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Publication numberUS3543712 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 1, 1970
Filing dateOct 7, 1968
Priority dateOct 7, 1968
Publication numberUS 3543712 A, US 3543712A, US-A-3543712, US3543712 A, US3543712A
InventorsVasilatos Anastasios J
Original AssigneeAv American Ventures Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Buoyant swimming aid
US 3543712 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 72] lnventor Anastasios J. Vasilatos Wilmette, Illinois [211 App]. No. 765,360 [22] Filed Oct. 7, 1968 [45] Patented Dec. 1, 1970 [73] Assignee A.V. American Ventures, Inc.

Wilmette, Illinois a corporation of Illinois [54] BUOYANT SWIMMING AID 10 Claims, 11 Drawing Figs.

[52] US. Cl l15/6.1; 9/311; 115/70 [51] Int. Cl. B63b 21/56 [50] Field ofSearch 9/310, 311, 400, 348; 115/61, 70,11

[5 6] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,901 .75,7, 9/1959 Remington 1 15/70 9/1964 Convis 3,270,707 9/1966 Rozanski.... 115/70 3,469,555 9/1969 Greiner 1l5/6.l FOREIGN PATENTS 1,011,381 4/1952 France ll5/6.1

1,352,973 1/1964 France 9/310 Primary Examiner-Milton Buchler Assistant Examiner-Paul E. Sauberer Attorney-Jacque L. Meister ABSTRACT: A swimming aid device contoured on its upper side to engage the upper torso of the user in a manner that allows freedom of motion of the arms and legs and provides buoyancy in direct relationship to the weight distribution of those parts of the body supported by the device. The lower side of the device is a hydrodynamically streamlined hull shape with keellike projections providing lateral stability. Venturi-shaped passages extending fore and aft are utilized for the location of propulsion means.

Pniented we. 1, 1870 Sheet l of 3 Paitenteci Dec. 1, 1970 Sheet 2 ,7 of 3 ANASTASM: 1T- VASILMS INVENT R 59M 78- 4/.-

mama Dec. 2, 19m


I BUOYANT SWIMMING A115 BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to buoyant swimming aids and, more particularly, to improved body-contoured swimming aids, either powered or unpowered.

Devices for supporting a swimmer in the water for lifesaving, instructional or purely recreational purposes, are well known. Among the oldest are the typical donut-shaped life preserver, life jackets, and inflated balloon like devices known as water wings". Still further, a number of small one man boatlike devices have been developed and promoted. These prior art devices were however primarily flotation aids or boats and display little or no thought to the problem of hydrodynamically adapting the man-device combination to the water-air interface in a manner which would materially enhance the performance of man in this environment. Thus, raft like types of flotation devices have been proposed such as that shown in the US. Pat. No. 3,147,498 of O. P. Convis and boatlike devices in the U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,042,945 and 3,270,707 of W. M. Saemen and F. G. Rozanski, respectively. However, little or no cross breeding of these devices is apparent and little or no consideration of the physiological adaptive needs of the man-other than drowning prevention.


It is accordingly a principal object of the invention to provide a new and improved swimming aid contoured to simultaneously match body contours and present a smooth hydrodynamically streamlined contour to the water and to attain this object in a form that meshes with the man so perfectly that it presents a minimum of restraint to the torso, arm and leg movements of its user.

In keeping with these objects, the inventive swimming aid comprises a buoyant torsoand head-supporting device. The torso-supporting portion, comprises two spaced-apart lateral supporting stabilizers for engaging the lateral aspects of the thoracic region from the axilla to the hips and chin and head support extending therefrom in a contour that partially surrounds the top of the shoulder. Further, because of the high hydrodynamic efficiency of the device, it is possible to incorporate completely selfscontained propelling means. For a better understanding of the invention and its advantages, reference should be made to the accompanying drawings and descriptive matter in which are illustrated and described specific inventive embodiments.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is a three-quarter view of the inventive swimming aid with a swimmer shown in phantom to illustrate the mandevice-water interfaces;

FIG. 2 is a front view of the swimming aid of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a side view ofthe swimming aid of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 illustrates the body-retaining contour of the inventive swimming aid when rotated to a vertical position;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view in partial section showing a powered embodiment of the inventive swimming aid;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the propelling unit shown in FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a side view of the powered swimming aid, in partial section, showing the water conduit and the location of the propelling unit therein;

FIG. 8 is a wiring schematic for an electrically powered embodiment of the inventive swimming aid;

FIG. 9 is a partial view showing an alternative construction of the powered embodiment of the inventive swimming aid;

FIG. 10 is a side view in partial section showing an alternative propelling system utilizing stored compressed gas; and

FIG. 11 is another side view in partial section showing still another alternative propelling system.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring now in detail to the drawings and more particularly to FIGS. 1, 2, and 3, there is shown at 20 the swimming aid device of the invention. The position of a swimmer while using the device is indicated in phantom outline at 21. The lower surface of the device is shaped in boat-hull-like fashion to impart hydrodynamic streamlining and, simultaneously, lateral stability.

A feature of the invention is the shaping of the hull based upon the position it assumes in water when supporting a swimmer. As can be appreciated, the center of gravity of the combined device and swimmer should be low and within the hull outline and still, the hull and upper body-receiving surface of the device should be formed to support the swimmers head above the water while placing his body in as nearly a natural swimming position as possible. These requirements are met in the instant device as follows.

The distribution of buoyancy is maintained substantially identical to the weight distribution of the torso, arms and head of a swimmer who is providing positive buoyancy with his legs as by kicking; that is, the device by itself is more buoyant in its torso supporting stern portion 22 than in its head supporting bow portion 23, in direct relation to average body weight distribution. Additionally, this distribution of buoyancy is achieved by providing raised torso-supporting sponsonlike lateral stabilizers 24 and 25 on each side'of the upper surface of the device extending forward from the stern to the vicinity of the axilla of the user which it is contoured to receive at 26 and 27. In this manner, the achieving of buoyancy proportional to body weight distribution is not only achieved but, simultaneously the torso is partially enfolded placing the center of gravity as low as possible while retaining the body in a nearly normal swimming position.

In further achieving a comfortable natural swimming aid, the upper body-receiving surface is generally concave shaped at 28 between the stabilizers 24 and 25, the back remaining open to allow freedom for the swimmers legs and the forward head supporting portion 23 being curved upwardly, away from the water, to support the swimmer's head above the water. As an additional feature for those swimmers who find a spray of water in the face and eyes painful or distasteful, I provide a curved transparent plastic screen 29 wherever such a feature is desired.

As stated above, the lower surface of the device is formed to impart hydrodynamic streamlining while maintaining lateral stability. This desirable result is achieved by forming the lower hull-shaped surface 30 with long sweeping curves chosen to reducecavitation and eddying as the device is propelled forward. The lateral stability achieved by the hull is exceptional for a shallow draft shape and is achieved by utilizing two symmetrically opposite concave reliefs 31 and 32 running longitudinally from front to rear to form three keellike projections 33, 34, and 35 running along the bottom surface 30.

It is a feature of the invention that the swimming aid also functions effectively as a float either when the swimmer desires to rest or, as a life-preserving device. As shown in FIG. 4, with the swimmer 36 and device 20 at rest, a turning couple results and the bow of the swimming aid rotates upward out of the water in the direction of arrow 37. However, because of the buoyancy of the stern portion 22, the couple is countered and rotation stops before the exact angle depending on the weight of the swimmer and with heavier swimmers causing proportionally greater rotation. The buoyancy of a standard sized swimming aid is adjusted so that with a swimmer weighting between I40 and 225 pounds, upward rotation at rest varies between 35 and 75. Since maximum rotation is 75, by maintaining the angle a at an angle of 75 or slightly more (see FIG. 3), the armpit or axilla of the user is gently but positively embraced in the rotated position and hence the swimmer may relax without fear of losing the device.

As intimated, I have found it desirable to manufacture the swimming aid in several different degrees of buoyancy. I have experimentally determined that three such degrees, all with the same overall size, will accommodate swimmers from under 5 feet tall to 6 feet 6 inches tall with weights ranging from 95 to 285 pounds, respectively. This is highly desirable from a manufacturing standpoint since a single set of molds covers a very wide range of figure sizes and weights. This desirable variation is achievable by varying the density of the closed-cell foamed plastics used to form the swimming aid, the possibilities of controlled variation being almost infinite with the preferred material-polyurethane. Although other closed-cell foamed materials can be used, polyurethane is preferred because of its low cost combined with its excellent durability in the water, air, sun ambient surround it is used or stored in.

Because of its streamlined shape, the inventive swimming aid lends itself to powered propulsion. Some of the propulsion systems actually tested are shown in somewhat schematic form in FIGS. 5-11 of the drawing. As can be seen, low thrust systems are ideally suited to the nature of the device although, as will be apparent to many, higher thrust devices such as internal combustion engines can be used but are not favored since they tend to be objectionably noisy and odorous and to cause physically unpleasant vibration.

FIGS. 57 illustrate a battery powered electric motor driven version of the inventive swimming aid. As shown in FIG. 7 (and in FIGS. 2 and 3), I provide a pair of water conduits 38 and 39 running longitudinally from bow to stern through the hull of the device. The water inlet 40 is formed with rounded lips to reduce inlet turbulence While the outlet 41 is formed as sharply as possible considering material limitations for the same reason, and to minimize the possibility of the formation of a high friction vortex trail. Intermediate its inlet and outlet, the conduit is generally formed somewhat like a venturi tube, the propulsion means 42 being placed in the throat proximately adjacent the neck. This placement is facilitated by providing a machinery compartment in each stabilizer as best shown in FIG. 5. As there shown, the propulsion means 42 depends from the cavity 43 into the conduit 39, the cavity being provided with an upper access door 44 and being sealed from the conduit by the propulsion means.

As shown in FIG. 6, the electrical propulsion means preferably comprises a hermetically-sealed permanent-magnet motor 45 having a propeller 46 on its output shaft. The motor 45 is mounted upon a battery support frame 47, which frame advantageously also seals conduit 39 from compartment 43. Batteries 48 are mounted upon the frame. Batteries eminently suitable for this environment and use are the nicklecadmium rechargeable type recently developed and having a very satisfactory ratio of weight to stored power and stored power to price. In one commercially available 6-volt cell weighing 2 pounds, 4 ampere hours capacity is achieved with a battery 6 inches high, 2 inches wide and one-half inch thick (6 inches X 2 inches X /2 inch). Another available configuration is cylindrical and provides a 750 mjlliamp capacity in a 6%- volt battery one-eighth inch in diameter, 8% inches long, weighing 7% pounds. Still another battery type of suitable size, shape, and weight is a sealed lead-acid.

The operation of the battery powered swimming aid is extremely simple as seen by the electrical schematic of FIG. 8. A rocker type on-off switch 49 is positioned where it can be actuated by the chin of the swimmer. After turning the motor on, continued depression of the rocker increases the resistance of variable resistor 50 connected in series with the motor armature, thus varying its speed. Of course, the controls and propulsion units are duplicated, one propulsion unit being positioned in each of the stabilizers 24 and25.

An alternate configuration for an electrically powered swimming aid, is shown in FIG. 9. As can be seen, the principal variation from that shown in FIG. 5 is the replacement of the water conduit 39 with a troughlike depression 51 in stabilizer 25. The use of a troughlike depression results in modifications to the propulsion means; the principle modification being an elongated battery support frame 52 to support the motor in the trough.

The troughed configuration is considerably easier to mold than that employing a conduit and consequently less expensive. A further advantage of the FIG. 9 configuration is the increased lateral stability arising from yet another keellike ridge. However, offsetting these advantages is the considerably reduced efficiency of the propulsion means and the increase in exposure to impact damage of that means. As a result, the configuration of FIG. 5 is preferred.

FIG. 10 illustrates yet another propulsion system. In compartment 53 of stabilizer 25, there is positioned a compressed gas storage tank 54 to which is affixed, by means of a quickdisconnect coupling, a well known type of variable flow valve 55. Valve 55 is controlled by a simple cable system (not shown) extending from chin actuated lever 56 to the valve. A gas turbine 57 with affixed propeller 58 is connected to the valve 55 by means of pipe 59. A support bracket 60 secures turbine 57 centered in conduit 39. Thus, whenever lever 56 is depressed, gas is released from cylinder 54 in proportion to lever depression. This actuates turbine 57 and drives the swimming aid forward through the water.

While various compressed gases can be used in the embodiment of FIG. 10, I prefer to use compressed carbon dioxide (CO because of its safety, low cost and ready availability. Commercially filled bottles of carbon dioxide are available in both 2%- and 5-lb. sizes, the smaller lasting about 1% to 2 hours with a constant release at 5 psi. and the larger lasting proportionally longer. With the commercially manufactured turbine presently used, this provides sufficient thrust from a dual system to drive the swimming aid forward at a speed of 2- 3 miles per hour in calm water with a ISO-lb. swimmer minimizing drag by kicking lightly.

Chemical propulsion means may also be used with the inventive swimming aid. One experimental version of such a chemical propulsion system is shown in FIG. 11. As there shown, two storage tanks 61 and 62 are provided in stabilizer 25. Each tank is provided with a filler cap, 63 and 64 respectively, and each tank has an outlet orifice, 65 and 66 respectively. The orifices 65 and 66 are normally closed by a sliding orifice block plate 67 which, when moved forward, opens both orifices permitting the contents of the two tanks to pour into a reaction well 67 in water conduit 68. Water conduit 68 is similar to conduit 39 with the exception of well 67 which is an enlarged diameter section positioned intermediate the throat and nozzle of the otherwise conventional venturi. Orifice block plate 67 is actuated by a cable system and rocker lever identical to that shown and described in connection with FIG. 10 and contains apertures whose diameter controls flow rate from each orifice.

I have utilized various chemical reactants in the embodiment ofFIG. 11 as follows:


K010; (Potassium chloride) 2 parts (by volume). 012E220" (Sucrose) 3 parts (by volume).

End Product: H O C10: (Hydrogen chloride gas) EXAMPLE N0. 2

NazCOz (Sodium carbonate) 1 part (by volume). HCH O1 (Acetic Acid) Do. H3O v z End Product: OO;+H2O+KCI features of the swimming aid may be incorporated into a wide variety of specific forms of construction without departing from the spirit of the invention.


l. A torsoand head-supporting buoyant swimming aid comprising:

a boat-hull-like lower surface having at least one keellike ridge extending longitudinally from bow to stem;

a body-contoured upper surface connected to said lower surface and defining a cavity therebetween, said upper surface comprising:

a raised bow portion to support the chin of the user;

a depressed contoured portion on either side to accept the axilla of the user;

a raised sponsonlike lateral stabilizer on either side extending sternward from said depressed contoured portion; and

a generally concave shaped cross section between said stabilizers to fit the upper torso of the user, the back or stern most extremity remaining open; and

closed-cell foamed plastic material filling said cavity between said upper and said lower surfaces, said upper and said lower surfaces being shaped to define said cavity whereby positive buoyancy is achieved in direct relation to the body weight distribution of the average user.

2. A swimming aid in accord with claim 1 wherein the leading edge of each of said stabilizers in is inclined with respect to the waterline of the swimming aid to include an angle of substantially 75.

3. A swimming aid in accord with claim 2 wherein said lower surface comprises three keellike ridges, one ridge being on the center line of said surface and symmetrically disposed between two auxiliary keellike ridges formed by two symmetrically opposite concave reliefs on either side of said centerline, all three keellike ridges extending longitudinally from how to stem.

4. A swimming aid in accord with claim 3 further comprising two venturi-shaped water conduits extending from bow to stern through said cavity, one conduit being disposed on the outboard side of each of said auxiliary keels, and propulsion means including a propeller positioned in each of said conduits at the throat of said venturi adjacent the neck thereof.

5. A swimming aid in accord with claim 4 wherein each of said propulsion means comprises an electric motor powered by a battery pack located in the lateral stabilizer adjacent said propulsion means and is actuated by electrical connecting and switching means connected between said motor and said battery pack whereby said motor may be selectively operated by the user.

6. A swimming aid in accord with claim 4 wherein each of said propulsion means comprises a gas turbine powered by compressed gas, and valve and actuating means, said compressed gas being stored in a tank located in the lateral stabilizer adjacent said propulsion means, said valve and actuation means being connected to said tank and terminating in a usercontrolled lever whereby said gas turbine is selectively operable by the user.

7. A swimming aid in accord with claim 3 further comprising:

at least one chemical storage tank means positioned in each of said lateral stabilizers, said storage tank means having an inlet and an outlet;

two modified venturi shaped water conduits extending from bow to stern through said cavity and including a reaction well aft of the throat of said venturi and generally beneath said storage tank outlet; and

user actuatable orifice plate means disposed between the outlet of said tank and said reaction well, whereby actuation of 'said orifice plate means effects the admixture of chemicals in said storage tank means to water present in said reaction well.

8. A swimming aid in accord with claim 7 wherein said storage tank means comprises two tanks and said orifice plate is configured to proportion the contents of said tanks admitted to said reaction well.

9. In a swimming aid in accord with claim 8, the use of potassium chloride and sucrose in a two to three parts by volume ratio to thereby effect propulsion of said swimming aid.

10. In a swimming aid in accord with claim 8, the use of sodium carbonate and acetic acid in equal volumes to thereby effect propulsion of said swimming aid.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3716013 *Nov 23, 1970Feb 13, 1973Av American Ventures IncBuoyant powered swimming device
US3913159 *Oct 15, 1974Oct 21, 1975Lawrence Peska Ass IncInflatable float with steering mechanism
US3921239 *May 15, 1974Nov 25, 1975Krengel Kenneth WMulti-purpose vehicle
US5173068 *Oct 22, 1991Dec 22, 1992Dunn Daniel RBody surfing apparatus
US5372527 *Jan 21, 1993Dec 13, 1994Flores Cardona; Hector D.Turbo kick board
US5498184 *Mar 15, 1995Mar 12, 1996Saghri; AbdolhamidBody board having a hydrodynamic propulsion surface
US5634834 *Aug 31, 1995Jun 3, 1997Cole; Andrew J.Ergonomic kickboard
US5738555 *Dec 2, 1996Apr 14, 1998Abdolhamid SaghriAttachment assembly for securing a hydrodynamic propulsion surface to a body board
US5782664 *Jun 5, 1997Jul 21, 1998Casters; LaurentMotorized craft for propelling a person lying in a horizontal position
US5810630 *Jun 24, 1997Sep 22, 1998Saghri; AbdolhamidAttachment assembly for securing a hydrodynamic propulsion surface to a body board
US6682372Feb 19, 2001Jan 27, 2004Andrea GrimmeisenMotorized watercraft
US7329160Nov 5, 2004Feb 12, 2008Andrea GrimmeisenMotorized watercraft
US7963814Oct 7, 2005Jun 21, 2011Rotinor GmbhElectric motor-driven water craft, which is cooled by the surrounding water
US20040185723 *Jan 27, 2004Sep 23, 2004Andrea GrimmeisenMotorized watercraft
US20050181686 *Nov 5, 2004Aug 18, 2005Andrea GrimmeisenMotorized watercraft
US20080287016 *Oct 7, 2005Nov 20, 2008Jurgen GrimmeisenElectric Motor-Driven Water Craft, Which is Cooled by the Surrounding Water
US20130344757 *Jun 20, 2012Dec 26, 2013Warren Rex WojcikNu-Surf TM surfboard
US20140273672 *Dec 2, 2011Sep 18, 2014Sung-Jong LeeSwimming aid apparatus worn on the body
WO1992000124A1 *Jun 21, 1991Jan 9, 1992Frank John Thompson HancockPropulsion device for swimmers
WO1995033528A1 *May 31, 1995Dec 14, 1995Laurent CastersMotorized craft for propelling a person lying in a horizontal position
WO1996030087A1 *Apr 1, 1996Oct 3, 1996Grimmeisen JuergenBoat for divers
WO1998010981A1Sep 12, 1997Mar 19, 1998Graeme James BoddyAn improved flotation device
WO2001062347A3 *Feb 19, 2001Apr 25, 2002Andrea GrimmeisenMotorized watercraft
WO2002072412A1 *Mar 13, 2001Sep 19, 2002Pearson Eric TBodyboard
U.S. Classification441/55, 441/65
International ClassificationA63B35/12, A63B35/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63B35/12
European ClassificationA63B35/12
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Jun 10, 1985AS02Assignment of assignor's interest
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