Patent application title: WATERCRAFT INCLUDING A FLOATABLE SLIDE AND A BOAT
Thomas M. Plante (Woodbury, MN, US)
Patrick S. Golden (Mahtomedi, MN, US)
Alexander P. Golden (Mahtomedi, MN, US)
Norman P. Mears (Mahtomedi, MN, US)
Rave Sports Inc.
IPC8 Class: AB63B1700FI
Class name: Ships boats, boat component, or attachment
Publication date: 2009-10-22
Patent application number: 20090260560
The invention features a watercraft that includes a boat and a floatable
slide coupled to at least one side wall of the boat.
1. A watercraft comprising:a pontoon boat; anda floatable slide coupled to
at least one side of the pontoon boat.
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/046,648 filed Apr. 21, 2008, and incorporated herein.
The invention is directed to coupling a floatable slide to a boat.
Speed boats, deck boats and pontoon boats have been used with great enjoyment on a variety of bodies of water such as lakes, rivers and oceans. People have used boats to travel across water, sometimes at high speeds, to pull water skiers, and to pull riders on inflatable towable crafts such as inner tubes.
A variety of other devices have been developed to further enhance and expand upon the way in which people enjoy various bodies of water. Such devices include jet skis, parasailing, and large swim platforms. More recently people have begun using inflatable trampolines, which provide a jump surface on the water that is anchored in place so that it does not float away. The enjoyment of these trampolines is often enhanced by attaching various floatable articles such as additional bounce platforms, running platforms, inner tubes and slides to the trampoline.
In one aspect, the invention features a floatable slide coupled to the side wall of a boat. In one embodiment, the slide is hooked over the gunwale (i.e., side wall) of the boat. In some embodiments, the boat is a pontoon boat that includes a deck, and at least one pontoon, the side wall is a side railing, and the floatable slide is coupled to the side railing. In one embodiment, the slide is detachable from the boat. In another embodiment, the slide is inflatable.
In other embodiments, the slide is constructed to sit within an opening defined by a side rail gate of a pontoon boat, to slide over the side rail gate of a pontoon boat, to slide over a front rail gate of a pontoon boat, or a combination thereof.
The invention features a slide that is floatable on water and that is easily attached to and removed from the side wall of a boat.
Other features and advantages will be apparent from the following description of the drawings, the preferred embodiments, and from the claims. In the figures, like numbers are used to represent like elements.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a watercraft that includes a floatable slide attached to a pontoon boat.
FIG. 2 is a top view of the watercraft of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is an enlarged view taken in cross section along line A-A of FIG. 2.
FIG. 4 is a side view of a floatable slide coupled to a side rail of a pontoon boat according to another embodiment.
FIG. 5 is a side view of a floatable slide coupled to a side rail of a pontoon boat according to another embodiment.
FIG. 6 is a side view of a floatable slide coupled to a side rail of a pontoon boat according to another embodiment.
FIG. 7 is a top view of the floatable slide of FIG. 6.
FIG. 8 is a view taken in cross section along ling B-B of FIG. 7.
FIGS. 1-3 illustrate a watercraft 10 that includes an inflatable slide 2 attached to a pontoon boat 20. The slide 2 includes an inclined sliding surface 12 disposed on a base 14, a ladder 16 of multiple steps 11 leads to a sitting platform 18, and handles 22 positioned along the perimeter of the sitting platform 18 to enable a user to grip the slide 2 and to assist the user in climbing the ladder 16 and sitting down on the sitting platform 18. A user climbs the steps 11 of the ladder 16 sits on the sitting platform 18 and slides down the sliding surface 12. Additional handles optionally can be positioned along the perimeter of the ladder 16 to assist in climbing the ladder 16. The inclined sliding surface 12 is flanked by two guide rails 24. The base 14 is generally wedge-shaped and includes a first substantially horizontal portion 26 that is available for contact with the deck 28 of the pontoon boat 20. The base 14 also includes an inclined portion 30 that extends away from the first substantially horizontal portion 26, preferably at an angle a greater than 90 degrees to the first substantially horizontal portion 26 of the base 14. The inclined portion 30 terminates at a second substantially horizontal portion 32 of the base 14. The second substantially horizontal portion 32 of the base 14 is available for contact with the surface of a body of water 34 when the slide 2 is positioned on the pontoon boat 20 and the pontoon boat 20 is floating on the body of water 34. Optional side stabilizers 36 extend from the base 14 of the slide 2 to impart additional stability to the slide 20.
The slide 2 is positioned in the opening formed when a side rail gate 50 of the pontoon boat 20 is in the open position and is secured to the boat 20 through attachment mechanisms 42, 44 on either side 46a, 46b of the slide 2. The vertical sides 46a, 46b of the slide 2 preferably contact and press against the side rails 48 that define the opening in which the side rail gate 50 sits when the gate 50 is in the closed position. The side rails 48 on either side of the slide 2 can impart a stabilizing function to the slide 2.
The slide attachment mechanisms 42, 44 are positioned on the exterior side walls 46 of the slide 2. A first attachment mechanism 42 is positioned on a portion of the side wall relatively closer to the sitting platform 18 and sliding surface 12 of the slide 2 and a second attachment mechanism 44 is located on a portion of the side wall 46 relatively closer to the water contacting surface 32 of the base 14 of the slide 2. Duplicate first and second attachment mechanisms 42, 44 are located on each side 46a, 46b of the slide 2 to enable the slide 2 to be secured to the boat 20 in a stable manner. The first attachment mechanisms 42a, 42b are coupled to the side rails 48 of the boat on opposite sides of the slide 2. The second attachment mechanisms 44a, 44b are coupled to a pontoon 54 of the boat 20. The first and second attachment mechanisms 42, 44 can be of any suitable construction including, e.g., a bungee cord, rope, and woven web straps) attached to a connector an on the slide and connector on boat or pontoon. Suitable connectors include rings (e.g., O-, D-, triangle, and polygonal (e.g., square and rectangle), rings), clamps, clips, male female connectors, U joints and combinations thereof. One useful mechanism for attaching the connector to the pontoon is by a suction cup. In FIG. 1 the attachment mechanism 42 includes a first end 41a of a strap 41 attached to an O-ring 43a on the slide 2 through a first hook positioned at the first end 41a of the strap 41 and a second end 41b of the strap 41 is attached to an O-ring 43b on the boat 20 through a second hook. The strap 41 includes a buckle 45 that enables the strap 41 to be tightened and loosened to alter the tension on the strap 41. An identical configuration (not shown) is present on the opposite side of the slide. A second attachment mechanism 44 located near the base of the slide 2 includes a second strap 47 attached at a first end 47a to an O-ring 49a on the side of the slide 2 and at a second end 47b to an O-ring 49b attached to the pontoon 54 through a suction cup 51. An identical configuration (not shown) is present on the opposite side of the slide. The second strap can optionally include a buckle that enables the second strap to be tightened and loosened to alter the tension on the strap.
A first substantially flat horizontal portion 26 of the base 14 of the slide 2 sits on the deck 28 of the pontoon boat 20 such that a user can climb the ladder 16 of the slide 2 by stepping from the surface of the deck 28 onto the ladder 16.
Other embodiments are within the claims. The steps of the ladder can be in a variety of forms including, e.g., pockets extending into the base of the slide, rungs attached to the slide (e.g., rope, woven webbing, polymeric and combinations thereof), and combinations thereof. Although the slide is illustrated as being generally wedge-shaped, it could have a variety of configurations. FIG. 4 illustrates an embodiment of a slide 70 that is positionable over the side rail 72 of a pontoon boat 20. The slide 70 includes a slot 74 dimensioned to receive the side rail 72. The opening that defines the slot 74 is relatively narrow to provide a close fit between the surface of the slot 74 and the side rail 72, which functions to assist in stabilizing the slide 70 in position on the pontoon boat. The slide 70 can optionally include additional attachment mechanisms (e.g., attachment mechanisms 42, 44 described above), for attaching, stabilizing and securing the slide 70 to the boat 20.
FIG. 5 illustrates another embodiment of the slide 80. The slide 80 sits over the side rail 72 of the boat 20 and contacts the deck 28 of the boat. The slide 80 includes two cylindrical tubes 82 (only one of which is shown) positioned adjacent one another along their longitudinal extents. The tubes 82 include a first cylindrical portion 84 having a relatively longer longitudinal extent and a second cylindrical portion 86 having a relatively shorter longitudinal extent extending at an angle D to the second portion 86. The second portion 86 extends toward and contacts the deck 28 of the boat 20 while the first portion 84 extends toward and contacts the water 34. The opening 83 defined by the first and second cylindrical portions 84, 86 accommodates the side rail 72.
Each tube 82 of the slide 80 includes a valve for inflating and deflating the tubes. The two tubes 82 are enveloped by a sheet 88 (e.g., a polyvinyl chloride sheet). The sheet 88 surrounds the two cylindrical tubes 82 and is secured in place around the two tubes 82 with straps 90 woven through buckles 92. Alternatively, the slide can be constructed from a single tube or a single air chamber of multiple configurations.
The slide 80 optionally includes two attachment rings 94, 96 attached to the sides of the slide 80. Straps 98, 100 pass through the attachment rings 94, 96. The first strap 98 attaches to a portion of the side rail 72 of the boat 20. The second strap 100 attaches to the pontoon 54. The straps 98, 100 are pulled taught to further secure the slide 80 in position against the boat 20. The straps 98, 100 can be attached to any feature of the boat that aids in imparting stability to the slide.
FIGS. 6-8 illustrate another embodiment of the slide 100. The slide 100 sits over the side rail 72 of the boat 20 and contacts the deck 28 of the boat. The slide 100 includes a continuous chamber 102 that includes two supporting baffles 104a, 104b extending along the longitudinal extent thereof. In other embodiments, the chamber can include any number of supporting baffles. The continuous chamber 102 include a first portion 101 having a relatively longer longitudinal extent and a second portion 106 having a relatively shorter longitudinal extent. The second portion 106 extends toward and contacts the deck 28 of the boat 20 while the first portion 101 extends toward and contacts the water 34. In other embodiments, the length of the second portion 106 is adjusted to have it contact another part of the watercraft (e.g., the second portion can be shortened so as to rest on the seat of the watercraft). The first portion 101 terminates in a platform 105, which is optionally forms a relatively horizontal area relative to the surface of the water 34. The opening 103 defined by the first and second portions 101, 106 accommodates the side rail 72. The slide 100 includes two side rails 108a, 108b, each of which includes an inflatable tube 126 optionally encased in a covering 128, e.g., a woven fabric. The covering 126 optionally includes a zipper and the tube 126 is optionally removable.
The slide 100 attaches to the side rail 72 of the boat 20 through straps 110, 112 on each side 114 of the slide 100. The first strap 110 loops around the top 116 (e.g., horizontal extent) of the side rail 72 and the second strap 112 loops around a vertical extent 118 of the side rail 72 on the boat 20.
The second portion 106 of the slide includes pockets that are offset from one another and that extend into the body of the slide 100 to enable a user to climb to the top 120 of the slide 100, optionally with the aid of handles 122.
The slide can optionally be attached to an anchor in the water.
Although the boat is depicted as a pontoon boat, the floatable slide can be coupled to a variety of boat constructions including, e.g., a speed boat, a deck boat, a fishing boat, and an inflatable boat. In one embodiment, the floatable slide is constructed to include a first end that extends over the top edge of the side wall of the boat and is positioned within the boat, and a second end that extends toward and preferably contacts the body of water on which the boat sits. The slide includes an opening (e.g., a slot) for receiving the side wall of the boat. Preferably the opening in the slide for receiving the side wall is dimensioned to form a snug fit between the slide and the side wall of the boat. The opening can be configured to conform substantially exactly to the side wall of the boat, which configuration can differ depending on the nature of the boat to which the slide is to be coupled. Alternatively, the slide is constructed to fit relatively loosely over the side wall of the boat, an example of such a slide construction is illustrated in FIG. 5.
In another embodiment, a first end of a floatable slide extends from a swim platform of a boat and a second end of the slide extends toward, or even contacts, a body of water on which the boat sits. Swim platforms are often located in the rear (i.e., stern) of the boat behind the transom, in the front (i.e., bow) of a boat, such as on a pontoon boat, or in both areas and include a relatively planar surface from which swimmers launch themselves into the water. The pontoon boat 20 of FIG. 1, for example, includes two swim platforms 120, 122. In such an embodiment, a portion of the floatable slide sits on the surface of the swim platform and is coupled to the boat through connectors.
The watercraft can also include a ladder, e.g., a rope ladder, attached to at least one of the boat and the slide to enable a user to return to the boat after using the slide.
Patent applications by Thomas M. Plante, Woodbury, MN US
Patent applications in class BOATS, BOAT COMPONENT, OR ATTACHMENT
Patent applications in all subclasses BOATS, BOAT COMPONENT, OR ATTACHMENT