Title:
Partially flooding spar buoy
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A partially flooding buoy includes a buoy body having a substantially cylindrical shape defining a cavity therein and a mooring mechanism attached to the buoy body to allow the buoy to be moored. The partially flooding buoy can be partially flooded with water after the buoy is deployed. The cavity is adapted to accommodate ballast therein. The buoy also includes at least one handle to allow more convenient handling of the buoy, wherein the handle is an opening formed within the buoy body.



Inventors:
Gilman, Richard (Gilman, CT, US)
Application Number:
11/717410
Publication Date:
09/18/2008
Filing Date:
03/13/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B63B22/20
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
AVILA, STEPHEN P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
McCormick, Paulding & Huber, PLLC (Hartford, CT, US)
Claims:
1. A buoy comprising: a buoy body defining a cavity therein, said buoy body having two ends with each end having an opening; and a mooring mechanism attached to the buoy body to allow the buoy to be moored; wherein the cavity can be flooded with water after the buoy is deployed.

2. The buoy according to claim 1 wherein the cavity is a substantially cylindrical opening passing through the buoy body.

3. The buoy according to claim 1 wherein the cavity is adapted to accommodate ballast therein.

4. The buoy body according to claim 1 wherein the buoy includes at least one flooding opening to allow water to pass therethrough into the cavity.

5. The buoy according to claim 4 wherein the at least one flooding opening is formed within the buoy body.

6. The buoy according to claim 5 wherein the at least one flooding opening is formed within a lower portion of the buoy body to be submerged under water.

7. The buoy according to claim 1 wherein the mooring mechanism comprises a plate attached to the buoy body and mooring means for allowing the buoy to be attached to the mooring.

8. The buoy according to claim 7 wherein the mooring means is a ring.

9. The buoy according to claim 1 wherein the mooring mechanism is attached to the buoy body by at least two bolts.

10. The buoy according to claim 1 having at least one handle to allow more convenient handling of the buoy.

11. The buoy according to claim 1 wherein the handle is an opening formed within the buoy body.

12. The buoy according to claim 1 wherein the buoy is fabricated from plastic foam or plastic foam sheeting material.

13. A buoy comprising: a buoy body having a substantially cylindrical shape defining a cavity therein, said buoy body having two ends with at least one end being an open end; wherein the cavity is partially flooded with water after the buoy is deployed.

14. A buoy comprising: a buoy body having a substantially cylindrical shape defining an opening therein, wherein the opening is adapted to accommodate ballast therein.

15. A buoy comprising: a buoy body having a substantially cylindrical shape forming a cavity therein, wherein the cavity is adapted to accommodate ballast therein.

16. The buoy according to claim 15 wherein the ballast is added after the buoy is deployed.

17. The buoy according to claim 15 wherein the ballast is rocks.

18. The buoy according to claim 15 wherein the ballast is chain.

19. The buoy according to claim 15 wherein the buoy is partially flooded after deployment.

20. A method of deploying a spar buoy comprising the steps of: lowering the spar buoy into a body of water; and adding ballast into a cavity formed within the spar buoy to properly deploy the buoy in the body of water.

21. The method of deploying the spar buoy according to claim 20 comprising an intermediate step of: allowing the cavity formed within the spar buoy to flood with water.

22. The buoy according to claim 14 wherein the ballast is added after the buoy is deployed.

23. The buoy according to claim 13 wherein both ends are open.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to buoys and, more particularly, to spar buoys.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A variety of buoys are deployed for various purposes in the waterways. One type of a buoy is a spar buoy or, also referred to as, a pencil buoy. The spar or pencil buoys are typically used for marking purposes in the waterways and usually include signage thereon. The spar buoys are deployed to remain afloat upright and include a solid cylindrical body with a lower portion and an upper portion. The lower portion is typically immersed under water and the upper portion is intended to protrude above the water surface. The upper portion is utilized for various waterways makings, such as speed limits, slow down signs and other directional or warning signage.

The spar buoys come in various sizes. The size of the buoy deployed depends on various factors, including the surface area required for signage. The larger buoys require more material and, thus, are more costly. Additionally, it is more expensive to ship larger and heavier buoys. Therefore, it is desirable to have a larger buoy that is more cost-effective.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to the present invention, a partially flooding buoy includes a buoy body having a substantially cylindrical shape defining a cavity therein and a mooring mechanism attached to the buoy body to allow the buoy to be moored. The partially flooding buoy can be partially flooded with water after the buoy is deployed. In a preferred embodiment, the cavity is a substantially cylindrical opening passing through the buoy body. The cavity is adapted to accommodate ballast therein. The ballast can be added after the buoy is deployed and can be any type of weight, such as rocks or old chain or pieces thereof. The ballast is added as needed for the buoy to be properly deployed.

In the preferred embodiment, the buoy includes at least one flooding opening to allow water to pass therethrough into the cavity. The flooding opening is formed within a lower portion of the buoy body to be submerged under water. In the preferred embodiment, the mooring mechanism includes a plate attached to the buoy body and a mooring ring for allowing the buoy to be attached to the mooring. The mooring is attached to the buoy body by at least two bolts to ensure sturdy attachment. Additionally, in the preferred embodiment, the buoy includes at least one handle to allow more convenient handling of the buoy, wherein the handle is an opening formed within the buoy body.

The foregoing and other advantages of the present invention become more apparent in light of the following detailed description of the exemplary embodiments thereof, as illustrated in the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a spar buoy, in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a sectional view of the spar buoy of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a buoy mounting of the spar buoy of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is sectional view of the spar buoy of FIG. 1 with ballast disposed therein;

FIG. 5 is a sectional view of a spar buoy in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 6 is a partially broken away perspective view of a spar buoy with another type of mooring.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, a spar buoy 10 includes a buoy body 12 having an upper portion 14 and a lower portion 16. The buoy body 12 includes a cavity 20 formed therein to define a wall 22 surrounding an inner space 24. The wall 22 comprises an outer surface 28 and an inner surface 30. In the preferred embodiment, the cavity 20 is a substantially cylindrical through opening defining a substantially cylindrical wall 22.

The buoy 10 also includes a mooring mechanism 32 disposed on the lower portion 16 of the buoy body 12. The moorning mechanism 32, in the preferred embodiment, includes a mooring plate 34 with a mooring ring 36. The mooring plate 34 is secured to the buoy body 12 by means of a buoy mounting including a first bolt 40 passing through the buoy body 12 and a second bolt 42 securing the mooning plate 34 to the first bolt 40, as best seen in FIG. 3. The first bolt 40 extends through the cavity 20 and walls 22. The bolts 40, 42 are secured to the buoy wall 22 and to the mooring plate, respectively, with bolt nuts 44.

In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the buoy 10 also includes flooding openings 46 formed within the body wall 22 in the lower portion 16 thereof. The flooding openings 46 allow water to pass therethrough into the cavity 20 to partially flood the buoy 10.

In the preferred embodiment, the buoy 10 also includes handle openings 50 formed within the upper portion 14 of the buoy body 12. The handle openings 50 are sized to allow a person to place his/her hand therein.

Referring to FIG. 5, in another embodiment of the present invention, the mooring plate 34 includes holes 51 to allow the water to enter the cavity 20 of the spar buoy 10 therethrough. In the embodiment, the flooding openings 46 shown in FIGS. 1-3 do not need to be formed.

In operation, as the buoy 10 is deployed, it is placed in the water with the lower portion 16 of the buoy body 12 being submerged under the water, as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5. The buoy ring 36 is attached to a mooring chain 52, as shown in FIG. 1. The water floods a portion of the buoy through the flooding openings 46, as shown in FIG. 4, or through the holes 51 formed in the mooring plate 34, as shown in FIG. 5. Once the buoy 10 is placed in the water and chained/moored, the ballast 56 is added, as shown in FIG. 4. The ballast 56 can be comprised of either stones or old chains or any other weight. The ballast is added until the buoy is properly deployed. The handles 50 can be used to place the buoy in the water.

The buoy body 12 in the preferred embodiment is fabricated from SOFTLITE® material fabricated by Gilman Corporation of Gilman, Conn. However, the buoy can be manufactured from other buoyant materials.

One major advantage of the present invention is that the buoy of the present invention self-rights after deployment. Once the buoy is placed in the water and ballast is added, the buoy self-rights with the proper amount of ballast. Additionally, the buoy does not need to be removed from the water to adjust the amount of ballast, the additional weight, either stones or chain or any other heavy object(s), can be added after deployment into the cavity of the buoy.

Another major advantage of the present invention is that larger signage area is available without adding cost to the buoy. Thus, larger buoy can be manufactured with less material than a solid buoy, thereby minimizing costs of the larger buoys.

A further major advantage of the present invention is that the hollow buoy of the present invention is significantly lighter that the solid buoy and can be shipped at much lower costs.

Yet a further advantage of the present invention is that the partially flooding buoy of the present invention is significantly easier to handle when deployed and/or removed from the water since it weighs less than the solid buoy and includes a handle for easier handling.

The buoy of the present invention is also sufficiently sturdy to withstand the weather conditions and prolonged deployment.

While the present invention has been illustrated and described with respect to a particular embodiment thereof, it should be appreciated by those of ordinary skill in the art that various modifications to this invention may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. For example, the cavity 20 of the buoy 10 does not need to be a substantially cylindrical through opening, but rather can have any shape to accommodate ballast and/or water therein. Also, the mooring mechanism 32 can have various designs to allow attachment of the mooring 52 to the buoy body 12. Additionally, mooring 52 can be either a chain, as shown in FIG. 1, or a rope, as shown in FIG. 6, or any other type of mooring. Furthermore, the buoy mounting comprising of bolts 40 and 42 can have various configurations that allow attachment of the mooring mechanism to the buoy body 12 or be an integral part thereof.