapping opening; ii) a hook connected to the snapping member; and iii) a clip opening located between the snapping member and the hook, the mask strap extending through the clip opening; and b) a ring unit selectively connected to the snapping member and having: i) a bore, the snorkel extending through the bore; ii) a flat portion extending outwardly from an exterior thereof and having a rectangular cross section, the flat portion having a cross section having a length extending parallel to an axis of the bore and a width extending perpendicular to the length thereof, the width of the flat portion is larger than the length of the flat portion, and the length of the flat portion is smaller than a width of the channel; and iii) a mushroom shaped projection extending outwardly from the flat portion, the mushroom shaped projection having a diameter smaller than a width of the larger hole of the snapping member and larger than a width of the smaller hole of the snapping member.

6. The mask strap retaining clip according to claim 5, further comprising a tab located on the first plate in the snapping opening, the mushroom shaped projection having a central dent, the tab is selectively locked with the central dent by rotating the ring unit relative to the clip unit when the tab is inserted in the central dent.

7. The mask strap retaining clip according to claim 5, wherein the flat portion extending outwardly from the exterior of the ring unit a distance greater than a thickness of the second plate.

Description:

FIELD OF INVENTION

The present invention relates to a mask strap retaining clip of snorkel and more particularly to an improved mask strap retaining clip adapted to secure a breathing tube of a snorkel to strap of a swim mask or a pair of swim goggles.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Swim masks, swim goggles, and snorkels are widely used by people involving in water sports such as swimming and diving. Conventionally, a snorkel has a mask strap retaining clip adapted to secure itself to, for example, a diver's mask strap. In use, a diver may easily put a mouthpiece of the snorkel in the mouth. In a nonoperating position, the snorkel is still held to a side of the diver's head such that a next use can be facilitated.

However, the prior snorkel suffered from a disadvantage. For example, a diver has to use the hand to touch hook of the mask strap retaining clip, use both hands to bend the hook outward, disengage the loosened mask strap with the hook, and disengage the snorkel including the hook with the diver's mask if the diver does not want to use the snorkel and want to remove same from the head. To the contrary, for using the snorkel again a diver has to mount the mask strap in the hook. However, such mounting is typically not an easy task with both hands involved. Hence, a need has arisen for an improved mask strap retaining clip adapted to secure a snorkel to a diver's mask strap or disengage the snorkel from same in an easy, quick, and reliable manner.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a mask strap retaining clip adapted to releasably secure a breathing tube of a snorkel to a diver's mask strap in an easy, quick, and reliable manner.

In one aspect of the present invention, the mask strap retaining clip comprises a clip unit with a diver's mask strap passed through, and a ring unit put on the breathing tube of the snorkel wherein the clip unit and the ring unit are adapted to quickly engage together by assembling or disengage by disassembling same.

In another aspect of the present invention, the ring unit and the clip unit are fastened together by turning the breathing tube engaged with the ring unit to a position perpendicular to the clip unit and pressing down the ring unit until being stopped such that the breathing tube can be disposed in a ready to use state by a subsequent turning of the breathing tube.

In a further aspect of the present invention, the ring unit is lockingly engaged with the clip unit in the ready to use state of the breathing tube because the ring unit has a member secured to a mating member of the clip unit.

The above and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description taken with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side view of a preferred embodiment of a mask strap retaining clip according to the invention put on a breathing tube of a snorkel with a diver's mask strap passed through;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a clip unit of the mask strap retaining clip;

FIG. 3 is a sectional view of the clip unit of the mask strap retaining clip;

FIGS. 4 and 5 are perspective views of a ring unit of the mask strap retaining clip viewed from different angles;

FIG. 6 is a sectional view of the ring unit of the mask strap retaining clip; and

FIGS. 7 to 11 are sectional views illustrating a process of assembling the ring unit and the clip unit together on a breathing tube of a snorkel.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to FIG. 1, there is shown a preferred embodiment of a mask strap retaining clip according to the invention. The mask strap retaining clip comprises a clip unit 20 with a diver's mask strap 30 passed through, and a ring unit 40 put on a breathing tube 11 of a snorkel 10. The clip unit 20 and the ring unit 40 are separate members and are adapted to assemble together as detailed below.

Referring to FIGS. 2 and 3, the clip unit 20 comprises a hook 21 and an integral snapping member 22. The hook 21 is extended from a first plate 221 of the snapping member 22. An open space 21a is defined by and between the hook 21 and the first plate 221. The diver's mask strap 30 is adapted to pass through the space 21a. The snapping member 22 further comprises a second plate 222 integral with the first plate 221, and a space 223 defined by and between the first plate 221 and the second plate 222. An opening 224 is formed on the second plate 222. The opening 224 comprises an upper, oval, large hole 224a, a lower, oval, small hole 224b, and an intermediate narrow channel “d” in communication with both holes 224a and 224b. A tab 221a is formed on an inner surface of the first plate 221 facing the small hole 224b.

Referring to FIGS. 4, 5, and 6, the ring unit 40 comprises a bore 401, a flat portion 402 on its peripheral surface, and a mushroomlike projection 403 extended from the flat portion 402. The bore 401 is put on the breathing tube 11 and the breathing tube 11 is adapted to slide about the bore 401. The flat portion 402 is adapted to maintain a correct angle of the ring unit 40 relative to the clip unit 20. The projection 403 comprises a parallelepiped neck 403a having a width L1 and a length L2 longer than the width L1, and a head 403b having a central dent 403c facing the clip unit 20. The head 403b of the projection 403 is adapted to insert into the large hole 224a rather than the small hole 224b. Also, thickness of the head 403b is less than depth of the space 223.

Referring to FIGS. 7 to 11, a process of assembling the ring unit 40 and the clip unit 20 together is illustrated. In FIG. 7, the head 403b of the projection 403 is aligned with the large hole 224a. The head 403b of the projection 403 inserted into the large hole 224a is shown in FIG. 8. At this position, it is impossible of pressing down the ring unit 40 (i.e., the projection 403) through the channel “d” because the length L2 of the neck 403a is larger than width of the channel “d” (i.e., a lengthwise direction of the neck 403a is perpendicular to the channel d) and the dent 403c of the head 403b is disposed perpendicular to the tab 221a. That is, the ring unit 40 is temporarily held in the large hole 224a. In FIG. 9, the ring unit 40 has turned about 90 degrees. Thus, the neck 403a is able to pass the channel “d” when the lengthwise direction of the neck 403a is aligned with the channel “d” and the dent 403c is thus disposed in a position to be ready to receive the tab 221a. In FIG. 10, the ring unit 40 has been pressed down to cause the projection 403 to pass through the channel “d” into the small hole 224b with the tab 221a snugly fitted in the dent 403c for fastening. In FIG. 11, the ring unit 40 has turned about 90 degrees in a direction opposing the previous turning thereof in FIG. 9. In this position, the ring unit 40 is in a ready to use state. Also, the head 403b (i.e., the projection 403) is prevented from removing the small hole 224b since the tab 221a and the dent 403c are lockingly engaged together. Furthermore, the length L2 of the neck 403a larger than width of the channel “d” is perpendicular to the channel “d” and thus the neck 403c is prevented from passing the channel d. In the position of FIG. 10 or FIG. 11, the ring unit 40 is only permitted to turn for engaging a mouthpiece of the snorkel 10 with the mouth of a diver or disengaging the mouthpiece therewith. In other words, the ring unit 40 is in a ready to use state.

Note that the turning step shown in FIG. 9 can be omitted if the ring unit 40 has already turned 90 degrees to be perpendicular to the clip unit 20 as shown in FIGS. 7 and 8. Thus, the above assembly process can briefed as steps of aligning the projection 403 with the large hole 224a, pressing down the breathing tube 10 until being stopped, and turning the breathing tube 10 back to its operating position. For removing the breathing tube 10 from its operating state, the diver may use one hand to turn the breathing tube 10 about 90 degrees and pull same upward until the breathing tube 10 is disengaged with the mask strap retaining clip.

In view of the above, it is understood that the mask strap retaining clip of the invention can easily quickly assemble with the breathing tube 10 and the mask strap 30. This is accomplished by providing two easily assembled components (e.g., ring unit 40 and clip unit 20) and turning one component (e.g., the ring unit 40) about 90 degrees and pressing down same for assembling both components together. Disassembly of the mask strap retaining clip of the invention can also be done easily by traversing the steps in FIGS. 7 to 11 in the opposite direction.

While the invention herein disclosed has been described by means of specific embodiments, numerous modifications and variations could be made thereto by those skilled in the art without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention set forth in the claims.