Title:
Snorkel Holder
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A diver's mask strap snorkel tube holder is disclosed. The snorkel tube holder includes at least one element, a passage with first and second passage openings, and a slot. These pieces combined together create a snorkel tube holder that provides a soft pad underneath the mask strap for the diver's comfort, prevents the diver's hair from being grabbed and pulled, holds the snorkel tube in the optimum position just forward of the diver's ear, quickly and easily attaches the snorkel to the mask, and stabilizes the snorkel tube. The diver's mask strap is threaded through the first passage opening and exits through the second passage opening. The slot is positioned at an acute angle relative to the second passage opening and releasably secures the snorkel tube to the diver's mask.



Inventors:
Keith, Glen (San Marcos, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/764656
Publication Date:
12/18/2008
Filing Date:
06/18/2007
Assignee:
AQUA LUNG AMERICA, INC. (Vista, CA, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
24/3.1, 2/452
International Classes:
B63C11/16
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Primary Examiner:
LOUIS, LATOYA M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
VENJURIS, P.C. (PHOENIX, AZ, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A tensioning device holder comprising: A. a first element; B. a second element; C. a slot; D. said first element is coupled to said second element such that a passage is formed between said first and second elements; E. said passage further comprises a first passage opening and a second passage opening opposite said first passage opening; and F. said slot is coupled to said second element such that said slot is not parallel to said passage.

2. The tensioning device holder of claim 1 wherein said slot is positioned at an acute angle relative to said second passage opening.

3. The tensioning device holder of claim 1 wherein said first element and said second element are comprised of a buoyant closed cell elastomer polymer.

4. The tensioning device holder of claim 3 wherein said closed cell elastomer polymer is covered with a fabric.

5. The tensioning device holder of claim 4 wherein said fabric is nylon.

6. The tensioning device holder of claim 1 wherein said passage receives a diver's face mask strap.

7. The tensioning device holder of claim 1 wherein said slot receives a snorkel tube such that said snorkel tube is releasably secured within said slot.

8. The tensioning device holder of claim 1 wherein said slot further comprises a first flap and a second flap such that said flaps are releasably coupled.

9. The tensioning device holder of claim 8 wherein said flaps of said slot are releasably coupled using a fastener selected from the group consisting of: A. a stitch; B. a hook and loop type fastener; C. a button; and D. a snap.

10. The tensioning device holder of claim 1 wherein said first element and said second element are coupled using a fastener selected from the group consisting of: A. a stitch; B. a hook and loop type fastener; C. a button; and D. a snap.

11. The tensioning device holder of claim 1 wherein said slot is at least as long as said first and second elements are wide such that said slot provides stabilization for a snorkel tube.

12. A tensioning device holder comprising: A. an element, said element further comprising a passage; B. said passage further comprising a first passage opening and a second passage opening opposite said first passage opening; C. said element further comprising a slot such that said slot is not parallel to said passage.

13. The tensioning device holder of claim 12 wherein said slot is positioned at an acute angle relative to said second passage opening.

14. The tensioning device holder of claim 12 wherein said element is comprised of a buoyant closed cell elastomer polymer.

15. The tensioning device holder of claim 14 wherein said closed cell elastomer polymer is covered with a fabric.

16. The tensioning device holder of claim 15 wherein said fabric is nylon.

17. The tensioning device holder of claim 12 wherein said passage receives a diver's face mask strap.

18. The tensioning device holder of claim 12 wherein said slot receives a snorkel tube, such that said snorkel tube is releasably secured.

19. The tensioning device holder of claim 12 wherein said slot further comprises a first flap and a second flap such that said flaps are releasably coupled.

20. The tensioning device holder of claim 19 wherein said flaps of said slot are releasably coupled using a fastener selected from the group consisting of: A. a stitch; B. a hook and loop type fastener; C. a button; and D. a snap.

21. The tensioning device holder of claim 12 wherein said slot is at least as long as said first and second elements are wide such that said slot provides stabilization for a snorkel tube.

22. A tensioning device holder comprising: A. an element, said element further comprising a passage; B. said passage further comprising a first passage opening and a second passage opening opposite said first passage opening; C. said element further comprising a slot with a first end and a second end such that said slot has a length from said first end to said second end that is at least one inch.

23. The tensioning device holder of claim 22 wherein said slot is positioned at an acute angle relative to said second passage opening.

24. The tensioning device holder of claim 22 wherein said passage receives a diver's face mask strap.

25. The tensioning device holder of claim 22 wherein said slot receives a snorkel tube, such that said snorkel tube is releasably secured.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to a tensioning device holder and, more particularly, to a diver's snorkel holder that includes a passage to receive a diver's mask strap and a slot to receive a snorkel tube.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The use of mask strap snorkel tube holders is well known in the prior art. Specifically, mask strap snorkel tube holders are used by divers to keep their snorkel tubes in place while diving. When snorkeling, divers want to be certain that their snorkel tubes are securely connected to their diving masks. When a snorkel tube is not properly secured to the diver's mask, it can shift and allow water to enter and possibly obstruct the diver's breathing. Additionally, in the worst case scenario, the snorkel tube could completely detach from the diver's mask. This could be dangerous if the diver is a far distance from a boat or land. Therefore, it is desirable that a mask strap snorkel tube holder be designed to ensure that a snorkel tube is properly and securely attached to the diver's mask.

Additionally, when a diver is in the water, it is desirable to have the snorkel tube in a certain position just forward of the diver's ear, and in particular, the left ear. However, it will work equally well just forward of the right ear. This position works best to keep the snorkel above the water line when the diver is swimming horizontally. This position is also desirable to keep the snorkel tip out of the water when the diver is treading water with his or her body in a vertical orientation. Therefore, it is desirable to utilize a mask strap snorkel tube holder design that properly positions the snorkel tube on the diver's face mask.

Various techniques have been disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. D335322 (ones), U.S. Pat. No. D406333 (Garraffa), U.S. Pat. No. 4,562,836 (Perron), U.S. Pat. No. 4,907,582 (Meyerrose), U.S. Pat. No. 4,910,806 (Baker et al), U.S. Pat. No. 5,020,191 (Uke), U.S. Pat. No. 5,199,422 (Rasocha), U.S. Pat. No. 5,265,591 (Ferguson), U.S. Pat. No. 6,073,626 (Riffe), U.S. Pat. No. 6,302,102 (Giroux et al), U.S. Pat. No. 6,352,075 (Wang), U.S. Pat. No. 6,736,136 (Chen-Lieh), U.S. Pat. No. 6,820,615 (Feng), and U.S. Patent Application Nos. 20040049365 (Sato), 20060112957 Johnson), and 20060272635 (Shiue) to overcome the problems associated with attaching a snorkel tube to a diver's face mask. However, these disclosures suffer from one or more of the following disadvantages. First, none of these inventions include a snorkel tube holder that secures the snorkel tube in the optimum position just forward of the diver's ear. Second, none of these inventions stabilize the snorkel tube and keep it from shifting while the diver is in the water. Third, none of these inventions are simple designs that are easy and relatively inexpensive to manufacture.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to a diver's mask strap snorkel tube holder that provides a diver the ability to securely attach the snorkel tube to the mask and maintain the proper position throughout the diving activities.

A mask strap snorkel tube holder of the present invention comprises an element, wherein the element further comprises a passage and a slot. The passage through the element further comprises a first passage opening and a second passage opening that is opposite the first passage opening. The slot is positioned such that it is not parallel to the passage. The passage receives a diver's mask strap, and the slot receives and releasably secures a snorkel tube.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a diver's mask strap snorkel tube holder that holds the snorkel tube in the optimum position when a diver is engaged in diving activities.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a diver's mask strap snorkel tube holder that makes it quick and easy to attach and remove the snorkel tube to the mask.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a diver's mask strap snorkel tube holder that includes a long snorkel tube connection point to help stabilize the snorkel tube by providing a more substantial connection to the mask strap.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a diver's mask strap snorkel tube holder that provides a soft pad underneath the mask strap for the diver's comfort and protection.

The novel features that are considered characteristic of the invention are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. The invention itself, however, both as to its structure and its operation together with the additional object and advantages thereof will best be understood from the following description of the preferred embodiment of the snorkel holder when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings. Unless specifically noted, it is intended that the words and phrases in the specification and claims be given the ordinary and accustomed meaning to those of ordinary skill in the applicable art or arts. If any other meaning is intended, the specification will specifically state that a special meaning is being applied to a word or phrase. Likewise, the use of the words “function” or “means” in the Description of Preferred Embodiments is not intended to indicate a desire to invoke the special provision of 35 U.S.C. §112, paragraph 6 to define the invention. To the contrary, if the provisions o f 35 U.S.C. §112, paragraph 6 are sought to be invoked to define the invention(s), the claims will specifically state the phrases “means for” or “step for” and a function, without also reciting in such phrases any structure, material, or act in support of the function.

Moreover, even if the provisions of 35 U.S.C. §112, paragraph 6 are invoked to define the inventions, it is intended that the inventions not be limited only to the specific structure, material or acts that are described in the preferred embodiments, but in addition, include any and all structures, materials or acts that perform the claimed function, along with any and all known or later developed equivalent structures, materials, or acts for performing the claimed function.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a side view of the preferred embodiment of the invention holding a snorkel tube.

FIG. 2 shows a top view of the preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 shows a perspective view of the preferred embodiment of the invention holding a snorkel tube.

FIG. 4 shows a view of the slot opened to receive a snorkel tube.

FIG. 5 shows a view of the first passage and slot of the preferred embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 6 shows a perspective view of the preferred embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 7 shows a back view of the preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 8 shows a view of a second alternate embodiment of the present invention with the slot opened to receive a snorkel tube.

FIG. 9 shows a perspective view of the second alternate embodiment of the present invention holding a snorkel tube.

FIG. 10 shows a side view of a third alternate embodiment of the present invention holding a snorkel tube.

FIG. 11 shows a side view of the third alternate embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 12 shows an opposite side view of the third alternate embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 13 shows a side view of the third alternate embodiment of the present invention with the second element removed so that the diver's mask strap is shown.

FIG. 14 shows the opposite side view of the third alternate embodiment of the present invention with the second element removed so that the diver's mask strap is shown.

FIG. 15 shows a back view of the third alternate embodiment of the present invention with the second element removed so that the diver's mask strap is shown.

FIG. 16 shows a top view of the third alternate embodiment of the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

A perspective view of the diver's mask strap snorkel tube holder 10, also referred to as a tensioning device holder, holding a snorkel tube is shown in FIG. 1. The preferred embodiment of the invention includes a first element 100, a second element 110, a passage 200, a slot 300, a first passage opening 400, and a second passage opening 500. These components work together to create a diver's mask strap snorkel tube holder 10 that releasably secures a snorkel tube to a diver's face mask. The strap of the diver's face mask is threaded through the first and second passage openings 400 and 500 of the passage 200 so that the diver's mask is attached. Then the snorkel tube is inserted into the slot 300 so that it is coupled to the diver's mask.

In the preferred embodiment of the invention shown in FIGS. 1-7, the mask strap snorkel tube holder 10 is made of a first element 100 and a second element 110. The first element 100 is a piece of a buoyant closed cell elastomer polymer, preferably neoprene, that is substantially an oval shape as seen in FIG. 7. The neoprene is covered with a flexible fabric such as nylon. The second element 110 is also a single, flexible piece of closed cell elastomer polymer, such as neoprene, with a nylon covering and is shaped substantially similar to the first element 100. The first element 100 and the second element 110 are superimposed on one another and coupled together along the top 115 and bottom 116 edges.

In the preferred embodiment, the edges are sewn together as shown in FIGS. 1-7. However, in alternate embodiments, the edges 115 and 116 can be coupled with a hook and loop type fastener, snaps, buttons, etc. In an additional alternate embodiment, shown in FIG. 9, the top edges 115 can be sewn together, and the bottom edges 116 can be releasably coupled with the hook and loop type fastener, snaps, buttons, etc. In this embodiment, it is not necessary to remove the strap of the diver's mask from the mask to attach the snorkel tube holder 10. Rather, the bottom edges 116 of the snorkel tube holder 10 are unfastened and the snorkel tube holder 10 is placed over the mask strap and re-fastened. This embodiment allows a user to attach the snorkel tube holder 10 to the mask strap with out the inconvenience of first removing the strap from the mask.

Coupling the top 115 and bottom 116 edges together creates a passage 200 through the first element 100 and the second element 110. The passage 200 further includes a first passage opening 400 and a second passage opening 500. In the preferred embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-7, the diver's mask strap is threaded first through the first passage opening 400 and comes out the second passage opening 500.

The slot 300 is positioned such that it is not parallel to the passage 200 and is preferably positioned at an acute angle relative to the second passage opening 500. In the most preferred embodiment, the acute angle is approximately 50°. The acute angle is preferred to hold the snorkel tube in the optimum position just forward of the diver's ear. It is preferred that the snorkel tube is held forward of the diver's left ear, however, an embodiment positioned forward of either ear is acceptable.

In the preferred embodiment, the slot 300 comprises a first flap 310 and a second flap 320. The first flap 310 is positioned so that the second flap 320 can fold over the first flap 310 such that the first flap 310 and second flap 320 are releasably coupled. When the flaps 310 and 320 are open as seen in FIGS. 4 and 5, a snorkel tube is positioned under the first flap 310. The second flap 320 then covers the first flap 310 and secures the snorkel tube in place. The first and second flaps 310 and 320 are preferably fastened together with a hook and loop type fastener. However, any suitable type of releasable fastener (i.e. snaps or buttons) can be used. In the preferred embodiment, the flaps 310 and 320 are coupled to the second element 110 via a sewn stitch.

In an alternate embodiment shown in FIGS. 8 and 9, the slot 300 comprises a single flap 350. The single flap 350 releasably couples to the second element 110 such that the snorkel tube is secured in place. The single flap 350 is preferably fastened to the second element 110 with a hook and loop type fastener. However, any suitable type of releasable fastener (i.e. snaps or buttons) can be used. In this preferred embodiment, the single flap 350 is coupled on one side to the second element 110 via a sewn stitch.

In an alternate embodiment not shown, the slot 300 can be a single piece of the flexible closed cell elastomer polymer material. The single piece forming the slot 300 is just wide enough to receive the snorkel tube and releasably secure it in place. In this embodiment, the snorkel tube is threaded through the openings in the slot 300 and is secured to the diver's mask strap holder 10. In all embodiments it is preferred that the slot 300 is at least as long as the first and second elements 100 and 110 are wide to provide stabilization for the snorkel tube. Stabilizing the snorkel tube minimizes strain on a diver's mouth which is required to hold the lower end of the snorkel via the mouthpiece.

More specifically, in all embodiments, the slot 300 further comprises a first end 330 and a second end 340. It is preferred that the slot 300 has a length from the first end 330 to the second end 340 that is at least one inch long. In the most preferred embodiment, the slot 300, from the first end 330 to the second end 340, is three inches long. This length provides a long connection point on the snorkel tube that provides the most stabilization.

In an alternate embodiment of the invention not shown in the drawings, the diver's mask strap snorkel tube holder is made of a single element. The single element includes a passage with first and second passage openings and a slot. As in the preferred embodiment described above, the components work together to create a diver's mask strap snorkel tube holder that releasably secures a snorkel tube to a diver's face mask. The strap of the diver's face mask is threaded through the first and second passage openings of the passage so that the diver's mask is attached. The snorkel tube is then inserted into the slot so that it is releasably coupled to the diver's mask.

The element is a flexible piece of a buoyant closed cell elastomer polymer, preferably neoprene, and is substantially an oval shape. The neoprene is covered with a flexible fabric such as nylon.

A passage is formed in the element to receive the diver's mask strap. The passage further includes a first passage opening and a second passage opening. The diver's mask strap is threaded first through the first passage opening and comes out the second passage opening.

The slot formed in the element is positioned such that it is not parallel to the passage and is preferably positioned at an acute angle relative to the second passage opening. As described above, in the preferred embodiment, the acute angle is approximately 50°. The acute angle is preferred in order to hold the snorkel tube in a position just forward of the diver's ear. It is preferred that the snorkel tube is forward of the diver's left ear, however, it works as well positioned forward of the diver's right ear. In the preferred embodiment, the slot is formed of a first flap and a second flap.

As described in the embodiment above, the first flap is positioned so that the second flap can fold over it and releasably couple to the first flap. When the flaps are open, a snorkel tube is positioned under the first flap. The second flap then covers the first flap and secures the snorkel tube in place. The first and second flaps are preferably fastened together with a hook and loop type fastener. However, any type of releasable fastener (i.e. snaps or buttons) can be used.

    • In an alternate embodiment not shown, the slot can be a single piece of the flexible closed cell elastomer polymer material. The single piece forming the slot is just wide enough to receive the snorkel tube and releasably secure it in place. In this embodiment, the snorkel tube is threaded through the openings in the slot and is secured to the diver's mask strap holder. In all embodiments it is preferred that the slot is at least as long as the element is wide to provide stabilization for the snorkel tube. Stabilizing the snorkel tube minimizes strain on a diver's mouth which is required to hold the lower end of the snorkel via the mouthpiece.

Additionally, in this embodiment, the slot further comprises a first end and a second end. It is preferred that the slot has a length from the first end to the second end that is at least one inch long. In the most preferred embodiment, the slot, from the first end to the second end, is three inches long. This length provides a long connection point on the snorkel tube that provides the most stabilization.

In an additional alternate embodiment shown in FIGS. 10-16, the diver's mask strap snorkel holder 10 wraps around the diver's entire head and mask strap. This embodiment provides more comfort and protection to the diver. It is less likely that the diver's hair will become entangled in the mask strap or the mechanical parts of the snorkel gear. This embodiment includes all of the elements of the preferred embodiment. The only difference is the length of the first and second elements 100 and 110.

The preferred embodiment of the invention is described in the Description of Preferred Embodiments. While these descriptions directly describe the one embodiment, it is understood that those skilled in the art may conceive modifications and/or variations to the specific embodiments shown and described herein. Any such modifications or variations that fall within the purview of this description are intended to be included therein as well. Unless specifically noted, it is the intention of the inventor that the words and phrases in the specification and claims be given the ordinary and accustomed meanings to those of ordinary skill in the applicable art(s). The foregoing description of a preferred embodiment and best mode of the invention known to the applicant at the time of filing the application has been presented and is intended for the purposes of illustration and description. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise form disclosed, and many modifications and variations are possible in the light of the above teachings. The embodiment was chosen and described in order to best explain the principles of the invention and its practical application and to enable others skilled in the art to best utilize the invention in various embodiments and with various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated.





 
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