Title:
Convertible Seat Arrangement for a Boat
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A convertible seating arrangement for a boat including a passenger area having a peripheral region and an interior region. The convertible seating arrangement includes a bench seating portion positioned at the peripheral region of the passenger area, a seating element, and a pivot mount for allowing the seating element to be pivoted relative to the bench seating portion between a first position and a second position. When the seating element is in the first position, the seating element is positioned adjacent to the bench seating portion and is located at the peripheral region of the passenger area. When the seating element is in the second position, the seating element is positioned adjacent to the bench seating portion and is located at the interior region of the passenger area.



Inventors:
Sahr, Ronald Clifford (Little Falls, MN, US)
Gilman, Steve (Little Falls, MN, US)
Wille, Dave (Cushing, MN, US)
Backowski, Chris (Cushing, MN, US)
Application Number:
12/425110
Publication Date:
02/18/2010
Filing Date:
04/16/2009
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B63B17/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
AVILA, STEPHEN P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MERCHANT & GOULD P.C. (MINNEAPOLIS, MN, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A convertible seating arrangement for a boat, the boat including a passenger area having a periphery and an interior region, the convertible seating arrangement comprising: a bench seating portion positioned at the periphery of the passenger area; a seating element; and a pivot mount for guiding and pivoting the seating element between a first position and a second position relative to the bench seating portion; wherein the seating element is positioned adjacent to the bench seating portion and is located at the periphery of the passenger area when the seating element is in the first position; and wherein the seating element is positioned adjacent to the bench seating portion and is located at the interior region of the passenger area when the seating element is in the second position.

2. The convertible seating arrangement of claim 1, wherein the bench seating portion and the seating element together form L shaped seating at the periphery of the passenger area of the boat when the seating element is in the first position.

3. The convertible seating arrangement of claim 2, wherein the seating element extends inwardly from a port wall of the periphery of the passenger area of the boat when the seating element is in the first position.

4. The convertible seating arrangement of claim 3, wherein a backrest for the seating element is formed by the port wall when the seating element is in the first position.

5. The convertible seating arrangement of claim 2, wherein the seating element extends inwardly from a starboard wall of the periphery of the passenger area of the boat when the seating element is in the first position.

6. The convertible seating arrangement of claim 5, wherein a backrest for the seating element is formed by the starboard wall when the seating element is in the first position.

7. The convertible seating arrangement of claim 1, wherein the bench seating portion is adapted to extend forwardly from a stern wall of the periphery of the passenger area of the boat.

8. The convertible seating arrangement of claim 7, wherein the bench seating portion includes a backrest supported by the stern wall.

9. The convertible seating arrangement of claim 7, wherein the bench seating portion extends forwardly to and is bounded by a concave edge, the seating element includes a first convex edge that conforms to and is adjacent to a first portion of the concave edge when the seating element is in the first position, and the seating element includes a second convex edge that conforms to and is adjacent to a second portion of the concave edge when the seating element is in the second position.

10. The convertible seating arrangement of claim 1, wherein the pivot mount is attached to the bench seating portion.

11. The convertible seating arrangement of claim 1, wherein the pivot mount is adapted to be attached to a superstructure of the boat.

12. The convertible seating arrangement of claim 1, wherein the seating element is a first seating element, the convertible seating arrangement further comprising a second seating element and a second pivot mount for guiding and pivoting the second seating element between a first position and a second position relative to the bench seating portion, wherein the bench seating portion and the first and the second seating elements together form U shaped seating at the periphery of the passenger area of the boat when the first and the second seating elements are in their first positions.

13. A boat comprising: a passenger area extending substantially between a port side and a starboard side of a hull of the boat, the passenger area including a perimeter and an interior region within the perimeter; a port wall adjacent at least a portion of the port side of the hull, the port wall extending from a first end to a second end, the first end of the port wall positioned nearer a stern of the boat, the second end of the port wall positioned nearer a bow of the boat, and the port wall defining a first portion of the perimeter of the passenger area of the boat; a stern wall extending from the first end of the port wall toward the starboard side of the hull, the stern wall defining a second portion of the perimeter of the passenger area of the boat; stern seating adjacent the stern wall of the boat, the stern seating including a first seating surface extending in a forward direction with respect to the stern wall to a first edge; and a moveable seating element moveable between a first configuration and a second configuration, the moveable seating element including a second seating surface defining a second edge, a third edge, and a fourth edge; wherein a first portion of the first edge of the first seating surface of the stern seating is adjacent the second edge of the second seating surface of the moveable seating element and at least a portion of the port wall is substantially adjacent the third edge of the second seating surface of the moveable seating element when the moveable seating element is in the first configuration; and wherein a second portion of the first edge of the first seating surface of the stern seating is adjacent the fourth edge of the second seating surface of the moveable seating element, the moveable seating element is positioned at the interior region of the passenger area, and the moveable seating element is spaced from the perimeter of the passenger area when the moveable seating element is in the second configuration.

14. The boat of claim 13, wherein at least a portion of the stern wall forms a backrest for the stern seating.

15. The boat of claim 13, wherein the port wall or the portion of the port wall forms a backrest for the moveable seating element when the moveable seating element is in the first configuration.

16. The boat of claim 13, wherein the stern seating and the moveable seating element together form L shaped seating at the perimeter of the passenger area of the boat when the moveable seating element is in the first configuration.

17. The boat of claim 13, wherein the moveable seating element is pivotally connected to the stern seating.

18. The boat of claim 17, further comprising a pivot joint member including a first attachment surface and a second attachment surface, wherein the first attachment surface is connected to the stern seating and the second attachment surface is connected to the moveable seating element.

19. The boat of claim 13, wherein the movable seating element is pivotally connected to the hull of the boat.

20. A boat comprising: a passenger area extending substantially between a port side and a starboard side of a hull of the boat, the passenger area including a perimeter and an interior region within the perimeter; a starboard wall adjacent at least a portion of the starboard side of the hull, the starboard wall extending from a first end to a second end, the first end of the starboard wall positioned nearer a stern of the boat, the second end of the starboard wall positioned nearer a bow of the boat, and the starboard wall defining a first portion of the perimeter of the passenger area of the boat; a stern wall extending from the first end of the starboard wall toward the port side of the hull, the stern wall defining a second portion of the perimeter of the passenger area of the boat; stern seating adjacent the stern wall of the boat, the stern seating including a first seating surface extending in a forward direction with respect to the stern wall to a first edge; and a moveable seating element moveable between a first configuration and a second configuration, the moveable seating element including a second seating surface defining a second edge, a third edge, and a fourth edge; wherein a first portion of the first edge of the first seating surface of the stern seating is adjacent the second edge of the second seating surface of the moveable seating element and at least a portion of the starboard wall is substantially adjacent the third edge of the second seating surface of the moveable seating element when the moveable seating element is in the first configuration; and wherein a second portion of the first edge of the first seating surface of the stern seating is adjacent the fourth edge of the second seating surface of the moveable seating element, the moveable seating element is positioned at the interior region of the passenger area, and the moveable seating element is spaced from the perimeter of the passenger area when the moveable seating element is in the second configuration.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

The present application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/045,831, filed Apr. 17, 2008, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present disclosure relates to seats and seating arrangements in a boat.

BACKGROUND

Boats have been developed with a variety of seating arrangements to accommodate the demands of the market. The seating arrangements often reflect the size of the boat and the intended use of the boat. Typically, boats have seating arrangements that are specific to a given purpose and integrated with the design of the boat. For example, a certain segment of the market may demand a boat with seating convenient and conducive for small social gatherings. In this segment, the seating arrangement may be tailored for group seating and the relative orientation desired between passengers at the social gathering. The relative orientation may allow each person in the group to see and converse with several others simultaneously. Other market segments may demand a seating arrangement where individual comfort is most important for a fewer number of people. There is a need for a boat with convertible seating arrangements. The present disclosure fulfills this and other needs.

SUMMARY

One aspect of the present disclosure relates to a convertible seating arrangement for a boat, the seating arrangement having a seating element that is pivotally moveable to convert the seating arrangement between a first and a second configuration. When the seating arrangement is in the first configuration, the seating element provides seating capacity to peripheral seating that extends along a periphery of a passenger area of the boat. When the seating arrangement is in the second configuration, the seating element extends from the peripheral seating into an interior of the passenger area. In certain embodiments, the seating element serves as a footrest when the seating arrangement is in the second configuration and cooperates with a backrest at the periphery of the passenger area to form a peripheral seat when the seating arrangement is in the first configuration.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a plan view of a boat showing a pivotal seating element in a first position in which the pivotal seating element provides peripheral seating capacity to a stern seating area of the boat;

FIG. 2 is a plan view of the boat of FIG. 1 showing the pivotal seating element in a second position in which the pivotal seating element functions as a footrest for the stern seating area;

FIG. 3 is a plan view of the boat including two of the pivotal seating elements;

FIG. 4 is a partial perspective view of the boat of FIG. 1 illustrating the pivotal seating element in the first position of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is the partial perspective view of FIG. 4 but with certain seat cushions and portions of seat cushions removed for the purpose of illustrating a seat hinge and a seat support of the pivotal seating element;

FIG. 6 is a partial perspective view of the boat of FIG. 1 illustrating the pivotal seating element in the second position of FIG. 2;

FIG. 7 is the partial perspective view of FIG. 6 but with certain seat cushions and portions of seat cushions removed for the purpose of further illustrating the seat hinge and the seat support of the pivotal seating element;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the seat hinge of FIG. 5;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the seat support of FIG. 5; and

FIG. 10 is a detailed plan view of the stern seating arrangement of FIG. 1 with cushions removed from the seating arrangement to define a walkway.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present disclosure relates to convertible seating arrangements for boats. Referring to FIG. 1, a boat 50 is shown including a hull 100 with a bow 102, a stern 104, a port side 106, and a starboard side 108. The boat 50 includes a passenger area 101 including stern seating 120. The stern seating 120 includes a bench seating portion 124 that extends across a rear width of the passenger area 101. The stern seating 120 also includes a pivotal seating element 140 (e.g., a seating segment) that is pivotably moveable between a first position (shown at FIG. 1) and a second position (shown at FIG. 2). When the pivotal seating element 140 is in the first position, the pivotal seating element 140 provides a wrap-around seating portion that extends forwardly from the bench seating portion 124 along a port side of the passenger area 101. In this way, the pivotal seating element 140 and the bench seating portion 124 together provide peripheral seating (e.g., L-shaped peripheral seating) that extends along at least a portion of a periphery of the passenger area 101. When the pivotal seating element 140 is in the second position, the pivotal seating element extends forwardly from the bench seating portion 124 into an interior region of the passenger area 101. In this way, the pivotal seating element 140 can be used as interior seating or as a footrest for a central region of the bench seating portion 124.

As shown at FIG. 1, an “L” shape seating arrangement is formed when the stern bench seating 120 that extends across the width of the boat is combined with wrap-around seating (i.e., side facing seating) that continues from the bench seating along one side 106 or 108 of the boat 50. FIG. 3 shows a “U” shape seating arrangement that is formed when such wrap-around seating continues along both sides 106 and 108 of the boat. The “U” shape seating is provided by using two of the pivotal seating elements 140 positioned at opposite ends of the bench seating portion 124. “L” and “U” shape seating arrangements enhance inter-personal visibility and are conducive to group conversations and social gatherings. As shown at FIG. 1, the stern bench seating 120 can also be concavely curved to further enhance inter-personal visibility between people when seated and reduce or eliminate the need for people to lean forward to see around a person(s) seated between them. By moving the seating element 140 from a peripheral position, the seating arrangement can be changed to provide interior seating and/or a footrest.

The boat 50 has a superstructure that includes the hull 100 and structures integrated with the hull 100 such as stringers, decking, seating surfaces, flooring, bulkheads, bow and stern platforms, and other structures. The superstructure can include a stern wall 126, a port wall 128, and a starboard wall 129 that generally define a periphery of the passenger area 101. The superstructure can also include a bench structure that projects forwardly from the stern wall 126. The stern wall 126 functions as a backrest of the bench seating portion 124 while the bench structure functions as a seat of the bench seating portion 124. In certain embodiments, the hull 100, the stern wall 126, the starboard wall 129, the port wall 128, and the bench structure can have a fiberglass construction. The bench seating portions 124 can also include cushions provided at the stern wall 126 (i.e., backrest cushions) and the bench structure (i.e., seat cushions) to enhance passenger seating comfort. In certain embodiments, selected cushions 122 can be removed from the stern wall 126 and the bench structure to provide a walkway 110 (see FIG. 10) between the passenger area 101 and a stern platform 111 of the boat 50. When the pivotal seating element 140 is in the first position, the port wall 128 functions as a wrap-around seating backrest and the pivotal seating element 140 functions as a wrap-around seat. A backrest cushion can be provided at the port wall 128 to enhance passenger seating comfort.

In the depicted embodiment, the pivotal seating element 140 includes a support frame 144 or other type of support that is pivotally connected to the superstructure of the boat 50. A seat cushion 141 (see FIG. 4) is attached to the top of the support frame 144. The seat cushion 141 can be mounted on a substrate (e.g., substrate constructed of a material such as wood, plastic or other materials) that is attached to the support frame 144.

As depicted at FIGS. 1 and 2, the bench portion 124 is bounded at its front by a concavely curved edge 182. As illustrated at FIG. 1, when in the first position, a convexly curved edge 196 of the seating element 140 conforms to the concavely curved edge 182 of the bench seating portion 124. Likewise, as illustrated at FIG. 2, when in the second position, a convexly curved edge 192 of the seating element 140 conforms to the concavely curved edge 182 of the bench seating portion

In addition to the functional aspects described above, the concavely curved edge 182 of the bench seating portion 124 and the convexly curved edges 192, 196 of the seating element 140 add styling to the boat 50. To accentuate this style and to provide comfortable seating, the example embodiment includes a first trim-line 184 on the bench seating portion 124 that blends in with the convexly curved edge 192 of the seating element 140 when in the first configuration (see FIG. 1). In addition, the first trim-line 184 on the bench seating portion 124 blends in with the convexly curved edge 196 of the seating element 140 when in the second configuration (see FIG. 2). To further accentuate this style and to provide comfortable seating, a first trim-line 194 is included on the seating element 140 approximately parallel to the convexly curved edge 192. The first trim-line 194 of the seating element 140 blends with a second trim-line 186 included on the bench seating portion 124 when the seating element 140 is in the first configuration. The first and second trim-lines 184 and 186 of the bench seating portion 124 are approximately parallel. A third trim-line 188 is included on the bench seating portion 124 approximately parallel to the concavely curved edge 182. A second trim-line 198 is included on the seating element 140 approximately parallel to its edges except for edge 192 (see FIGS. 2 and 3). The overall styling of the bench seating portion 124 and the seating element 140 in the second configuration is symmetric about a mid-plane of the boat 50 from bow 102 to stern 104. The trim-lines 184, 186, 188, 194, 198 parallel to other trim-lines 184, 186 and seat edges 182, 192, 196 generally match each other in spacing to give a coordinated overall look in both the first and second configurations.

As illustrated at FIGS. 4-7, in the example embodiment, the seating element 140 includes a seating surface 142 (i.e., a cushioned seating surface provided by the seat cushion 141 or a hard seating surface) connected to and supported by the support frame 144. As shown at FIG. 9, the support frame 144 includes a set of mounting flanges 150, a set of legs 146, and a pair of floor contact members 148. The mounting flanges 150 of the support frame 144 are connected to an underside of the seating surface 142 and join the set of legs 146 to the seating surface 142. The set of legs 146 is continuous with the floor contact members 148. The floor contact members 148 are designed to contact the floor of the passenger area 101 smoothly and without any sharp contours to promote smooth sliding across the floor when the seating element 140 is moved from the first to the second configuration. The floor contact members 148 are also designed to accommodate a fillet around the passenger area 101 when the seating element 140 is in the first configuration as illustrated at FIGS. 4 and 5.

As illustrated at FIGS. 4, 5, and 7, in a preferred embodiment, the seating element 140 is pivotally mounted to the superstructure of the boat 50 at a pivot joint 160. The pivot joint 160 guides the movement of the seating element 140 when moved between the first configuration and the second configuration. In addition, the pivot joint 160 in combination with friction between the floor and the floor contact members 148 holds and stabilizes the seating element 140 while at the first and second configurations. In other embodiments, latches may hold the seating element 140 at the first and second configurations. In still other embodiments, the pivot joint 160 can fully support the seating element 140 without the support frame 144.

As further illustrated at FIG. 8, the pivot joint 160 includes a first mounting flange 162 adapted for connection to the superstructure of the boat 50 and a second mounting flange 164 adapted for connection to the seating surface 142. The first mounting flange 162 is pivotally connected to the second mounting flange 164 at a pivot pin 166. In other embodiments, the first mounting flange 162 may connect to the bench seating portion 124 and/or the second mounting flange 164 may connect to the support frame 144 of the seating element 140. In still other embodiments, a linkage, a slot, a tether, or combination of these and/or other guiding elements may be used to guide the seating element 140 between the first and second configurations.

In other embodiments, seating arrangements in accordance with the principles of the present disclosure may be incorporated into different boat styles such as pontoon boats, catamarans, trimarans or other types of boats. In one embodiment, seating arrangements in accordance with the principles of the present disclosure can be incorporated into a runabout style boat or other type of boat having a passenger capacity of less than 15 people.

The above specification provides examples of how certain inventive aspects may be put into practice. It will be appreciated that the inventive aspects can be practiced in other ways than those specifically shown and described herein without departing from the spirit and scope of the inventive aspects of the present disclosure.