Title:
Latch for a Boat Storage Compartment Cover
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A latch assembly includes a housing assembly having a thru-bore, a handle assembly selectively pivotally engaged with the thru-bore of the housing assembly, wherein the handle assembly includes a handle and a base portion; and a catch assembly selectively engaged with the handle assembly, wherein the handle assembly selectively rotates about the catch assembly to latch and unlatch the latch assembly when the latch assembly is in a closed position.



Inventors:
Huddleston, Rick (Gassville, AR, US)
Application Number:
12/042885
Publication Date:
09/11/2008
Filing Date:
03/05/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
292/262
International Classes:
B63B19/24
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20080184923Brace for mounting of shrouds on the hull of a sailboatAugust, 2008Olsen
20110088607WATER JET PROPULSION WATERCRAFTApril, 2011Kobayashi et al.
20100071608Outrigger AppendageMarch, 2010Kline
20110092114ROTARY ENGINE JET BOATApril, 2011Mataya
20020195040Water craft, such as a boat or a shipDecember, 2002Mucke
20020025742Vehicle having improved fuel, lubrication and air intake systemsFebruary, 2002Berthiaume et al.
20090064917Kayak and Canoe seatMarch, 2009Mackereth
20080066670WATERCRAFT FLOTATION DEVICEMarch, 2008Wallach
20160016648Jet Ski LiftJanuary, 2016Siokos
20150059635BOW OF INFLATABLE BOATMarch, 2015Fritsch et al.
20020033127Mono hulled power boat convertible to twin or triple hulled operationMarch, 2002Barrett



Primary Examiner:
GALL, LLOYD A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MERCHANT & GOULD P.C. (MINNEAPOLIS, MN, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A latch assembly comprising a housing assembly having a thru-bore; a handle assembly selectively pivotally engaged with the thru-bore of the housing assembly, wherein the handle assembly includes a handle and a base portion; and a catch assembly selectively engaged with the handle assembly, wherein the handle assembly selectively rotates about the catch assembly to latch and unlatch the latch assembly when the latch assembly is in a closed position.

2. A latch assembly as claimed in claim 1, wherein the catch assembly includes a latch stud and a first and second nut-washer.

3. A latch assembly as claimed in claim 2, wherein the latch stud includes a latch surface.

4. A latch assembly as claimed in claim 3, wherein the base portion of the handle assembly includes a latch pin that is selectively engaged with the latch surface of the catch assembly.

5. A latch assembly as claimed in claim 3, wherein the latch stud includes an engaging surface that is angled toward the latch surface.

6. A latch assembly as claimed in claim 2, wherein the base portion defines an internal cavity having an open end.

7. A latch assembly as claimed in claim 6, wherein an end of the latch stud is disposed within the internal cavity of the base portion when the latch assembly is in a closed position.

8. A latch assembly as claimed in claim 1, wherein the handle includes a bifurcated end portion.

9. A latch assembly as claimed in claim 8, wherein the base portion includes an axial end portion adapted for engagement with the bifurcated end portion of the handle.

10. A latch assembly as claimed in claim 9, wherein the handle of the handle assembly selectively pivots relative to the base portion.

11. A latch assembly as claimed in claim 1, wherein the housing assembly includes a lock assembly having a crook pivotally mounted to the housing assembly.

12. A latch assembly as claimed in claim 1, wherein an outer surface of the housing assembly includes a plurality of ribs.

13. A boat storage compartment latch assembly comprising a housing assembly having a thru-bore; a handle assembly pivotally engaged with the thru-bore of the housing assembly having a handle, a base portion, and a latch pin; and a catch assembly selectively engaged with the latch pin of the handle assembly, wherein the latch pin of the handle assembly selectively rotates about the catch assembly to latch and unlatch the latch assembly when the latch assembly is in a closed position.

14. A boat storage compartment latch assembly as claimed in claim 13, wherein the catch assembly includes a latch stud and a first and second nut-washer.

15. A boat storage compartment latch assembly as claimed in claim 14, wherein the latch stud includes a latch surface.

16. A boat storage compartment latch assembly as claimed in claim 15, wherein the latch pin of the base portion is selectively engaged with the latch surface of the catch assembly.

17. A boat storage compartment latch assembly as claimed in claim 15, wherein the latch stud includes an engaging surface that is angled toward the latch surface.

18. A boat storage compartment latch assembly as claimed in claim 14, wherein the base portion defines an internal cavity having an open end.

19. A boat storage compartment latch assembly as claimed in claim 18, wherein the latch pin is disposed in the internal cavity of the base portion.

20. A boat storage compartment latch assembly as claimed in claim 19, wherein an end of the latch stud is disposed within the internal cavity of the base portion when the latch assembly is in a closed position.

21. A boat storage compartment latch assembly as claimed in claim 13, wherein the handle includes a bifurcated end portion.

22. A boat storage compartment latch assembly as claimed in claim 21, wherein the base portion includes an axial end portion adapted for engagement with the bifurcated end portion of the handle.

23. A boat storage compartment latch assembly as claimed in claim 22, wherein the handle of the handle assembly selectively pivots relative to the base portion.

24. A boat storage compartment latch assembly as claimed in claim 13, wherein the housing assembly includes a lock assembly having a crook pivotally mounted to the housing assembly.

25. A boat storage compartment latch assembly as claimed in claim 13, wherein an outer surface of the housing assembly includes a plurality of ribs.

26. A boat storage compartment assembly comprising a boat deck defining a boat storage compartment and a water channel disposed around the boat storage compartment; a cover for selectively covering the boat storage compartment, wherein the cover includes an opening and is hingedly connected to the boat storage compartment; a latch assembly for selectively securing the cover to the boat storage compartment, wherein the latch assembly includes: a housing assembly mounted in the opening of the cover, wherein the housing assembly includes a thru-bore; a handle assembly pivotally engaged with the thru-bore of the housing assembly; and a catch assembly mounted to the water channel and being selectively engaged with the handle assembly, wherein the handle assembly selectively rotates about the catch assembly to latch and unlatch the latch assembly when the latch assembly is in a closed position.

27. A boat storage compartment assembly as claimed in claim 26, wherein the catch assembly includes a latch stud and a first and second nut-washer.

28. A boat storage compartment assembly as claimed in claim 27, wherein the latch stud includes a latch surface.

29. A boat storage compartment assembly as claimed in claim 28, wherein the base portion of the handle assembly includes a latch pin that is selectively engaged with the latch surface of the catch assembly.

30. A boat storage compartment assembly as claimed in claim 28, wherein the latch stud includes an engaging surface that is angled toward the latch surface.

31. A boat storage compartment assembly as claimed in claim 27, wherein the base portion defines an internal cavity having an open end.

32. A boat storage compartment assembly as claimed in claim 31, wherein an end of the latch stud is disposed within the internal cavity of the base portion when the latch assembly is in a closed position.

33. A boat storage compartment assembly as claimed in claim 26, wherein the handle includes a bifurcated end portion.

34. A boat storage compartment assembly as claimed in claim 33, wherein the base portion includes an axial end portion adapted for engagement with the bifurcated end portion of the handle.

35. A boat storage compartment assembly as claimed in claim 34, wherein the handle of the handle assembly selectively pivots relative to the base portion.

36. A boat storage compartment assembly as claimed in claim 26, wherein the housing assembly includes a lock assembly having a crook pivotally mounted to the housing assembly.

37. A boat storage compartment assembly as claimed in claim 26, wherein an outer surface of the housing assembly includes a plurality of ribs.

38. A boat storage compartment assembly as claimed in claim 25, wherein the cover includes a plurality of notches, each of which are engaged with one of the plurality of ribs of the housing assembly.

39. A boat storage compartment assembly as claimed in claim 26, further comprising a seal that surround the boat storage compartment, wherein the cover engages the seal when the cover is closed.

40. A boat storage compartment assembly as claimed in claim 39, wherein the latch assembly is disposed over the water channel and outside of an area enclosed by the seal when the cover is closed.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/905,335 filed Mar. 5, 2007, which application is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to storage lockers for boats, and more particularly, to a latch mechanism for such storage lockers.

BACKGROUND

Boats often include lockers for storage, livewells, rod holders and other uses. Often, lockers are formed in the deck of the boat to take advantage of space between the deck and the hull that would otherwise not be used. The lids of deck lockers also serve as part of the deck and must be sturdy enough to support people walking on the deck, as well as preferably protecting the interiors of the lockers from excessive water entry. Lockers can have locking mechanisms to protect against accidental opening of the lids or theft of items stored in the lockers.

Known latches provide secure fastening of lids to deck lockers in a closed position to protect the contents of the locker. While the lid may seal the edges of the opening providing access into the deck locker, the latches include components that extend through the lid thereby providing paths for water that accumulates in the latch recess to enter the interior of the locker.

SUMMARY

An aspect of the disclosure relates to a latch assembly that includes a housing assembly with a thru-bore, a handle assembly, which is selectively pivotally engaged with the thru-bore of the housing assembly and includes a handle and a base portion, and a catch assembly that is selective engaged with the handle assembly. The handle assembly selectively rotates about the catch assembly to latch and unlatch the latch assembly when the latch assembly is in a closed position.

Another aspect of the disclosure relates to a boat storage compartment assembly. The boat storage compartment assembly includes a boat deck that defines a boat storage compartment and a water channel disposed around the boat storage compartment. The boat storage compartment defines a cover that selectively covers a compartment. The cover includes an opening and is hingedly connected to the boat storage compartment. The boat storage compartment assembly also includes a latch assembly for selectively securing the cover to the boat storage compartment. The latch assembly includes a housing assembly mounted in the opening of the cover, wherein the housing assembly includes a thru-bore, a handle assembly pivotally engaged with the thru-bore of the housing assembly, and a catch assembly mounted to the water channel and selectively engaged with the handle assembly. The handle assembly selectively rotates about the catch assembly to latch and unlatch the latch assembly when the latch assembly is in the closed position. In addition, the boat storage compartment assembly further includes a seal that surrounds the boat storage compartment, wherein the cover engages the seal when the cover is closed. In addition, the latch assembly is disposed over the water channel and outside of an area enclosed by the seal when the cover is closed.

A variety of additional inventive aspects will be set forth in the description that follows. The inventive aspects can relate to individual features and to combinations of features. It is to be understood that both the forgoing general description and the following detailed description are exemplary and explanatory only and are not restrictive of the broad inventive concepts upon which the embodiments disclosed herein are based.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings are included to provide a further understanding of the present invention and are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification. The drawings illustrate exemplary embodiments of the present invention and together with the description serve to further explain the principles of the invention. Other aspects of the present invention and many of the attendant advantages of the present invention will be readily appreciated as the present invention becomes better understood by reference to the following Detailed Description when considered in connection with the accompanying drawings, and wherein:

FIG. 1 is a top view of a boat showing prior art deck compartments, locker lids have been omitted to more clearly show the compartments.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a latch assembly made in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a handle assembly of a latch assembly made in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 4 is an exploded perspective view of a handle assembly of a latch assembly made in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a perspective cross-sectional view of a handle assembly of a latch assembly made in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a housing assembly of a latch assembly made in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 7 is an exploded perspective view of a housing assembly of a latch assembly made in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a housing of a housing assembly made in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the underside of a housing of a housing assembly made in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 10 is a perspective cross-sectional view of a housing assembly of a latch assembly made in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of a catch assembly of a latch assembly made in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 12 is an exploded perspective view of a catch assembly of a latch assembly made in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 13 is a perspective cross-sectional view of a catch assembly of a latch assembly made in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 14 is a perspective cross-sectional of a latch assembly shown in the latched position and made in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 15 is a perspective cross-sectional of a latch assembly shown in the unlatched position and made in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 16 is a perspective fragmentary view of a deck locker with a latch assembly made in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 17 is a top view of a cover of a boat storage compartment made in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 18 is a cross-sectional view of a latch assembly mounted to a cover of a boat storage compartment in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 19 is a perspective view of a handle assembly and a lock assembly of a latch assembly made in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 20 is a perspective view of a crook of a lock assembly of a latch assembly made in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 21 is a perspective view of a handle assembly and a crook of a latch assembly made in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 22 is a perspective cross-sectional view of latch assembly shown in the closed, latched, and locked position and made in accordance with the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Reference will now be made in detail to the exemplary aspects of the present invention that are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. Whenever possible, the same reference numbers will be used throughout the drawings to refer to the same or like parts.

In pleasure and fishing boats, such as prior art boat 10 shown in FIG. 1, often a plurality of boat storage compartments 12 (shown without covers) are included in a deck 14 to take advantage of space between deck 14 and hull 16 for storage. Bulky items such as life jackets, mooring lines, anchors and anchor rode, and other gear may be stored within such boat storage compartments 12. Also, some boat storage compartments 12 may be adapted for storing long or awkwardly sized and shaped items, such as fishing rods and other water sports equipment (skis, wakeboards, etc.) below deck level to keep deck 14 generally free of clutter and provide a safe, secure storage area.

Referring now to FIG. 2, a latch assembly, generally designated 18, for a boat storage compartment 12 is shown. The latch assembly 18 includes a handle assembly, generally designated 20, a housing assembly, generally designated 22, and a catch assembly, generally designated 24, each of which will be described in greater detail subsequently.

Referring now to FIGS. 3, 4, and 5, the handle assembly 20 will be described. The handle assembly 20 includes a handle, generally designated 26, a base portion, generally designated 28, a handle pin 30, and a latch pin 32. In the subject embodiment, the handle 26 includes a gripping portion 34 and a bifurcated end portion 36. The gripping portion 34 of the handle 26 includes an opening 38 through which a user's fingers may be inserted for operation of the handle 26. The bifurcated end portion 36 includes handle pin holes 40, which will be described in more detail subsequently.

In the subject embodiment, the base portion 28 of the handle assembly 20 includes a first axial end portion 42 and a second axial end portion 44. The first axial end portion 42 is adapted to fit within the bifurcated end portion 36 of the handle 26. The first axial end portion 42 includes a pin hole 46 that is positioned such that when the first axial end portion 42 is inserted into the bifurcated end portion 36 of the handle 26, the pin hole 46 of the base portion 28 is aligned with the handle pin holes 40 of the handle 26. As shown in FIG. 3, the handle pin 30 is inserted through the handle pin hole 40 of the handle 26 and the pin hole 46 of the base portion 28 so as to provide a pivotal engagement between the handle 26 and the base portion 28. In the preferred embodiment, the pin hole 46 is slightly larger than the handle pin holes 40 so that the pin 30 is held in tight engagement with the handle 26 but is allowed to rotate within the pin hole 46 of the base portion. The pivotal engagement between the handle 26 and the base portion 28 allows the handle 26 to be positioned in a vertical or upright position, such as when the handle is in use by an operator, or in a horizontal or stored position, such as when the handle 26 is not in use.

The second axial end portion 44 of the base portion 28 includes a surface 48 that is generally perpendicular to an axis 50 through the center of the base portion 28, a shoulder 52, and an outer surface 54. Disposed in the outer surface 54 of the second axial end portion 44 is an annular groove 56, which will be described in greater detail subsequently, and a latch pin hole 58 (best shown in FIG. 3). In the subject embodiment, the latch pin hole 58 extends through the second axial end portion 44 of the base portion 28 and is offset from the axis 50 of the base portion 28 by a desired distance. The latch pin hole 58 is adapted to be in tight fit engagement with the latch pin 32.

As shown in FIG. 5, the second axial end portion 44 of the base portion 28 of the handle assembly 20 defines an internal cavity 60 having an open end 62. The second axial end portion 44 further defines a plurality of slots 64 that extend into the second axial end portion 44. The purpose of the slots 64 will be described subsequently.

Referring now to FIGS. 6-10, the housing assembly 22 will be described. The housing assembly 22 includes a housing, generally designated 66, a base plate 68, and a lock assembly, generally designated 70. In the subject embodiment, the housing 66 is generally cylindrical. The housing 66 includes a first end region 72, a mid-region 74, and a second end region 76. The first end region 72 has a slightly larger outer diameter than the mid-region 74. As a result of this difference in outer diameters between the first end region 72 and the mid-region 74, the first end region 72 defines a first shoulder 78. In the subject embodiment, the second end region 76 protrudes from the mid-region 74 and has a smaller outer diameter than the outer diameter of the mid-region 74. As a result of this difference in outer diameters between the second end region 76 and the mid-region 74, a second shoulder 80 is defined.

An interior cavity 82 is defined by the first end region 72 and the mid-region 74 of the housing 66. As shown in FIG. 1, the interior cavity 82 is sized such that the handle 26 can fit within the interior cavity 82 when the handle is in the horizontal or stored position. The mid-region 74 of the housing 66 further defines a plurality of longitudinal ribs 84 disposed about the outer surface of the mid-region 74, the purpose of which will be described subsequently.

The housing 66 also defines a thru-bore 86, which opens into the cavity 82 and extends axially through the second end region 76, a rim 88 disposed about the thru-bore 86, and a lock opening 90 having a lock slot 92 that opens into the thru-bore 86. The lock opening 90 houses the components of the lock assembly 70 and will be described in greater detail subsequently.

The second end region 76 of the housing 66 defines a hole 94 that is adapted to receive a retaining pin 96, which is shown disposed in the hole 94 in FIGS. 8-10. As will be described in greater detail subsequently, the retaining pin 96 is designed to retain the handle assembly 20 in the housing assembly 22 yet allow for pivotal movement of the handle assembly 20 relative to the housing assembly 22.

Referring now primarily to FIGS. 7 and 9, the base plate 68 includes a thru-hole 98 and a plurality of mounting holes 100. The thru-hole 98 is sized so that the second end region 76 of the housing 66 can be inserted through the base plate 68. With the second end region 76 of the housing 66 inserted through the base plate 68, the base plate 68 is mounted to the housing 66 by a plurality of fasteners 102. The plurality of fasteners 102 are inserted through the mounting holes 100 in the base plate and threaded into threaded-mounting holes 104 in the second shoulder 80 of the housing 66. Therefore, the base plate 68 abuts the second shoulder 80 of the housing 66. As the outer diameter of the base plate 68 is larger than outer diameter of the mid-region 74 of the housing 66, a lip 106 is formed when the base plate 68 is in threaded engagement with the housing 66.

Referring now to FIGS. 11-13, the catch assembly 24 will be described. The catch assembly 24 includes a latch stud, generally designated 108, a first nut-washer 110 and a second nut-washer 112. The latch stud 108 is generally cylindrical in shape and includes a shank 114, a latch portion 116, and a threaded portion 118, wherein the latch portion 116 and the threaded portion 118 are disposed on opposite ends of the latch stud 108 and are separated by a flange 120. The latch portion 116 is defined by a protrusion that extends from the outer surface of the shank 114 of the latch stud 108. In the subject embodiment, the latch portion 116 extends about or less than 270 degrees around the shank 114 of the latch stud 108. The latch portion 116 includes a latch surface 122, which is generally planar, and an engaging surface 124, which is generally angled downward toward the flat surface 122. The purpose of the latch surface 122 and the engaging surface 124 of the catch assembly 24 will be described subsequently.

The first nut-washer 110 and the second nut-washer 112 each have a set of internal threads 126, 128 (shown only in FIG. 13), respectively, which allow the first and second nut-washers 110, 112 to be in threaded engagement with the threaded portion 118 of the latch stud 108. The first and second nut-washers 110, 112 have a multi-purpose in the latch assembly 18. First, the first and second nut-washers 110, 112 retain the latch stud 108 in a surface such as the deck 14 of the boat 10 (as shown in FIG. 16). Second, rotation of the first and second nut-washers 110, 112 adjusts the height of the latch stud 108. Third, the first and second nut-washers 110, 112 allow for the accommodation of different surface thicknesses to which the catch assembly 24 is mounted.

Referring now to FIGS. 14-16, the assembled latch assembly 18 will be described. As shown in FIG. 14, the base portion 28 of the handle assembly 20 is inserted into the thru-bore 86 of the housing assembly 22 until the shoulder 52 of the base portion 28 abuts the rim 88 surrounding the thru-bore 86 of the housing assembly 22. With the base portion 28 of the handle assembly 20 inserted into the thru-bore 86 of the housing assembly 22, the hole 94 through the second end region 44 of the housing assembly is tangentially aligned with the annular groove 56 in the base portion 28. After the base portion 28 is fully inserted into the housing assembly 22, the retaining pin 96 is inserted through the hole 94. At some point along the length of the hole 94, the retaining pin tangentially engages the annular groove 56 of the base portion 28. This tangential engagement between the pin 96 and the annular groove 56 allows the handle assembly 20 to pivot about the center of the thru-bore 86 yet not allow for any axial movement of the handle assembly 20 with respect to the housing assembly 22.

In operation, the latch assembly 18 can be in a closed or opened position and a latched or unlatched position. In the closed position, the catch assembly 24 is disposed relative to the handle assembly 20 and the housing assembly 22 such that the base portion 28 of the handle assembly 20 rotates about the catch assembly 24. The height of the catch assembly 24 is adjusted through the rotation of the first and second nut-washers 110, 112 so that in the latched position the latch pin 32 is disposed beneath the latch portion 116 of the latch stud 108, which is disposed in the internal cavity 60 of the handle assembly 20 when the latch assembly 18 is in the closed position. In the open position, the handle assembly 20 and the housing assembly 22 are separated from the catch assembly 24 such that the latch portion 116 of the latch stud 108 is not in the internal cavity 60. In addition to these two positions, the handle assembly 20 can be rotated about the center of the thru-bore 86 to either latch or unlatch the latch assembly 18 when the latch assembly 18 is in the closed position.

Referring now to FIGS. 14 and 15, the latched and unlatched positions of the latch assembly 18 are shown, respectively. In the latched position shown in FIG. 14, the base portion 28 of the handle assembly 20 is positioned in the thru-bore 86 of the housing assembly 22 such that the latch pin 32 is disposed beneath the flat surface 122 of the latch portion 116 of the latch stud 108. As the catch assembly 24 is separately mounted from the handle assembly 20 and the housing assembly 22, the handle assembly 20 and the housing assembly 22 are unable to be separated from the catch assembly 24. In order to unlatch the latch assembly 18, the handle 26 is pivoted about the handle pin 30 so that the handle 26 is in the upright or vertical position. The handle assembly 26 is then rotated about the center of the thru-bore 86. During this rotation of the handle assembly 26, the latch pin 32 rotates around the catch assembly 24. In the subject embodiment, the handle assembly 26 is rotated about 180 degrees. In this position, as shown in FIG. 15, the latch pin 32 is no longer disposed beneath the flat surface 122 of the latch portion 116 of the catch assembly 24. Therefore, in this position, the handle assembly 20 and the housing assembly 22 can be separated from the catch assembly 24. With the latch assembly 18 in the unlatched position (shown in FIG. 15), the handle 26 can be used to separate the handle assembly 20 and the housing assembly 22. In order to latch the latch assembly 18, the latch assembly 18 is closed such that the latch portion 116 of the catch assembly 24 is disposed in the internal cavity 60 of the handle assembly. The handle assembly 20 is then rotated about the center of the thru-bore 86. As the handle assembly 20 is rotated about the center of the thru-bore 86, the latch pin 32 disposed in the base portion 28 of the handle assembly 20 rotates around the catch assembly 24 and engages the engaging surface 124 of the latch stud 108. As previously described, the engaging surface is angled downward toward the flat surface 122. Therefore, as the latch pin 32 engages the engaging surface 124 of the latch stud 108, the handle assembly 20, the housing assembly 22, and the surface to which the housing assembly 22 is mounted are pulled toward the catch assembly 24. Thus, the angled engaging surface 124 of the catch assembly 24 and the latch pin 32 of the handle assembly 20 provide for a more secure engagement between the handle and housing assembly 20, 22 and the catch assembly.

Referring now to FIGS. 16-18, the latch assembly 18 will be described in relation to the boat storage compartment 12. The deck 14 defines a boat storage compartment 12 that includes a compartment 200 and a cover 202, wherein the cover 202 is hingedly connected to the boat storage compartment 12 for selectively covering the compartment 200. The deck 14 further defines a water channel 206, which is disposed around all sides of the boat storage compartment 12. The water channel 206 directs water that passes around the edges of cover 202 away from the opening of the compartment 200 so that the water does not enter the compartment 200. Any water in the water channel 206 flows into the hull 16 of the boat 10 where the water is pumped out by a bilge pump (not shown). A raised lip 208 having a groove 210 is provided on each side of the water channel 206. Disposed in the groove 210 is a seal 212. The seal 212 prevents water in the water channel 206 from entering the compartment 204 between the cover 202 and the raised lip 208 of the deck 14.

The latch assembly 18 is provided to secure the cover 202 to the boat storage compartment 12 when the cover 202 is in the closed position. In the subject embodiment, the handle assembly 20 and the housing 66 are inserted in a generally cylindrical opening 216 in the cover 202. The cylindrical opening 216 includes a plurality of notches 217 (shown in FIG. 18) that engage the ribs 84 of the housing 66. This engagement between the notches in the cover 212 and the ribs 84 on the housing 66 prevent the housing assembly 22 from rotating relative to the cover 212. The housing 66 is inserted into the cylindrical opening 216 until the first shoulder 78 of the housing 66 abuts a top surface 218 of the cover 212. With the first shoulder 78 abutting the top surface 218 of the cover 212, the base plate 68 is installed to the housing 66. With the base plate 68 mounted to the housing 66, the lip 106 of the housing assembly 22 abuts the bottom surface 220 of the cover 202. Thus, the lip 106 and the first shoulder 78 of the housing assembly 22 axially retain the housing assembly 22 in the cover 202 while the ribs 84 and the notches (not shown) rotationally retain the housing assembly 22 in the cover 202. The housing assembly 22 is positioned in the cover 202 such that the housing assembly is disposed over the water channel 206.

The catch assembly 24 is mounted in the water channel 206 in the deck 14 so as to be about coaxial with the axis 50 of the base portion 28 of the handle assembly 20 when the latch assembly 18 is in the closed position. In the subject embodiment, the coaxial location of the catch assembly 24 to the base portion 28 of the handle assembly allows the latch portion 116 of the latch stud 108 to be disposed in the internal cavity 60 of the handle assembly 20 when the cover 202 is in a closed position. To mount the catch assembly 24 to the water channel 206, the first nut-washer 110 is disposed against a top surface 222 of the water channel 206 while the second nut-washer 112 is disposed against a bottom surface 224 of the water channel 206.

FIG. 17 illustrates a top view of the cover 202 having the latch assembly 18. As shown in the figure, the seal 212 (shown in dashed lines) surrounds the compartment 200. One advantage of the present invention is that the entire latch assembly 18 is disposed outside of the area enclosed by the seal 212 when the cover 202 of the boat storage compartment 12 is closed. This configuration prevents water from entering the compartment 200 through small openings between the cover 202 and the latch assembly 18.

As previously stated, the seal 212 prevents water from entering the compartment 200 when the cover is in the closed position. However, in order for the seal to function effectively, the cover 202 must be in tight engagement with the raised lip 208 of the deck 14. An advantage of the present invention is that the engaging surface 124 of the catch assembly 24 assists in providing tight sealing engagement between the cover 202 and the raise lip 208. As previously described, as the handle assembly 20 is rotated about the center of the thru-bore 86, the latch pin 32 engages the engaging surface 124 of the catch assembly 24. The downward angled engaging surface 124 draws the cover 202 toward the raised lip 208 and seal 212 until the latch pin 32 is beneath the flat surface 122 of the latch portion 116. Therefore, by drawing the cover 202 toward the raised lip 208 and seal 212, the latch assembly 18 provides for tighter sealing engagement between the cover 202 and the raised lip 208.

Referring now to FIGS. 19-22, a further aspect of the present invention will be described. FIG. 17 shows the interaction between the handle assembly 20 and the lock assembly 70. As stated previously, the lock assembly 70 is disposed in the lock opening 90 of the housing 66. However, for ease of description, the housing 66 is not shown in FIG. 17. The lock assembly 70 includes a conventional lock cylinder 130, which has a key slot 132 and a lock protrusion 134, and a crook 136. Referring now primarily to FIG. 18, the crook 136 has a first end 138, which in the subject embodiment is generally rectangular in shape, and a second end 140, which has a pivot opening 142. A fastener 144 is disposed through the pivot opening 142 and secured to the housing 66 with a nut 146 (shown in FIG. 21). The fastener 144 and nut 146 prevent the crook 136 from becoming dislodged from the housing 66, but allow the crook 136 to freely pivot about the center of the pivot opening 142.

In operation, when the cover 202 of the boat storage compartment 12 is closed and the latch assembly 18 is in the closed and latched position described above, one of the plurality of slots 64 in the second end region 44 of the base portion 28 is aligned with the first end 138 of the crook 136. A key 148 (shown only in FIG. 16) is inserted into the key slot 132 of the lock cylinder 130 and rotated. The rotation of the key 148 causes the lock protrusion 134 to rotate. During this rotation, the lock protrusion 134 will contact the crook 136. The exterior surface of the crook 136 is designed such that as the lock protrusion is in contact with the crook 136 and rotates about the center of the lock cylinder 130, the engagement of the lock protrusion 134 and the crook 136 causes the crook 136 to pivot about the center of the pivot opening 142. Referring now to FIG. 20, with the latch assembly 18 in the closed and latched position, the first end 138 of the crook 136 will enter the slot 64 in the second axial end portion 44 of the base protrusion 28. The engagement between the first end 138 of the crook 136 and the slot 64 of the base portion 28 of the handle assembly 20, prevents the handle assembly 20 from being rotated about the center of the thru-bore 86 in the housing assembly 22. In other words, the handle assembly 20 is locked in place, thereby preventing the latch assembly 18 from being unlatched in order to open the cover 202 of the deck locker 14.

Various modifications and alterations of this invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art without departing from the scope and spirit of this invention, and it should be understood that this invention is not to be unduly limited to the illustrative embodiments set forth herein.