Knockdown pontoons for portable boats and the combination thereof

Abstract

A knockdown, pontoon boat is described which may be easily assembled and disassembled. The boat is provided with high strength pontoons that may be dismantled for shipment and convenient storage. The pontoons are made of sections with a compression ring disposed between adjacent sections and means is provided for securing the individual members of the pontoon into a watertight unit.

Claims

1. In a portable, sectional pontoon having a bow member, a stern member, and at least one generally cylindrical member axially aligned with and intermediate the bow and stern members, wherein the improvement comprises: a ring coaxially disposed between adjacent members, said ring having a rim, a hub, and at least one structural member extending from said hub to said rim, said rim having opposed annular sealing surfaces that engage the ends of said members, said cylindrical member being a metal sheet flexed into a cylindrical configuration and defining spaced longitudinal ends, an elongated brace having opposed longitudinally extending grooves, said brace being disposed between said longitudinal ends with said longitudinal ends being received within said grooves, means for securing said longitudinal ends within said grooves, and means for securing said adjacent members to one another. 2. The pontoon of claim 1 wherein said securing means is a structural member having one end secured to said bow member, the other end to said stern member and means for urging said bow and stern members toward one another. 3. In a pontoon, a combination comprising at least one generally cylindrical section, a bow section having an open end, a closed end, and a diameter substantially equal to the diameter of said cylindrical section, a stern section having an open end, a closed end, and a diameter substantially equal to the diameter of said cylindrical member, said stern closed end having a central opening therein, said bow, cylindrical, and stern sections being axially aligned with the open ends of said bow and stern sections facing said cylindrical section, a plurality of ring members comprising a rim having opposed flange members extending axially therefrom, a central hub member having an opening therein and a plurality of spokes extending from said hub member to said rim, each of said rims of said ring members having a diameter substantially equal to the cylindrical member, one of said ring members being disposed between adjacent sections, a longitudinally extending structural member received within said stern opening and extending axially to said bow section, said structural member having one end extending out of said opening, means for securing the opposite end of said structural member to said bow member, and a securing member disposed on said outside end of said structural member, whereby said securing member is directed towards said bow to impose an axial biasing force on said sections thereby creating a seal between each ring member and its adjacent sections to yield a structure having water tight integrity. 4. The pontoon of claim 3 wherein each of said opposed flanged members defines an annular groove that is adapted to receive an end portion of a section therein. 5. The pontoon of claim 4 wherein said annular groove has tapered walls defining a variable diameter that equals the inside and outside of a section end portion intermediate its extent. 6. In a pontoon, the combination comprising at least one generally cylindrical section, a bow section having an open end, a closed end, and a diameter substantially equal to the diameter of said cylindrical section, a stern section having an open end, a closed end, and a diameter substantially equal to the diameter of said cylindrical member, said stern closed end having a central opening therein, said bow, cylindrical, and stern sections being axially aligned with the open ends of said bow and stern sections facing said cylindrical section, a plurality of ring members each having a diameter substantially equal to the cylindrical member, one of said ring members being disposed between adjacent sections, each ring member comprising a rim having opposed flanged members extending axially therefrom, a central hub member having an opening therein, and a plurality of spokes extending from said hub member to said rim, each of said opposed flanged members defining an annular groove that is adapted to receive an end portion of a section therein, aNd the ends of adjacent sections being flared radially inwardly to define a lip adapted to be received within an annular groove.
United States Patent Rabideau [54] KNOCKDOWN PONTOONS FOR PORTABLE BOATS AND THE COMBINATION THEREOF [72] Inventor: Gerald T. Rlbldelu, Toledo, Ohio [7 3] Assignee: Mio Marine Corporation, Toledo, Ohio [22] Filed: June 4, 1968 [21] App]. No.: 734,345 s2 u.s.c1 ..114/0.sF,22o/s,9/2s 511 1111. C1. ..B63b35/38 5s FieldofSearch ..l14/66.5F,0.5F,6l;9/25; 9/11;220/s [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,802,716 4/1931 l-lowcott ..220/5 1,321,320 9/1931 Plummer ..9/11 [15] 3,664,285 1451 May .23, 19.72 2,258,285 10/1941 Fish ..220/5 3,004,268 10/1961 Haas 3,346,279 10/1967 Stachiwetal ..220/s FOREIGNPATENTS ORAPPLICATIONS 10,934 19oo GreatBritain ..9/11 Primary ExaminerAndrew H. Farrell Attorney-Peter Vrahotes [57] ABSTRACT A knockdown, pontoon boat is described which may be easily assembled and disassembled. The boat is provided with'high strength pontoons that may be dismantled for shipment and convenient storage. The pontoons are made of sections with a compression ring disposed between adjacent sections and means is provided for securing the individual members of the pontoon into a watertight unit. 6 Claim, 13 Drawing Figures fATENTEUMM 23 I972 I SHEET 1 [IF 5 GERALD 1"; mmmmma m2 3,664,285 SHEET 2 UF 5 INVENTOR. GERALD T. RABIDEAU 7ATENTE0MAY231972 3, 664,285 sum 3 [IF 5 FIG. 5 FIG. 6 INVENTOR. GERALD T. RABIDEAU PATENTEDmma I972 8,664,285 sum u UF 5 FIG. 8 Fucs. 9 I INVENTOR. GERALD T. RABIDEAU FIG. IO PATEHTEBM 23 I972 3, 664,285 sum 5 or 5 INVENTOR. GERALD r. RABIDEAU KNOCKDOWN PONTOONS FOR PORTABLE BOATS AND THE COMBINATION THEREOF A need has long existed in the boating field for a portable boat which may readily be moved by an individual from a place of storage to the water. Many attempts have been made in the past to provide such a portable boat; however, the resulting boats have tended to be structurally weak and cumbersome to handle. A great deal of emphasishas been directed to sectional pontoon boats, as this type of boat ofi'ers the advantages of flexibility and economy. The main drawbacks to prior pontoon boats have been lack of strength, inconvenience in terms of handling and transporting, and their inability to maintain water-tight integrity. It is, therefore, as object of this invention to provide a novel portable boat which may be easily assembledand disassembled. It is another object of this invention to provide a knockdown pontoon having a high degree of water-tight integrity and strength when assembled. It is still another object of this invention to provide a boat whose component parts may be transported and assembled by an individual with standard tools. It is a further object of this invention to provide a knockdown boat which in its disassembled condition can be stored in a small area'such as a garage or basement. Other objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art upon reference to the following detailed description and drawing, wherein: FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a pontoon boat of the type to which this invention is directed. FIG. 2 is a longitudinal view of a pontoon that incorporates the features of this invention. FIG. 3 is a plan view of a compression ringthat forms a part of this invention taken along the lines 33 of FIG. 2. FIG, 4 is a cross-sectional view of a compression rings rim taken along the lines 4--4 of FIG. 3. FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of a sectional boat utilizing pontoons incorporating this invention. FIG. 6 is a detailed cross-sectional view taken along the lines 6-6 of FIG. 3 showing a support structure. FIG. 7 is a detailed cross sectional view of the stern section of the pontoon of FIG. 2 showing a support structure. FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view of another embodiment of a compression ring taken along the lines 44 of FIG. 3. FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view of still another embodiment taken at the junction of adjacent pontoon sections. FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional view of a further embodiment taken at the junction of adjacent pontoon sections. FIG. 11 is a cross-sectional view of a compression ring taken along the lines 3-3 of FIG. 2 showing an alternate construction. FIG. 12 is still another cross-sectional view of another embodiment of a compression ring taken along the lines 3-3 of FIG. 2. FIG. 13 is a cross-sectional view of the rim of the compression ring in FIG. 12 taken along the lines 13-13. A novel pontoon boat has been invented which eliminates the shortcomings of prior portable boats, and the novelty resides particularly in the construction of the pontoons. Each pontoon comprises a plurality of axially aligned sections, including bow and stern sections, with a ring member positioned between adjacent sections. The sections are drawn together by a tension member, such as a cable, rod or chain assembly, that extends along the axis of the pontoon. Each ring member has axially extending, tapered flanges which tend to seal adjacent sections as they are drawn together. A bridge assembly is provided on each pontoon to which a deck and superstructure is attached. Referring now to FIGS. 1-7 of the drawing, a pontoon boat is shown generally at 10 and includes a pair of pontoons 12, a superstructure 14, and a supporting deck 16. Each pontoon is made of a plurality of generally cylindrical sections 17, including a bow section 18 and a stern section 20. The stem section 20 islongitudinally abbreviated and takes the general shape of a disk having a base member 19 and central opening 21 therein. The bow section 18 has a sculptured front end 22, to reduce resistance, to which a fin 23 may be attached to prevent water from splashing onto the deck when the boat is in motion. The other end of the bow section 18 is generally round and has integrally connected thereto a ring member 24 that has a central opening 26 therein. One, or more, of the sections 17 may be supplied with an air valve 27. Disposed between adjacent ends of the sections 17 is a compression ring 28. Each compression ring 28 has a rim 30 and a central hub member 34 with a plurality of radially extending spokes 36 connectingly joining the hub to the rim. The hub 34 has a central opening 37 therein. Extending from opposite sides of each rim 30 is a pair of spaced annular flanges 38, each pair of flanges being channel shaped with opposed tapered surfaces 39 and 41. The variable diameter defined by the tapered surfaces 39 is such that the inside diameter of a section 17 is equaled intermediate the extent of the inside tapered surfaces 39 and the outside diameter is equaled intermediate the extent of the outside tapered surfaces 41. Consequently, the paired flanges 38 will be partially received within a section 17 when there is axial alignment therebetween as the section end is disposed between the opposed tapered surfaces 39 and 41. Referring now to FIGS. 6 and 7, one end of a rod 40 is received within, and extends slightly beyond, the opening 26 of the bow ring 24, which ring may have a structure the same as the compression rings except that one end is integral with the how. The rod extends rearwardly the length of the pontoon to be received within and extend slightly beyond the opening 21 of the stern section 20. As the rod 40 extends sub stantially the length of the pontoon 12 it passes through the opening 37 of each hub member 34 of the compression rings 28. Each end of the rod 40 is threaded and a nut 42 and 44 is secured to the bow end and stern end respectively. As shown in FIG. 7, a sleeve 43 may be disposed intermediate the stem 20 and the rim 34 to prevent too great a load being imposed on the stern when the nut 44 is tightened. A gasket 45 is provided between the exterior nut 44 and base member 19 to seal the opening 21 when the nut 44 is tightened. In this embodiment, a rod 40 is used to secure the members; however, another structural member, such as a cable or chain, may be used. Attached to the upper surfaces of the pontoons 12 are a plurality of generally M shaped bridge members 46, each bridge member having a pair of upper flat surfaces 47 with an opening 48 therein. The deck 16 and super structure 14 may be .attached to the pontoons, as for example, by a nut and bolt assembly 50 being received within the opening 48, thereby securing the deck to the bridge members 46. With the construction of the pontoon boat 10 heretofore described, the boat may readily be assembled or disassembled by an individual requiring only the simplest of household tools. In fact, it is possible to assemble the pontoon boat 10 with only the use of a pair of wrenches. Assuming that the boat I 12 is in a disassembled condition, one would proceed by securing one end of the rod 40 to the ring 24 by passing the rod through the opening 26 and securing a nut 42 to the threaded end. The other members of the pontoon, the compression rings 30 and the sections 17, would be sequentially passed over the rod until the desired length is achieved. The final member to be installed is the stern section 20 and the nut 44 is loosely fitted onto the other threaded end of the rod 40. With the various members of the pontoon 12 in place, these members are aligned so that upon tightening of the nut 44, the ends of the sections 17 will be biased toward the channeled flange surfaces 39 and 41 to create a sealing'relationship. After the nut is tightened, the pontoon will be water tight and, if desired, a positive air pressure may be supplied to the pontoon through the valve 27. The valve 27 may be installed on any of the sections since there is communication between all sections. The assembled pontoons are then layed parallel to one another a proper distance so that the deck 16 may be attached to the bridge members 46. The pontoons described and shown achieve a high degree of strength due to the presence of the compression rings 28. The spokes 36 provide radial strength to each compression ring 28 and, with the distribution of the compression rings along the length of the pontoon 17, a degree of strength is provided to the pontoons. The presence of the rod extending along the axis of each pontoon 12 provides a degree of longitudinal strength thereto, particularly in view of the longitudinal compressive force that may be imposed on the pontoons. It will be obvious that the size of the pontoon boat may be changed to suit the taste of an individual owner. The rod 40 may be made of pieces that are joined to vary the length of each pontoon. Knockdown superstructures and decks are well known in the industry, and for this reason they have not been described in detail in this specification. Here, again, any size deck 16 may be attached to the pontoons as the limit to the distance separating the parallel pontoon will be controlled by the deck itself. In addition to varying the size, this type of boat provides unusual variety of structures. Different types of superstructures may be attached to the deck and pontoons to yield a cabin cruiser, day cruiser, camper, or any other type of boat. The advantages in marketing are also obvious, as any type of boat or size thereof may be supplied by interchanging basic components. With the compression ring 28 having a structure as shown in FIGS. 24, there is a slight protrusion beyond the diameter of the pontoon 12. This protrusion may be eliminated by the structure shown in FIG. 8. The compression ring 28 has the same outside diameter as the sections 17, but the ends of each section are flared to form a lip 54 that is received between opposed flanges 38. With this construction a smooth outside diameter is achieved thereby reducing friction as the pontoons 12 stream through the water. FIG. 8 also shows another member 56 disposed between the flanges 38, which member receives the ends 54 of the sections 17. This member may be made of a resilient material, thereby aiding the seal between the compression ring 28 and the sections 17. Other alternative structures of the sections 17 and compression rings 28 are shown in FIGS. 9-13. In FIG. 9 a compression ring 28A is sealingly attached, as by a weld 58, to each end of a section 17. The compression rings 28A have matching threaded ends 60 constructed in a manner so that the bridge members 47 of each section 17 will become aligned upon half a turn of one section relative to a mating section. With this type of compression ring a chain 62, such as aircraft chain, may be used to secure the sections instead of a rod 40. An axially extending, structural member of some type is necessary to impose a compressing force on the sections. When a pontoon I2 is in the water it is subject to many stresses and forces. Without some type of compressing force, the embodiment shown in FIG. 9 would twist and tend to separate, thereby imposing a load on the nut and bolt assemblies 50 which could cause them to shear. The presence of the compressive force created by the rod 40 or chain 62 negates the effect of the stresses imposed on the pontoon 12. The chain 62 has the advantage of light weight; however, it lacks the strength of the rod 40. With the compression rings 28A using threaded ends 60, a high strength, axial member is not needed and the advantage of light weight offered by the chain may be utilized. In this embodiment, the end links of the chain have a bolt 64 integral therewith to which a nut 66 may be fastened to secure the chain to the end sections 18 and 20. The embodiments heretofore described have related to sections, none of which is water-tight independently. The instant invention may be adapted with advantage to a plurality of self buoyant members as shown in FIG. 10. In this embodiment the compression rings 283 have radial solid walls 68. A pipe or bore member 70 is integral with the walls 68 of opposed compression rings 28B, which rings are sealingly welded to the opposed ends of a section 17. One of the adjacent rings 288 has a lip 72 while the other ring has a groove 74 adapted to receive the lip in a sealing manner. A rod 40, or chain 62, is positioned within the bore member 70 and provides means for retaining the sections in a unit as described previously. The pontoon boat 10 may be broken down even further than shown by the previous embodiments by having an assembled section 17C as shown in FIG. 11. A flat sheet 17C may be flexed to form a cylinder with the longitudinally extending ends received within a brace 76 having flanges 38C with a construction substantially like the flanges 38 of the compression rings 28. A clamp member 78 is formed by a plurality of bridge portions 46C secured to a semi-circular shoulder 80. The bridge portions 46C have laterally disposed openings 82 therein. A shoulder is fixedly mounted to a section 17C on each side of the brace 76 and a bolt 84 is passed through the openings 82 to which a nut 86 is attached. As the nut 86 is tightened, the clamp 78 imposes a circumferential force on the sheet 17C thereby causing the ends of the sheet to seat themselves between the flanges 38C of the brace 76. The sections 17C may then be joined to form a pontoon as described in the previous embodiments. FIGS. 12 and 13 illustrate an embodiment which may be used either with sections 17 that are independently buoyant or with sections that must be assembled to form a buoyant structure. The compression rings 28D are sealingly attached to the sections 17, as by welding,.and each ring has a circumferential grove 88. Adjacent pairs of compression rings 28D are mated with one ring having an annular tongue 90 and the other a circular grove 92 adapted to receive the tongue of an adjacent, mating compression ring. The sections 17 in this embodiment are joined and held together by a band 94. The band 94 has a clamp assembly 96 and a pair of tongues 98 adapted to be received by the circumferential groves 88. The clamp assembly 96 includes a pair of nut and bolt sets 100. As the clamp assembly 96 tightened, the tongue 98 and grove 88 combinations bias the sections 17 together and hold them fast. In addition, a plurality of seals are created by the tongue 90 and 96 and grove 92 and 88, respectfully, combinations. Although only a few embodiments have been shown and described, it will be obvious that modifications may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the appended claims. I claim: 1. In a portable, sectional pontoon having a bow member, a stern member, and at least one generally cylindrical member axially aligned with and intermediate the bow and stern members, wherein the improvement comprises: a ring coaxially disposed between adjacent members, said ring having a rim, a hub, and at least one structural member extending from said hub to said rim, said rim having opposed annular sealing surfaces that engage the ends of said members, said cylindrical member being a metal sheet flexed into a cylindrical configuration and defining spaced longitudinal ends, an elongated brace having opposed longitudinally extending grooves, said brace being disposed between said longitudinal ends with said longitudinal ends being received within said grooves, means for securing said longitudinal ends within said grooves, and means for securing said adjacent members to one another. 2. The pontoon of claim 1 wherein said securing means is a structural member having one end secured to said bow member, the other end to said stern member and means for urging said how and stem members toward one another. 3. In a pontoon, a combination comprising at least one generally cylindrical section, a bow section having an open end, a closed end, and a diameter substantially equal to the diameter of said cylindrical section, a stern section having an open end, a closed end, and a diameter substantially equal to the diameter of said cylindrical member, said stern closed end having a central opening therein, said bow, cylindrical, and stem sections being axially aligned with the open ends of said bow and stem sections facing said cylindrical section, a plurality of ring members comprising a rim having opposed flange members extending axially therefrom, a central hub member having an opening therein and a plurality of spokes extending from said hub member to said rim, each of said rims of said ring members having a diameter substantially equal to the cylindrical member, one of said ring members being disposed between adjacent sections, a longitudinally extending structural member received within said stern opening and extending axially to said bow section, said structural member having one end extending out of said opening, means for securing the opposite end of said structural member to said bow member, and a securing member disposed on said outside end of said structural member, whereby said securing member is directed towards said bow to impose an axial biasing force on said sections thereby creating a seal between each ring member and its adjacent sections to yield a structure having water tight integrity. 4. The pontoon of claim 3 wherein each of said opposed flanged members defines an annular groove that is adapted to receive an end portion of a section therein, 5. The pontoon of claim 4 wherein said annular groove has tapered walls defining a variable diameter that equals the inside arid outside of a section end portion intermediate its extent. 6. In a pontoon, the combination comprising at least one generally cylindrical section, a bow section having an open end, a closed end, and a diameter substantially equal to the diameter of said cylindrical section, a stern section having an open end, a closed end, and a diameter substantially equal to the diameter of said cylindrical member, said stern closed end having a central opening therein, said bow, cylindrical, and stem sections being axially aligned with the open ends of said bow and stern sections facing said cylindrical section, a plurality of ring members each having a diameter substantially equal to the cylindrical member, one of said ring members being disposed between adjacent sections, each ring member comprising a rim having opposed flanged members extending axially therefrom, a central hub member having an opening therein, and a plurality of spokes extending from said hub member to said rim, each of said opposed flanged members defining an annular groove that is adapted to receive an end portion of a section therein, and the ends of adjacent sections being flared radially inwardly to define a lip adapted to be received within an annular groove.

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