Sport fisherman's ice chest with integrated cutting board
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A cutting board that is integrated into the top lid of any size ice chest coolers manufactured by Igloo, Coleman, Rubbermaid and others. The cooler top lid must be a perfectly smooth and flat surface with no “markings”, imprints, or fish measuring scale. The perceived cutting board is not an “add-on” after market device, but an integral part of the cooler lid and integrated into the “top” during the manufacturing process—not added on by the “after market”.

Azzara, Thomas (Nassau, BS)
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International Classes:
B65D51/24; F25D3/08
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Primary Examiner:
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Thomas Azzara (Nassau, BS)
1. What is claimed is a cutting board apparatus made of flat, perfectly smooth, tough polyethylene thermoplastic that is “integrated” into the cover/lid of any ice chest cooler “during” the initial manufacturing process; The particular embodiment of an ice chest cooler comprises 6 sides, rectangular in dimensions, with 4 side walls, a bottom and top/lid, with all 4 sides walls, top and bottom being approximately an inch in thickness and containing industrial grade foam insulation therein;. Manufacturers of standard polyethylene thermoplastic ice chests include Rubbermaid, Igloo and Coleman—all branded names in the industry/art; None of the heretofore manufacturers provide a perfectly smooth cutting board quality apparatus on the “tops” of their coolers, and none have ever advertised that their current cooler lines are designed for “cutting” applications.

2. What is claimed is that with a combination of a proper “method”, as well as the incorporation of an integrated ice chest cooler cutting board into ice chest cooler lid, the preferred embodiment will save the consumer/fish hunter: Time Money on fuel Much expended effort (work/lifting/carting whole fish from place to place).

3. This method/invention is environmentally friendly and will help feed “hungry” marine life when the “method” described herein is followed, and it was not the intent of the developer to merely aid the tasks of the ailing fisherman, but sea life as well.



This application claims priority to United States Provisional Application filed on Jul. 24, 2007 and assigned Ser. No. 60/935,048. In Barentine et al. (U.S. Pat. No. 6,726.050) (Apr. 27, 2004) the inventor suggested using “Velcro” to hold down an “add-on” cutting board to an Igloo cooler top. Velcro has been tried in the mid to late 1990s by this inventor (Azzara) to hold down cutting boards in various transom areas of a “fishing craft”, and has proved to be inadequate. The Velcro would sometimes breakaway and the cutting board would fly over board and be lost. The Velcro would also lose its ability to hold tight in prolonged saltwater applications. The use of Velcro also leads to sanitation and cleaning problems as fish blood and other particles stick to Velcro and dry in the sun attracting bugs, bacteria, etc. In the Barentine embodiment the Velcro would be an “add-on” expense in the manufacturing process. More significantly, a cutting board cut to specification is another unnecessary “add-on” expense that makes the mass manufacturing of such a devise non-cost effective, unrealistic—if not impossible to deliver into a competitive market place.


The present invention is related to ice chest coolers and, more specifically in the art, an ice chest cooler design with an advantageous embodiment that is more suitable for (sport) fishing, and other like applications. By making a few innovative changes to any of the ice chest cooler lids/tops (composed of polyethylene thermoplastic) currently in the market place and manufactured by Rubbermaid, Igloo and Coleman (and others), you will have a consumer accepted wonder and a new product that will save its user time, money, fuel, work (i.e., unnecessary heavy lifting) and be environmentally friendly as well.

At sea or on a lake there is only so much space available on a boat, and the top of any ice chest cooler manufactured today can be redesigned and modified, and makes for an ideally big cutting board with only minor adaptation. Consumers will save space, time and money with the design described herein. They will also have an “option”. Manufacturers will have a product that will be more acceptable over prior art in what has been come to be called the “marine cooler” market.

In the art, caught and landed sport fish, such as flounder ((sole, Dover sole), fluke, cod, halibut, dolphin, tuna, wahoo, snapper, kingfish, grouper, (stripped) bass, etc.—and so on) need to be attended to quickly, as fish is very perishable. Keeping freshly caught fish in a boat's built-in “fish box” (even in sea. water) is not adequate for holding fish for any length of time. Keeping the whole fish in the typical ice chest cooler itself eats up “valuable” cooler space, and ice will not last as long when whole fish(es) are placed in the cooler—assuming it/they will fit in the cooler and the lid will close. Most boaters and boat owners carry several ice chest coolers on their boats. Space becomes a premium to boats of all sizes.

There is no prior art or issued patent(s) whose embodiments recommend an “integrated” perfectly smooth, flat surface cutting board for “integration” during the manufacturing process. Issued “ice chest” patents are either costly “add-on” innovations—i.e., after the product is already purchased by the consumer in the market place—or show apparatus that is “multifunctional” (i.e., bait preparation stations), and made from material other than polyethylene thermoplastic plastic (the standard material used in manufacturing throughout the 20th century), and otherwise unrelated in scope . . .


This invention pertains to a “method” and a “devise” for sport fisherman and commercial fishermen who carry ice chest coolers on their vessels.

The invention and method described herein allows the consumer/fisherman to save valuable ice and space—effectively doubling or tripling the amount of cooler size he's carrying, and increasing the available “walking space” he'll have on-board the boat—all without adding additional cooler or coolers.

Manufacturers of ice chest coolers today do not have a top/cover lids that are flat and perfectly smooth enough for quartering/filleting/skinning fish. Often their covers have indented markings, and patterns with “roughened surfaces”. See drawings FIG. 1 vs. FIG. 2. Some have built in square patterns and cosmetic designs; with logos molded into the cooler's polyethylene thermoplastic plastic top; and some manufacturers “sport” an obsolete “fish scale” for measuring the length of the fish. See drawings FIG. 1 and FIG. 2.

Often, the company name and logo is molded into the lid covers and “ALL” this old technology needs to be done away with because you cannot properly fillet fish even with adequately sharpened knifes on a surface that has “edges” and is anything but perfectly smooth and flat. It can actually be dangerous to use a cutting surface that is inadequate—often leading to cuts on fingers and hands. It also is a “clean up” problem, as blood dries in crevices on the lid. Lids on ice chest coolers are not designed to have fish filleted, quartered or skinned on them. Not one manufacturer has suggested that filleting, quartering or skinning fish (or other game) should be done on the tops of their coolers, and “nothing” appears in their product advertising suggesting the consumer can do these tasks with their products. One ice chest cooler manufacturer (Igloo) offers a (small) cutting board inside the cooler itself—as a divider—but this embodiment does not go far enough, as the Igloo cutting board is not large enough to accommodate a big fish, and has to be removed from inside the cooler for use; is an unnecessary “add-on”, and cannot be fastened to anything once it is removed to make for an effective, non-slip, “cutting station/cutting board”.


Description of the Preferred Embodiment

The embodiment of the cover/top cooler design need only be made perfectly flat and smooth with rounded corners—i.e., without any “lip” to catch the blood which might dry and make clean up more of an effort. No other modification to the cooler's lid is warranted in the preferred embodiment. See drawings FIG. 1 vs. FIG. 2.

Wash the cooler top clean with your wash down pump or throw a bucket of water on the cooler top, and the blood and fish pieces will go out the boat's “scuppers”. Larger pieces can then be picked out of the boat “scuppers” and thrown into the sea for fish and marine life to feed on.

There are several reasons why being able to “cut” fish at sea is highly desirable; and highly undesirable at the marina cutting station, or at your dock by your house, or dragging a heavy cooler full of whole fish and much ice home for the “cutting”; and all these heretofore latter methods are highly undesirable—even stupid.

Biting bugs (lots of them): Bringing your “catch” (fish) back into port to the marina cutting station for cutting/filleting is an undesirable nightmare all fishermen put up with. It is also unsanitary, as horse flies of every species, mosquitoes, no seeums and other flying “critters” will attack the fisherman's hands, arms, face and other exposed areas of the fisherman's body as he attempts to filet his catch, as well as “swarming” the fish itself, all the while making for a “terrible” experience.

Likewise cutting fish on a pick up truck trailer hitch (or SUV) will be a messy, smelly affair that will “bug you”. It will also damage the vehicle.

Moreover, bringing a cooler full of ice and fish to your home and your wife is apt to complain profusely about the “smell”, the mess, and shout . . . “Why can't you do that somewhere else?”

Cutting and bagging the fish in plastic bags at sea even 200 yards from land, and you will not experience the above “bug attacks” and other problems. Placing the fish in the ice chest after cutting them within one hour of landing out at sea not only saves the fisherman's “ice” as well as his very perishable catch, but the fish will not have to withstand hours in an unrefrigerated environment slowly decaying, and the fisherman will not get bitten endlessly by a barrage of bugs—as there are no “bugs” even 200 yards from land—out at sea. This inventor knows this from 15 years of sport fishing experience.

Moreover, very few boats under 40 feet have refrigeration.

Marina cutting stations: A 40 pound yellow fin tuna is 65% meat and 35% skeleton and head. Having to lift several fish this size off of a boat to cut them at the marina cutting station (or in your home garage sink) is a tiresome, messy, smelly and “slippery” ordeal. Moreover, there is not always a cutting station available when you need one. You may have to wait for an hour while your “catch” sits on the dock in the sun, while another boat and “crew” cuts their own fish.

Most captains and boaters will not opt out to cut the fish on the floor of the boat for fear of marking and cutting the top coat. Option: Cut your fish at sea on your ice chest's non movable, stable, perfectly smooth cutting board surface is the best bet.

Moreover, the blood and slime that gets left on the Marina docks has to be washed off the dock for the next user. More unnecessary time and work for an already tired crew.

In addition, you likely will have to use an extra gallon or two of fuel to get into and out of a marina's cutting station, when you could be heading straight home to the dock.

Cutting your fish on a cooler top with a flat and perfectly smooth surface made of “toughened” polyethylene thermoplastic (i.e., the same material as the entire top itself used by most manufacturers) will eliminate the above problems and associated expense.

Environmentally friendly: Cutting your catch at sea and throwing the skeleton overboard into the sea for other living marine life to feed upon is far superior and environmentally friendly way—as opposed to heaving the fish skeletons into garbage cans (as permitted at some/most Marinas) where the flys (and other critters”) get so thick the marina help often struggle to reach the “decaying mess” to cart them off for disposal.


FIG. 1 is the top-lid cover (see especially the area marked 100) view of a typical “cooler” with a “raised” measuring scale and “numbers”, etc. running the length of the cooler top. The numbers and markings are raised, and the cooler lid in FIG. 1 is not meant to be used as a cutting board. This particular embodiment was manufactured by Rubbermaid and is not the preferred embodiment of our invention as show in FIG. 2.

It should be noted that this Rubbermaid manufactured 176 quart cooler was pulled from the market by Rubbermaid. It is no longer available for sale to the public—as far as this inventor knows.

FIG. 1 also shows a line crossing the center of the cooler's top cover—which in the art is called a “split-lid” type cooler cover, which is part of Rubbermaid's embodiment in FIG. 1, but is dysfunctional for purposes of our cooler top invention/innovation/cutting board. The “split lid” must be abandoned in favor of a cover that is one piece. FIG. 1. is therefore not the preferred embodiment. The preferred embodiment is in our drawing in FIG. 2. If the “split-lid” models produced by Rubbermaid (and other manufactures such as Igloo and Coleman as well) were retained, blood would easily enter the cooler bloodying up the ice and other items inside the ice chest cooler and making the cooling less efficient.

FIG. 2 is the top “plain view” of the preferred embodiment—without the “split lid” cover—and without any raised numbers, indentations, markings or manufacturer's logos.

FIG. 2. is the preferred embodiment and is in actuality an integrated cutting board right into the top lid cover—the lid/cover embodiment being perfectly smooth and flat (see area marked by 101), and is contrary to the embodiment of the same cooler(s) in FIG. 1.

FIG. 2. represents the top lid cover of our present invention. It has no markings whatsoever, but is perfectly flat and smooth (see area marked 101) for the making of a cutting board apparatus that is integrated into the top lid during the manufacturing process—not added-on in the after market with some after market apparatus.