Patent application title: Boat Bow Cover and Guard Device
Gerald Dion (Mattice, CA)
IPC8 Class: AB63B1700FI
Class name: Ships boats, boat component, or attachment protective cover or shield
Publication date: 2012-05-31
Patent application number: 20120132127
A protective guard for shielding key areas of a boat hull that are
exposed to the greatest risk of impact damage from kicked up road debris
while being transported behind a tow vehicle. A V-shaped tarp is fastened
to the forward tie line anchors of a boat, with the interior angle of the
V situated at the bow crest. The tarp is tautly stretched along the hull
by bungee cords spanning the underside of the boat, attaching the port
and starboard side of the tarp. The rear bottom corners of the tarp are
fastened to the boat trailer. This configuration protects of the entire
underside of the bow from road debris and damaged resulting therefrom.
Other embodiments include a variety of configurations to accommodate not
only various sizes of boat, but also to facilitate installation on
various other towable objects including different water craft,
all-terrain vehicles and motorcycles.
1. A protective sheathing device for guarding watercraft from impact
damage caused by road debris kicked up by the tires of a tow vehicle,
comprising: a V-shaped tarp having a nose cap, a first and second upper
tarp flap, and a first and second side tarp flap; said side tarp flaps
adapted to wrap around said watercraft bow underside hull portion, said
side tarp flaps having a plurality of eyelets; said nose cap adapted to
cover an upper section of said watercraft bow and center said tarp on
said watercraft; said upper tarp flaps adapted to fold over said
watercraft gunwale; a primary attachment means for securing said upper
tarp flaps to said watercraft; a secondary attachment means for securing
said side tarp flaps across the underside of said watercraft, as well as
securing said tarp to a tow trailer.
2. The device of claim 1, wherein said tarp is made from a heavy-duty vinyl material.
3. The device of claim 1, wherein said primary attachment means are twist clips that are adapted to attach said tarp to a rounded structure, such as a tie line anchor or hand railing.
4. The device of claim 1, wherein said secondary attachment means are bungee cords adapted to connect to said first and second tarp side flap eyelets.
5. The device of claim 1, wherein said tarp further comprises a padded backing material to provide further protection to said watercraft.
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
 This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/417,375 filed on Nov. 26, 2010, entitled "Ultimate Boat Guard."
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 1. Field of the Invention
 The present invention relates to a device used to provide a protective sheathing means for objects that must be mounted to a tow trailer and hitched to the rear of a vehicle for transportation purposes. More specifically, the device protects against possible damage to the towed object caused by debris that is kicked up by the rear tires of the transportation vehicle.
 2. Description of the Prior Art
 Boat ownership occurs for many different reasons. For example, boats are used by leisure boaters, sailors, career fishermen, hobbyist fishermen, and both professional and amateur boat racers. Regardless of the reason for boat ownership, many individuals take pride in their boat, as it represents a major investment. Unless a boat is harbored in a marina, boat owners are responsible for storing and transporting their boats to and from a launch port. Typically, a boat owner will tow their boat to and from the boat's storage space to the water in a boat trailer hitched behind a vehicle capable of towing such a large object. It is unfortunate, but tow vehicles have a tendency to kick up rocks, mud and other debris located in the roadway during the transportation process. These rocks and debris can be kicked up with sufficient force to cause damage to a towed boat's hull if impacted by the debris. The resulting damage to a boat's hull can be unsightly, or could impair the performance and/or operation of the boat. Similar circumstances can arise when towing objects other than boats as well.
 Several patents have been granted to devices that attempt to provide protection for the hull of a boat from damage that could be sustained when a boat is beached against a shore line. Some shores are rockier than others, or are littered with jagged shell fragments. When beached against abrasive shorelines, damage to the hull can occur as the boat rocks back and forth due to the motion of the waves. This rocking motion can cause wear and tear to the hull if it is left unprotected and grinds against the shore.
 U.S. Pat. No. 4,815,412 to Cassaro describes a protective device for the bow of a boat. The device is designed to be used while the boat is waterborne, providing protection to the bow when the boat is beached on a shore. The device is an apron made from a durable material. The apron has an attachment means located on the front of the apron, which is fastened to the nose of the boat. Two floatation devices each attached to their own short tow line and one is attached to each of the two bottom corners of the apron. Once the front end of the apron is attached to the nose of the boat, and while the boat is moving in a forward direction, a user would drop the apron and the two floatation devices into the water at the front of the boat, ensuring that the apron is centered, and that there is one floatation device moving along either side of the boat as the boat moves through the water. The drag from the water as the boat moves forward will pull the apron under the boat, and the floatation devices will ensure that the apron is dragged into place, snuggly against the hull of the boat. Once in place, the boat can beach a shore and not sustain hull damage because the device produces a protective barrier between the hull and the shoreline. While this boat beaching protection device provides protection to the bow when a boat runs ashore, the Cassaro patent does not suggest this device be used when the boat is being towed behind a vehicle.
 Similar to the Cassaro patent is U.S. Pat. No. 5,357,890 to Mason Jr. The Mason Jr. patent also describes a boat hull and keel protector designed to prevent damage when a boat runs ashore. The device is a rubber pad that has a groove running down the center of the pad. Along the edges parallel to the central groove, there are tie lines protruding from the pad. The groove is to be aligned with the keel of the boat and the two sides of the rubber pad are to be brought up the sides of the boat hull as the tie lines are fastened to tie line anchors along the bow of the boat. The device only protects the front bow area of the boat hull that is likely to be affected by beaching. While this boat beaching protective device provides protection to the bow when a boat runs ashore, the Mason Jr. patent does not suggest this device be used when the boat is being towed behind a vehicle.
 U.S. Pat. No. 4,803,942 to Dren is also similar to the previously mentioned prior art. It is another example of a hull and keel protector designated for use when a boat is beaching. The device protects the hull from the shoreline. The device is a landing and launching device that is to be placed on the shore so that the boat can be beached up against it. It does not attach to the boat. Upon landing the boat, a user would get out of the boat and place the device on the shore surface. The boat would then be guided towards the device and positioned so that the bow of the boat aligns with a groove in the device. The boat is nestled against the device while beached, protecting the boat hull from the shoreline and the abrasive forces therefrom. During launch, the boat would pull away from the device, and the device is collected from the shore by a user and stored in the boat. While this hull protective device provides protection for the bow when a boat is being landed, the device described in the Dren patent could not possibly be used as a protective device when the boat is being towed behind a vehicle.
 While the Cassaro, Mason Jr. and Dren patents each describe a hull protection device for the front of a boat, these patents are limited to use when the boat is waterborne. The effects of beaching can impair hull integrity. However, these devices are satisfying a need different than the need addressed by the present invention. The present invention seeks to protect against hull damage caused by kicked-up rocks and debris when the boat is being towed behind a vehicle. The present invention substantially diverges from these prior art patents in structure and intent.
 Prior art was also found for a device used to protect the front of a boat while it is being transported behind a vehicle. U.S. Pat. No. 5,076,195 to Heyne describes a protective tarp that wraps around the nose and front sides of the bow to protect it from kicked up rocks when in transport behind a tow vehicle. To protect the crest of the bow, adhesive strips are used to secure the two tarp sides across the crest of the bow. Once the adhesive strips are in place, a user can then secure the rest of the tarp to the boat. The Heyne patent suggests using a set of springs to secure the edges of the tarp to the boat. The springs are placed under expansion tension to keep the tarp taut. Eyelets are located on the top side of the boat to facilitate the taut attachment of the tarp around the front hull of the boat. The tarp is also attached to the trailer that the boat sits in during transportation with spring attachments. Two major disadvantages of this design highlight problems with the device. First, the device does not adequately cover the crest of the bow of the boat. The tarp is draped across the top of the boat and brought together with adhesive strips to seal the tarp seam across the crest of the bow. During transportation, wind and air flow over the vehicle could pull that seam apart where it is not secured by adhesive strips, creating an area that is not protected from airborne rocks and debris kicked up by the transport vehicle. Secondly, the tarp drapes across the top of the boat's nose, which is not an area of the boat that needs protecting during transportation. Kicked up rocks from the road's surface are likely to damage the hull of the boat, not the top side of the boat's nose. The present invention navigates around these problems as installation of the present invention centers on the crest of the bow of the boat, wrapping around the sides and protecting these key areas from kicked up rocks during transport. A system of bungee cords and twist clips secures the device to the boat and trailer respectively.
 Comparable to the Heyne patent is a product available for sale by Overton's Watersports (R) online store. The product is described as a hull shield, and its prescribed use is for protecting the hull of a boat from kicked up debris during transport behind a vehicle. The product is limited to use on tournament ski boats that are between 18 feet and 24 feet long. The product is a triangular-shaped, heavy-duty vinyl tarp that wraps around the bow of a boat in tow. The tarp is only fastened to the top side of the boat, with the tautness of the tarp keeping it in place during transport. Because the product does not attach to the boat trailer under the boat, a portion of the boat hull remains exposed to liberated debris. The present invention aims to protect the entire hull of the towed boat. Not only does the installation of the present invention center the protective device on the crest of the boat bow and wraps around the sides of the boat, but the present invention also attaches to both the boat and the boat trailer. By connecting the tarp to both the boat and the boat trailer, the present invention forms a protective barrier between the boat hull and any kicked up debris from a tow vehicle. Furthermore, the present invention would not be limited to use only on a specific size or type of towable object.
 The present invention substantially diverges in design elements from the prior art and consequently it is clear that there is a need in the art for an improvement to existing boat hull protective devices. In this regard the instant invention substantially fulfills these needs.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 In view of the foregoing disadvantages inherent in the known types of protective sheathing means for objects that must be towed behind a vehicle for transportation purposes now present in the prior art, the present invention provides a new boat hull guard wherein the same can be utilized to create a protective guard that shields key areas of the boat hull which are exposed to the greatest risk of impact damage from kicked up road debris as a result of being transported behind a tow vehicle.
 It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a protective sheathing means for objects that must be mounted to a tow trailer and hitched to the rear of a vehicle for transportation purposes that has all of the advantages of the prior art and none of the disadvantages.
 Another object of the present invention is to provide protective sheathing means for a variety of towable objects including, but not limited to: water craft, all terrain vehicles, motorcycles, and the like.
 Yet another object of the present invention is to provide quick and easy installation of the protective sheathing device.
 Other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTIONS OF THE DRAWINGS
 Although the characteristic features of this invention will be particularly pointed out in the claims, the invention itself and manner in which it may be made and used may be better understood after a review of the following description, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein like numeral annotations are provided throughout.
 FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the device when it is not attached to a boat.
 FIG. 2 is a perspective exploded view of a twist clip and a tie line anchor depicting how the twist clip and the anchor will clip together to secure the tarp to the top of the boat.
 FIG. 3 is a perspective top side view of the present invention used on a boat.
 FIG. 4 is a perspective under side view of the present invention installed on a boat.
 FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the present invention in a working position.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
 Referring now to FIG. 1, there is shown a perspective view of the device when it is not installed on a boat. The V-shaped tarp 11 can be manufactured in various sizes and shapes. Different embodiments of the device will accommodate different types of boats. The depicted embodiment features a tarp nose cap 18 which can be capped over the nose of the boat 15. The tarp nose cap 18 serves as a guide for centering the tarp 11 at the beginning of the installation process. Once in place, the user can easily secure the rest of the device to the boat. The upper tarp flaps 19 fold over the gunwale the boat bow (edge defining the meeting of the hull and top of the boat) and are fastened to the boat's tie line anchors at the fore end of the boat using twist clips that snap onto the anchors from above, sandwiching the tarp flaps 19 between the clip and the anchor.
 Referring now to FIG. 2, there is shown a magnified perspective view of how the top tarp flaps 19 are fastened to the boat's tie line anchors 16 with twist clips 12. A twist clip is a fastening device that resembles a cuff. Twist clips can be manufactured in a variety of lengths and widths to accommodate different needs. A twist clip works best when it is snapped onto a durable shaft around which it fits. In the depicted embodiment of the device, the top tarp flaps are secured to the top of the boat's hull 15 at the forward boat tie line anchors 16 by twist clips 12. The tarp is secured by pinching the top tarp flaps 19 in between the twist clip 12 and the tie line anchors 16, as the twist clips 12 are snapped onto the boat's tie line anchors 16. A variation of this attachment means would be to fasten the top tarp flaps 19 to a boat hand rail with twist clips 12.
 Referring now to FIG. 3, there is shown an overhead view of the present invention as it appears on a boat 15. The top tarp flaps 19 are secured to the tie line anchors 16 at the forward end of the boat 15 with twist clips 12. As shown, the tarp extends from the bow of the boat towards the stern for a considerable distance with respect to the overall length of the boat, providing protection from debris and rocks along the hull from the bow to the sides of the boat.
 Referring now to FIG. 4, there is shown an underside view of the present invention as it appears when used on a boat 15 from a point of view that would be under the boat 15. When the tarp 11 is centered on the bow crest of the boat 15 and attached to the top side of the boat 15 by the twist clips 12, the tarp 11 is left dangling against either side of the boat hull 15, comprising one starboard and one port side tarp flap. Both side tarp flaps along their bottom edge have a series of eyelets 17 which are corresponding pairs between the port and starboard side tarp flaps 11. To secure the side tarp flaps 11 and protect the underside of the boat's hull 15, the eyelets 17 on the port side will be connected by a bungee cord 13 to their corresponding eyelet pair 17 on the starboard side of the tarp 11, or to the boat trailer 14. The eyelets 17 closest to the bow of the boat 15 will be connected to one another by a bungee cord 13 that stretches across the underside of the boat 15 to ensure that the tarp 11 is held tautly in place and to protect the maximum amount of hull surface area that can be directly impacted by kicked up rocks during transportation. The second pair of eyelets 17 closest to the bow of the boat 15 will also be attached to one another under the bow of the boat 15 by another bungee cord 13. The rear-most bottom corners of the side tarp flaps 11 also have an eyelet 17. This eyelet 17 is fastened directly to the boat trailer 14 by a bungee cord 13.
 Referring now to FIG. 5, there is shown the present invention fully installed on a boat 15. The device is a tarp 11 that can be wrapped around the front hull of a boat to protect against rocks and debris kicked up by a tow vehicle during transportation. The tarp 11 is V-shaped and is made from a heavy-duty vinyl material that is highly durable and can be made with a padded backing to prevent scratches to the boat 15 when the device is installed. The interior angle of a V-shaped tarp 11 is centered on the bow crest of the boat 15, and the two side tarp flaps 11 are wrapped around the hull, extending along the port and starboard sides of the boat's hull 15. The top edge of the side tarp flaps 11 is secured to the top side of the boat 15 by an attachment means (such as twist clips 12), while the bottom edge of the side tarp flaps 11 are wrapped under the boat's hull 15, fastened together by bungee cords 13. The rear-most bottom corner of each of the tarp flaps 11 is attached to the boat trailer 14 by a bungee cord 13.
 Upon installation, the present invention provides protection of the boat hull 15 from rocks and debris from the road's surface that can be kicked up by a tow vehicle's tires. Fastening the protective tarp top flaps 19 to the top of the boat hull 15 at the forward tie line anchors 16 with twist clips 12, tautly strapping the tarp across the underside of the boat 15 with bungee cords 13 and attaching the lower rear-corners of the side tarp flaps 11 to the boat trailer 14 creates a protective guard that shields the key areas of the boat hull that are exposed to the greatest risk of impact damage from kicked up road debris when being transported behind a tow vehicle.
 The device is not limited to only being used as a boat protector. The device can also be manufactured in a variety of sizes, colors and shapes and can be used to protect various objects that are towed behind a vehicle during transportation. Other embodiments of the present invention are designed for use when protecting towed jet skis and other watercraft, all terrain vehicles, motorcycles or performance bikes and various other vehicles, such as classic or vintage cars, which require transport.
 To this point, the instant invention has been shown and described in what is considered to be the most practical and preferred embodiments. It is recognized, however, that departures may be made within the scope of the invention and that obvious modifications will occur to a person skilled in the art. With respect to the above description then, it is to be realized that the optimum dimensional relationships for the parts of the invention, to include variations in size, materials, shape, form, function and manner of operation, assembly and use, are deemed readily apparent and obvious to one skilled in the art, and all equivalent relationships to those illustrated in the drawings and described in the specification are intended to be encompassed by the present invention.
 Therefore, the foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described, and accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention.
Patent applications in class Protective cover or shield
Patent applications in all subclasses Protective cover or shield