Title:
Dock line server
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A dock line server (1) attachable to a conventional line pole (3) for use in maintaining a loop (8) in a dock line (3) in a horizontal configuration to facilitate placement of the dock line over a mooring piling (9) or cleat when docking a boat. The frame of the server has a pair of prongs (5) which are connected at a proximal end (20) and spaced apart a predetermined distance to form an opening at a distal end (19). At least one pair of horseshoe-shaped clips (6) on top of each prong holds the dock line in a horizontal, open loop configuration during docking. A pair of spacers (7) on each prong may also be used to hold the middle of the loop in a fully open position. The dock line server is preferably hollow and made of lightweight material, such as aluminum.



Inventors:
Follmer, Edward A. (Naples, FL, US)
Application Number:
11/355437
Publication Date:
08/16/2007
Filing Date:
02/16/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B63B21/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
OLSON, LARS A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LIVINGSTON LOEFFLER, P.A. (NAPLES, FL, US)
Claims:
Having thus described my invention, I claim:

1. A dock line server attachable to a pole, said server comprising: a frame having a pair of prongs spaced apart a predetermined distance to form an opening at a distal end, said prongs being connected at a proximal end; at least one pair of line-holding clips on top of each prong near the distal end of each prong; at least one pair of line-holding clips on the top near the proximal end of the prong; and a pole attachment at the proximal end of the prongs.

2. The dock line server of claim 1 further comprising: at least one pair of spacers between the distal and proximal ends on the top of the prongs.

3. The dock line server of claim 1 further comprising: an attachment at the proximal end of the prongs for securing the server to a conventional telescoping line pole.

4. The dock line server of claim 2 further comprising: an attachment at the proximal end of the prongs for securing the server to a conventional telescoping line pole.

5. The dock line server of claim 1 wherein the prongs are tubular.

6. The dock line server of claim 5 wherein the distal ends of the prongs are sealed by an end cap.

7. The dock line server of claim 2 wherein the spacers are comprised of round pegs extending vertically upward a distance in excess of the width of a boat line.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to boat line handling apparatuses and, more particularly, an apparatus that retains the end of a boat dock line in a loop to facilitate placing the line about a mooring piling or cleat while docking.

During the process of docking a boat, especially when there is no one on the dock to assist, a loop in the dock line must be placed over a piling or cleat to secure the boat. The latter process is often difficult and hazardous, especially in windy or rough weather conditions. The difficulty in performing the task is primarily due to the problem of maintaining a loop in the line in the proper open configuration and horizontal orientation in relation to the mooring piling. The end of the dock line needs to be in a substantially open-loop configuration and horizontal orientation to be easily placed over a mooring piling or cleat.

Conventionally, one method of securing a loop in the dock line to a piling is to throw or lasso it around the piling. Unfortunately, in order to lasso a line over a piling one usually must make several attempts often without success. Another conventional method of securing the mooring line to a piling is to hold the loop with a standard line pole and try to place it over the top of the mooring piling. However if the loop is not maintained in the proper horizontal orientation and open configuration, this method is often not successful either. Thus, due to the inefficiency and lack of success of using conventional methods to secure a dock line to the mooring piling, boats may be damaged or people injured during the docking process.

Thus, a need exists for an apparatus which is capable of performing the docking line securing process in an efficient and safe manner.

The prior art includes many inventions which attempt to resolve the above problem in the docking process discussed above, but none exactly like the present invention. The pertinent prior art known to the inventor at this time is as follows:

The relevant prior art includes the following patents:

U.S. Pat. No.
(U.S. unless stated otherwise)InventorIssue Date
5,779,602TrilloSep. 1, 1998
5,669,748Linskey, Jr. et al.Dec. 23, 1997
5,009,181UpchurchApr. 23, 1991
3,677,597StipekJul. 18, 1972
4,635,986JohnsJan. 13, 1987
5,116,260UpchurchMay 26, 1992
5,003,907Roach et al.Apr. 2, 1991
3,945,335KratzMar. 23, 1976

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The primary objects of the invention are to provide an apparatus that:

    • holds a dock line in an open loop configuration for placement over a mooring piling;
    • maintains a dock line loop in a horizontal orientation to allow easy positioning on a mooring piling;
    • enables a person on board a boat to easily and quickly secure the lines to dock pilings without assistance from anyone on a dock;
    • can be attached to and used with conventional telescoping line poles;
    • reduces the likelihood of damage to boats, pilings or docks
    • reduces the likelihood of injury to boaters from accidents due to personal contact with pilings and docks or from falling off a boat when attempting to secure the dock line to the mooring piling; reduces stress and humiliation caused by repeated attempts to dock boat in a safe, timely, and professional manner.
    • enables a watercraft to be docked using fewer crew members due to more positive and faster control of dock lines.

The present invention accomplishes the above and other objects by providing a dock line server having a frame consisting of a pair of prongs which are a spaced apart a predetermined distance sufficient to fit over and around a mooring piling. The prongs are open at a distal end and are connected together at a proximal end. The prongs have at least one holding clip on top of the distal end of each prong and at least one holding clip at the proximal end in order to hold a loop in a dock line in an open configuration and horizontal orientation. In order to further assist in maintaining the loop in an open configuration the prongs may also have at least one pair of spacers attached to the top of each prong between the distal end and proximal end. The dock line server of the present invention has a line pole attachment at the proximal end with a spring button to allow it to be attached conveniently to a telescoping line pole.

The above and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention should become even more readily apparent to those skilled in the art upon a reading of the following detailed description in conjunction with the drawings wherein there is shown and described illustrative embodiments of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the following detailed description, reference will be made to the attached drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is perspective view of the dock line server of the present invention in use;

FIG. 2 is a side view of the dock line server of the present invention attached to a conventional telescoping line pole;

FIG. 3 is a top view of the dock line server of the present invention by itself with a dock line shown in dotted fashion; and

FIG. 4 is a distal end view of the dock line server of the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

For purposes of describing the preferred embodiment, the terminology used in reference to the numbered components in the drawings is as follows:

1.invention (dock line server)
2.line pole
3.dock line
4.connector
5.prongs of server
6.distal end line-holding clips
7.line spacers
8.line loop
9.mooring piling
10.proximal end line holding
clip
11.person
12.boat
13.water
14.prong end caps
15.spring button
16.pole grip
17.line loop knot
18.line pole attachment
19.distal end
20.proximal end

Referring First to FIG. 1, the dock line server 1 is shown attached to a conventional line pole 2 in use by a person 11 on a boat 12 in the water 13 while placing the dock line 3 on a mooring piling 9. As further illustrated in FIG. 1 and in more detail in FIGS. 2, 3, and 4, the dock line server 1 has two prongs 5, which are connected at a proximal end 20 by a connector 4. The prongs 5 of server are spaced apart a sufficient predetermined distance to form an opening at a distal end 19 so that it fits around the piling 9. Different sizes of the dock line server may be made depending on the width of the dock line and the pilings used to dock a boat which may vary with the size of the boat, that is, the larger the boat the larger the lines and the mooring pilings.

On the top side of each prong 5 of the dock line server 1 is located at least one horseshoe-shaped clip 6 near the distal end 19 and at least one clip 10 at the proximal end 20 of the line loop knot 17 to hold a dock line 3 in an open loop configuration. Furthermore, at least one pair of spacers 7 may be located on the top side each prong 5 intermediate the distal end 19 and proximal end 20 to maintain an intermediate portion of the loop 8 in a fully open position. The spacers 7 may be round pegs which extend upward a sufficient distance from the top of the prong, that distance being at least equal thickness of the dock line 3.

As shown in more detail in FIGS. 2, 3, and 4 the prongs 5 of the dock line server 1 are connected together at the proximal end 20 by a connector 4 which in turn has a line pole attachment 18. The pole attachment 18 may inserted into a conventional line pole 2 and secured in place by a spring button 15 located near the distal end of the pole 2. As shown in FIG. 2, the conventional line pole 2 to which the dock line server 1 may be attached is preferably telescoping in nature with various telescoping lengths secured to each other at a desired length by spring buttons 15 at the ends of each pole section. The conventional line pole 2 preferably has a rubber grip 16 at the end for enabling the pole 2 to be held more firmly by a person 11. The prongs 5 of the dock line server 1 are preferably hollow and tubular and made of a lightweight non-corrosive metal, such as aluminum.

Although only a few embodiments of the present invention have been described in detail hereinabove, all improvements and modifications to this invention within the scope or equivalents of the claims are included as part of this invention.