Title:
Snorkel having flexible telescopically extendable breathing tube
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A snorkel includes a mouthpiece; a flexible breathing tube having a lower end formed with the mouthpiece and an upper open end for communicating air from the mouthpiece to the external; and a telescopic member securely put on the breathing tube. The breathing tube can be flexed and the telescopic member can be retracted so as to reduce the size of the snorkel for ease of carrying or storage. To the contrary, the telescopic member can be extended for disposing in a ready state.



Inventors:
Shiue, Chih-cheng (Escondido, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/607057
Publication Date:
06/05/2008
Filing Date:
12/01/2006
Assignee:
QDS Injection Molding LLC.
Primary Class:
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:
What is claimed is:

1. A snorkel comprising: a mouthpiece; a flexible breathing tube having a lower end formed with the mouthpiece and an upper open end for communicating air from the mouthpiece to the external; and a telescopic member securely put on the breathing tube.

2. The snorkel of claim 1, wherein the breathing tube comprises a lower portion, an intermediate portion, and an upper portion.

3. The snorkel of claim 2, wherein the telescopic member comprises a support section and one or more sliding sections, and wherein the innermost sliding section has an inner diameter slightly larger than an outer diameter of the upper portion.

4. The snorkel of claim 2, wherein the intermediate portion is shaped as a bellows.

5. The snorkel of claim 3, wherein the support section comprises a fastening member at its bottom, and wherein the upper portion comprises a mated fastening member at its bottom end adapted to secure to the fastening member.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of Invention

The present invention relates to snorkels and more particularly to such a snorkel having a flexible telescopically extendable breathing tube so that the breathing tube can be flexed and retracted so as to reduce the size of the snorkel for ease of carrying or storage.

2. Related Art

Conventionally, the breathing tube of a snorkel is relatively rigid in nature. That is, the breathing tube having both ends terminated from its upper end to a mouthpiece is rigid or substantially inflexible. Such rigid construction can facilitate air communication between air above the water level and the mouth of a diver while diving. However, it inevitably occupies a relatively large space when the snorkel is in a storage state. Further, a person may have some difficulties of carrying the snorkel. Thus, the need for improvement still exists.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a snorkel having a flexible telescopically extendable breathing tube so that the breathing tube either can be flexed and retracted for reducing the size of the snorkel for ease of carrying or storage or can be extended for disposing in a ready state.

To achieve the above and other objects, the present invention provides a snorkel comprising a mouthpiece; a flexible breathing tube having a lower end formed with the mouthpiece and an upper open end for communicating air from the mouthpiece to the external; and a telescopic member securely put on the breathing tube wherein the telescopic member is adapted to either retract to minimize its size in an inoperative state or extend to dispose in a ready state for facilitating air inhaling or exhaling through the breathing tube or expelling fluid from the breathing tube.

In one aspect of the present invention the telescopic member comprises a support section and one or more sliding sections such that the exposed portion of the breathing tube can be bent to minimize its occupied space after fully retracting the telescopic member.

In another aspect of the present invention the breathing tube comprises a lower portion secured to the support section for positioning, an intermediate portion, and an upper portion.

In a further aspect of the present invention the breathing tube is formed of a flexible material so that the breathing tube is adapted to bend for reducing its size in the inoperative state.

In yet further aspect of the present invention the intermediate portion of the breathing tube is shaped as a bellows.

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 an exploded perspective view of a preferred embodiment of snorkel according to the present invention where the snorkel is in a ready state with the breathing tube being fully extended;

FIG. 2 is a longitudinal sectional view of the snorkel;

FIG. 3 is a greatly enlarged view of the fully extended telescopic member;

FIG. 4 is a view similar to FIG. 3 where the telescopic member is fully retracted; and

FIG. 5 a perspective view of the bent snorkel in its storage state with the telescopic member being fully retracted.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to FIGS. 1 to 4, a snorkel in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention comprises a lower portion 10, an intermediate portion 20, an upper portion 30, and a telescopic member 40. Each component is discussed in detailed below.

The lower portion 10 comprises a well known mouthpiece 11 adapted to hold to the mouth. The lower portion 10 may further comprise a well known purge valve (not shown) in another embodiment.

The breathing tube of the snorkel is flexible and consists of the lower portion 10, the intermediate portion 20, and the upper portion 30 in cooperation with the telescopic member 40 in which the telescopic member 40 is securely telescopically put on the upper portion 30 as detailed below.

The intermediate portion 20 is flexible such that the mouthpiece 11 can be adapted to hold to the mouth of a diver by flexing the intermediate portion 20. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, while the intermediate portion 20 is shaped as a bellows in the embodiment, it is understood that the intermediate portion 20 may be formed to have a shape other than above without departing from the scope of the present invention.

The upper portion 30 is also flexible. For example, the upper portion 30 is formed of a flexible material (e.g., silicone). The upper portion 30 has a lower end integrally formed with an upper end of the intermediate portion 20. The upper portion 30 comprises a splash opening 31 at its upper end as air inlet or outlet, and two spaced annular flanges 32 on its lower end.

In short, the lower portion 10, the intermediate portion 20, and the upper portion 30 are flexible. Further, the telescopic member 40 is adapted to hold the upper portion 30 in shape.

The telescopic member 40 comprises a lower first section (i.e., support section) 41, an intermediate second section (i.e., outer sliding section) 42, and an upper third sliding section (i.e., inner sliding section) 43 in which the first section 41 has an inner diameter slightly larger than an outer diameter of the second section 42, the second 42 has an inner diameter slightly larger than an outer diameter of the third section 43, and the third section 43 has an inner diameter slightly larger than an outer diameter of the upper portion 30. The first section 41 comprises an annular trough 411 on its lower end securely engaged with the lower flange 32, an annular groove 412 proximate its upper end, and an outwardly extending rim (not numbered) on its upper end. The second section 42 comprises an outwardly extending rim 421 on its lower end, an annular groove 422 below its upper end, and an outwardly extending rim 423 on its upper end. The third section 43 comprises an outwardly extending rim 431 on its lower end and an outwardly extending rim 432 on its upper end.

As shown in FIGS. 1 to 3, in the fully extended state of the snorkel the outwardly extending rim 421 is lockingly engaged with the annular groove 412 after sliding the second section 42 upwardly a predetermined distance out of the first section 41 by moving along an inner wall of the first section 41. Likewise, the outwardly extending rim 431 is lockingly engaged with the annular groove 422 after sliding the third section 43 upwardly a predetermined distance out of the second section 42 by moving along an inner wall of the second section 42 and moving along an outer surface of the upper portion 30. A diver thus can use the fully extended snorkel for diving. Note that the provision of the grooves and rims can prevent one smaller section from removing completely out of the next larger section by sliding.

As shown in FIG. 4, for reducing the size of the snorkel to a minimum a diver may, for example, slide the second section 42 downwardly to disengage the outwardly extending rim 421 with the annular groove 412 prior to moving along an inner wall of the first section 41 until the lower end thereof is stopped by a bottom of the first section 41, and slide the third section 43 downwardly to disengage the outwardly extending rim 431 with the annular groove 422 prior to moving along an inner wall of the second section 42 and moving along an outer surface of the upper portion 30 until the lower end thereof is stopped by a bottom of the second section 42. The fully retracted telescopic member 40 is thus obtained.

Referring to FIG. 5 in conjunction with FIG. 1, the diver may first fully retract the telescopic member 40 as described above to expose more portions of the upper portion 30. Next, compress the intermediate portion 20. Finally, bend the upper portion 30 to engage the splash opening 31 with both the lower portion 10 and the intermediate portion 20. A snorkel has a minimum size is obtained and it is thus easy to carry or store.

While the present 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.