US 2972758 A
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Fe 28, 19 1 M. A. BELlN 2,972,758
LIFE RAFTS Filed Dec. 26, 1957 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 I 8 He. 3
I INVENTOR M flat 6 ATTORNEY Fe 28, 19 1 M. A. BELIN 2,972,758
7 LIFE RAFTS Filed Dec. 26, 1957 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 M find ATTORNEY M. A. BELlN Feb. 28, 1961 LIFE RAFTS 3 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed Dec. 26, 1957 LIFE RAFTS Marcel A. Belin, 11 Rue Voltaire (Loire Atlantique), Nantes, France Filed Dec. 26, 1957, Ser. No. 705,304
3 Claims. (Cl. 9-11) The present invention relates generally to life-saving apparatuses the provision of which is compulsory according to marine regulations on board ships and has more particular reference to a new or improved life raft capable of supporting above the sea level a number of persons who have been evacuated from a wrecked ship.
Known life rafts are generally heavy and cumbersome assemblies made up of a number of pneumatic bins or cork plates the launching of which from the deck of a wrecked ship is a difficult operation which often requires special contrivances. Pneumatic rafts also exist but they must be constantly maintained in proper buoyant condition which means frequent tests and ove'rhauls.
,An object of the invention is to provide a new or improved life raft having a sufliciently small weight for being launched into the sea from a wrecked ship without necessitating special contrivances and being at the same time of such a weather-resistent structure as to represent a practically negligible supervision and maintenance.
Another object of the invention is to provide a life raft as aforesaid having such a construction that it can be used immediately after having been launched into the sea irrespective of whichever of its faces is upwardly directed. 7
Viewed in a general aspect, the invention is embodied in a life raft comprising a frame-shaped armature .(for example of hexagonal shape) the opposite faces of which carry buoyant elements made of a light material which may be for instance a cellular plastic watertight material, the assembly thus built up being accommodated in an imputrescible envelope or housing, a floor covering the middle portion of the raft frame, a hood being provided for being used no matter on what side the raft has fallen into the sea.
In a suitable constructional embodiment of the invention, the raft floor is advantageously made up of a pair of imputrescible pieces of cloth or canvas between which is interposed a light insulating material, for example a watertight cellular plastic material of the type used for constituting the buoyant elements of the armature.
In an alternative embodiment of the invention, the hood is supported bya pair of hoops hinged to'theraft frame and having such a size as to permit them to be engaged from one side to the other side of the raft so that the hood can beopened out no matter on whatiside V the raft has fallen into the sea. 7
According to another feature of'the invention, the
cladding orcareening of the raft body made of a small weight-material is made up of a pair of half shells" capable of being manufactured separately and fastened totates Patent 2,972,758 Patented Feb. 28, 19612 is effected upon the frame which constitutes the raft armature.
According to a further feature of the invention a gasket or sealing joint is applied, when assembling the raft elements, upon its peripheral surface opposite to the frame constituting the raft armature and between the two superimposed edges of each of the two half-shells. The latter may be molded or pressed to proper shape.
For a better understanding of the invention, reference will now be made to the accompanying diagrammatic drawings wherein are shown by way of examples constructional forms of the improved life raft.
Figure 1 is an elevational view of a first constructional form of the improved raft.
Figure 2 is a transverse sectional view of the raft along the line IIII on Fig. 3.
Figure 3 is a top plan view corresponding to'Fig. 1.
Figure 4 is a perspective view showing the raft in ready-for-use condition, assuming its hood to have been opened out.
Figure 5 is a cross sectional view of a further constructional view of the raft.
Figures 6 and 7 are isomeric views showing the manner in which the hood or canopy of the life-raft can be erected.
As shown, the raft comprises a frame 1 made of wood or an equivalent material constituting the arms.- ture which in the present example has a hexagonal shape. Buoyant elements 2 which may or may not have a laminated structure'and which are constituted for instance by a watertight cellular plastic material are cemented, glued o-r likewise attached to the wooden armature 1. Use may be made for example for making'the buoyant elements 2 of expanded polyvinyl chloride which, as is known, has a small Weight and is perfectly imputrescible. Such a material is capable of keeping the raft on the sea surface even if it happens to be perforated. The assembly made up of the frame 1 and buoyant elements 2 is clad by an envelope or housing 3 which may be constituted for example by a linen cloth or canvas'which has been suitably treated to be rendered imputrescible and is preferably covered with a special weather-proof paint or varnish.
A floor designated in its entirety by 4 covers the aperture provided in the centre portion of the frame 1-2'. As is visible inFig. 2, said floor 4 is equispaced from the upper and lower surfaces of the raft so that it may be used no matter on what'side the raft has fallen into the sea. The floor 4 is made up of a pair of imputrescible cloths 5 constituted for example by a suitable plastic defining between'them a gap which may receive an insulating filling 6 constituted for example by the same plastic material as that of which the buoyant elements 2 are made.
As will be readily understood from an examination of Fig. 2, the position of the floor 4 on the raft defines an' air pocket providing an insulation between the sea surface and the lower face of the floor 4 so that people supported by said floor are protected against cold radiation from the water. Such an insulation is facilitated bysealing the edges of the floor 4 to the raft frame l.
'The'raft frame 1 also carries a pair of hinged hoops 7 the size of which (as is visible in Fig. 3) is suchto permitthem to. extendfrom one side to the other side of the raft by a pivotal motion about the hinge points 8. Said hinge points 8 are provided by studs inserted into the rigid frame 1 of the life raft as shown in Figure 2. Such hoops support a hood 9 made of an impervious canvas which is normally folded about the raft as shown by Fig. 1 but which can be opened out as represented in Fig. 4. In the last-cited figure is shown at 10 the securing method (for example by means of laces) used for fastening the hood 9 upon the hoops 7. A separate hood portion is provided for each hoop 7. Said hood portion is secured along one edge on the corresponding hoop 7 as mentioned hereinabove, while its other edge is secured, for instance nailed, sewn, glued or the like, on the periphery of the raft as shown at 18 on Figures 4, 6 and 7, so that both hood portions can be developed on either side of the left raft when erecting the hoops 7, according to whichever side of the raft is directed upwardly when said raft is falling into the sea. It will be understood that rescued people Standing or seated under the hood are well sheltered against adverse weather conditions. Adjacent each end the hood 9 is provided with an ingress opening 11 while at its upper end it is furnished with a rain-collecting pocket or bucket 12. The hood 9 may be fitted upon either the one or the other face of the raft depending upon the swinging side of the hoops 7. Launching of the raft may thus be effected without requiring special precautions for dimeeting its downward motion since both sides thereof may be used at will. Furthermore when folded down, the hood 9 may function as wash-strakes on a boat would do and it has a height matching the sea condition so as to shelter people in the raft.
Lugs 19 are provided on' the raft hoops 7, so that strings 20 can be passed into holes provided in said lugs and attached to hooks 21 inserted into the raft frame 1 for retaining the hoops 7 in the erected position, as shown in Figure 6. The upper portion 22 of the hood '9 can then be developed over the middle part of the raft and secured in place, for instance by means of elastic strings 23 attached to said hooks 21. Protecting baffles 24 can be provided on both sides of the life raft for closing the same and for preventing ingress of water. The hooks 21 protrude on both sides of the securing line 18 so that a hook portion remains free for attaching the strings 20 and 23 irrespective of the side on which the raft is falling into sea.
Ancillary devices may be provided for completing the raft according to the invention, for example a pair of rope ladders 13 fastened to a pair of oppositely located points on the raft. Fittings permitting the raft to be towed, also clinging ropes and the usual rigging and fittings may be also provided.
In the constructional modification shown in Fig. 5, the raft body which comprises the buoyant elements 2 and the floor 4 is housed in a pair of half shells 14, which may be interconnected by means of screws 16 set into the frame 1.
Preferably the lower edge of the half shell 15 slightly overlaps the upper edge of the half shell 14 so as to permit a peripheral gasket 17 to be interposed between said superimposed edges for performing perfect water-tighb ness when the screws 16 are tightened.
The manufacturing cost of this raft is moderate because the making of the two half shells and their assembly may be carried out rapidly.
The cladding achieved by means of said half shells permits the raft still better to withstand the action of sea water while necessitating no painting or varnishing.
Even if the raft built as above described is accidentally pierced, it preserves its buoyancy. Another advantage is that it olfers a high resistance to aging due to the use of appropriate materials so that it is practically wear proof. Consequently periodical inspections, tests and overhauls as are required by pneumatic rafts become useless.
constructional modifications are conceivable without departing from the ambit of the invention and the scope of the appended claims.
What is claimed is:
1. A life raft comprising a rigid frame, light weight buoyant elements affixed to said frame, a floor covering the midle portion of the frame in substantially coplanar relation therewith, an imputrescible watertight envelope surrounding said frame, said elements and said floor, a pair of hoops hinged to said frame and so sized as to be shiftable from one side to the other side of the plane of said frame, an impervious cloth secured to said hoops and to the periphery of said frame so as to provide a hood which canbe opened out irrespective of the side on which theraft is buoyed, and means for retaining said hoops and said impervious cloth in their opened condition.
2. A life raft comprising a rigid annular frame of oval shape, light weight buoyant elements arranged aifixed to said frame, the periphery of which remains accessible from without, a floor covering the middle portion of the frame in substantially coplanar relation therewith, an imputrescible watertight envelope surrounding said frame, said elements and said floor, a pair of U-shaped hoops hinged to said frame substantially with respect to its transverse axis of symmetry and so sized as to be shiftable from one side to the other side of the general plane of the raft, impervious cloth portions having edges secured to said hoops and to the accessible periphery of said frame for providing a hood which can be opened out irrespective of the side on which the raft is buoyed, an additional top portion made of impervious cloth secured to one of said hoops, means for removably securing said top portion to the other hoops, and means for retaining said hoops and said impervious cloth in the opened condition.
3. In a life raft comprising a horizontal, rigid, planar annular frame, light weight buoyant elements affixed to said frame and extending equal distances therefrom on the opposite sides of the plane of said frame, a planar floor enclosing the annulus defined by said frame and substantially coplanar therewith, an imputrescible watertight envelope intimately engaging and enclosing said frame, elements and floor, a pair of hoops pivotally hinged at the ends thereof to the outer periphery of said frame, each of said hoops being of a configuration similar to and of a dimension slightly greater than that of the outer periphery of said frame whereby each of said hoops in the horizontal position circumscribe substantially onehalf of the outer periphery of'said frame and may be operatively pivoted toward either side of the plane of said frame, and an impervious cloth secured to each of said hoops and to the outer periphery of said frame forming a hood upon raising the hoop relative to said frame.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS OTHER REFERENCES The Motor Ship Magazine, December 1955, p. 1040.