US 3566425 A
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MaICh 9 c. R. WELTY 6 FLOORBOARD APPARATUS FOR INFLATABLE BOATS OR THE LIKE Filed. Sept.- 10, 1969 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 60 29 Char/es R. We hfy ATTORNEYS March 2, 1971 c, R, wELTY 3,566,425
FLOORBOARD APPARATUS FOR INFLATABLE BOATS OR THE LIKE Filed Sept. 10. 1969 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 42 ill/Ill [Ag-1 /7 44 /.5 gxy 7 INVENTOR Char/e5 1Q We/7j/ United States Patent Ofice' 3,566,425 FLOORBOARD APPARATUS FOR INFLATABLE BOATS OR THE LIKE Charles R. Welty, Overland Park, Kans., assignor to Bonair Boats, Inc., Merriam, Kans. Filed Sept. 10, 1969, Ser. No. 856,776 Int. Cl. B63b 7/08 US. Cl. 9-2 9 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE Floorboard apparatus comprising a plurality of floor sections adapted to be disposed in successively contiguous relationship releasably interconnected by slidable coupling means. Each of the essentially identical sections includes means thereon presenting enlarged portions along two side edges of each section. A plurality of generally C-shaped tubular members are slidable along the enlarged portions and move from a first position upon a section permitting adjacent sections to be moved to and from aligned relationship to a second position overlappingly engaging the enlarged portions of a pair of adjacent sections thereby locking the sections in aligned relationship.
This invention relates to removable floorboard apparatus and to such an apparatus especially adapted for use with a flexible body such as an inflatable boat.
It is well known that in certain instances it is desirable to provide floorboard apparatus which may be removed from its associated structure. Prior devices have largely taken the form of a single floor section and an associated fastening means. The aforementioned construction is necessarily impractical when forming a floorboard for a sufliciently large body, and has been found particularly undesirable when forming the floorboard for an inflatable boat in that the presence of a single large section limits the portability of the otherwise compact components of the boat. The problem of providing a floorboard for an inflatable boat is further complicated by the fact that the non-rigid bottom of such a body requires that a floorboard formed from a plurality of floor sections include means for interconnecting the sections in such a manner that when the Weight of a person is placed upon only one of the sections, this section will not be thrown out of alignment with respect to the other sections.
It is therefore the primary object of this invention to provide floorboard apparatus which may be removably placed within a body such as an inflatable boat or the like.
Another important object of this invention is to provide floorboard apparatus which includes a plurality of sections of sufliciently small size so as to result in the apparatus being readily portable.
Another aim of this invention is to provide apparatus for presenting a substantially rigid floor upon a non-rigid support such as the bottom of an inflatable boat.
Still other objects of the invention will be made clear or become apparent from the description of an illustrative embodiment that follows.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an inflatable boat with portions of the body thereof broken away to illustrate the floorboard apparatus positioned along the bottom of the boat;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged exploded perspective view of the floor sections seen in FIG. 1;
3,566,425 Patented Mar. 2, 1971 FIG. 3 is a fragmentary, central, cross-sectional view of a plurality of floor sections two of which are being jackknifed into position;
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary, bottom plan view of a plurality of floor sections showing a pair of sections in contiguous relationship with projections on the bottom of each section underlying an adjacent section, and a third section as it would appear prior to positioning against an adjacent section;
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary, cross-sectional view of the endmost floor section having thereon a pair of spaced prongs which extend from the section and are adapted to engage opposite surfaces of the spreader brace;
FIG. 6 is a vertical sectional view taken along line 66 of FIG. 5;
FIG. 7 is an enlarged, fragmentary cross-sectional view of the floor section disposed at one end of the boat and its associated socket means mounted on the boat;
FIG. 8 is a vertical sectional view taken along line 88 of FIG. 7;
FIG. 9 is a fragmentary, exploded, perspective view of a pair of floor sections and means disposed on one of the sections for bringing the two sections into alignment;
FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 1010 of FIG. 9; and
FIG. 11 is an enlarged, sectional view taken along line 1111 of FIG. 2 and showing the enlarged portion of a floor section with shiftable coupling means thereon for lohcking a pair of adjacent sections in aligned relations 1p.
Referring to the drawings, and initially to FIGS. 2, 3, 4 and 11, it can be seen that removable floorboard apparatus generally designated 12 includes a plurality of substantially identical rectangular floor sections 14. Each of the sections 14 has a floor portion 15 which may be constructed from properly treated wood or other material and also includes generally C-shape'd, tubular means 19 bonded onto the floor portion 15 presenting enlarged portions 16 of generally circular configuration along the side edges thereof. It is desirable to construct the means 19 from a resilient material such as extruded aluminum or plastic, so that they will tend to firmly grip to floor portions 15 at the points of contact 17. It may also be desirable to place a layer of suitable adhesive between the floor portions 15 and the enlarged portion forming means 19.
A pair of block-like projections 18 are fastened to the bottom of the floor portions 15 of each section 14 at and extending beyond the edges of the latter that will be contiguous to other sections 14 by screws 20 or other appropriate means. The spacing of the projections 18 are different along the edges of sections that will be con tiguous to avoid interference. It may also be desirable to include a layer of suitable adhesive between each of the projections 18 and the corresponding floor portion 15.
A plurality of shiftable coupling means 22 in the nature of elongated tubes, which in the embodiment shown in the drawings may be formed of extruded aluminum or plastic and are of generally C-shaped cross section for sliding engagement along the enlarged portions 16, are movable from a first position, such as indicated at 24 in FIG. 4, permitting adjacent sections 14 to be moved to and from aligned relationship, to a second position such as indicated at 26 in FIG. 4, wherein they overlappingly engage the portions 16 of a pair of adjacent sections 14, thereby locking the sections 14 in aligned relationship.
In placing the floorboard apparatus 12 within a body 28, such as an inflatable boat, a plurality of the sections 14 are first placed in their normal positions adjacent the bottom of the body 28 as illustrated in FIG. 3. This is accomplished by moving the coupling means 22 to the position indicated at 24 in FIG. 4 and then bringing adjacent sections 14 into aligned relationship. The last two sections 14 are jackknifed into position as illustrated in FIG. 3. The coupling means 22 is then moved into the position indicated at 26 in FIG. 4 wherein it overlappingly engages the enlarged portions 16 on adjacent sections 14. As clearly indicated in FIG. 3, when the sections 14 are disposed in successively contiguous relationship with their side edges in proper alignment, the projections 18 on each section 14 will underlie the horizontal plane of an adjacent section thereby helping to maintain the sections 14 in substantially contiguous disposition should the weight of a person or an object be placed solely on one of the sections 14. The projections 18 also aid during jackknifing of the last two sections 14 into aligned relationship. It is to be understood that a somewhat pliable central support, not visible in FIG. 3, will normally be provided along the bottom 30 of an associated inflatable boat body 2 8 so as to contribute to the support of the sections 14 at a point intermediate the projections 18.
Referring additionally to FIGS. 1 and 5-10, it may be seen that the apparatus 12 may be disposed Within an inflatable boat 32 having a pair of yieldable sides 34 and 36, a bottom 38, and a transom v39 forming the stern. A spreader brace 40 of generally rectangular configuration has opposed surfaces 42 and 44 and is permanently mounted near the bow of the boat 32 and adjacent the bottom 38 by a piece of fabric 45 adhesively secured to either end of the brace 40 and likewise to the sides 34 and 36 of the boat 32. The brace 40 serves as a stop for preventing forward longitudinal movement of the apparatus 12 along the bottom 38 of the boat 32. A pair of spaced prongs 46 and 48 extending from the endmost section 14 is positioned to abut against the brace 40, as illustrated in FIG. 5.
Socket means 50 is mounted on the transom 39 at the end of the boat 32 opposite spreader brace 40 by screws 52 or other suitable means. It is desirable to include a layer of adhesive between the socket means 50 and the transom 39. Socket means 50, as illustrated in FIG. 7, includes a generally circular mounting portion 54 and a generally circular holding portion 56 integral with, and of smaller diameter than the portion 54. The holding portion 56 has a bifurcated surface 58 for receiving an endmost section 14 and its associated enlarged portion 16 in the manner illustrated in FIG. 8.
It has also been found desirable to provide positioning plugs 60 of generally semicircular cross section (FIG. 9) which are positioned within one end of each enlarged portion 16 and secured to the underside of each section 14 by a layer of suitable adhesive so as to project from the edge of the section 14 as illustrated in FIG. 10.
In placing the apparatus 12 in an inflatable boat 32, it is desirable to first partially inflate the boat 32 thus providing a semirigid structure which facilitates the positioning of the apparatus 12 along the bottom 38 thereof. An endmost section 14 is then abutted against the spreader brace 40 with the spaced prongs 46 and 48 engaging the opposed surfaces 42 and 44 of the brace 40. The other endmost section 14 is positioned within the holding portion 56 of the socket means 50. The plurality of coupling means 22 are moved along enlarged portions 16 to their first position 24 permitting the remaining sections 14 to be brought into proper alignment through the use of positioning plugs 60. The last two sections 14 are jackknifed into position in a manner similar to that illustrated in FIG. 3. After all of the sections 14 have been properly positioned along the bottom of the boat, coupling means 22 are moved to their second positions 26 overlappingly engaging the enlarged portions 16 of a pair of adjacent 4 sections 14 thereby locking all of the sections 14 in aligned relationship. The boat 32 is then fully inflated and the yieldable sides 34 and 36 serve to further hold the apparatus 12 in its proper position along the bottom 38 thereof. To remove the floorboard apparatus 12, the procedure is reversed.
It is to be understood that while four floor sections 14 have been illustrated in the drawings, any number of the sections 14 may be employed with the apparatus 12 to accommodate boats 32 and other bodies of varying size. Other modifications in certain details of construction may be made from the precise form of those shown and described herein without departing from the spirit of the invention. Accordingly, the invention should be deemed as limited only by the scope of the claims that follow.
Having thus described the invention, what is claimed as new and desired to be secured by Letters Patent is:
1. Removable floorboard apparatus comprising:
a plurality of floor sections adapted to be disposed in successively contiguous relationship with the side edges of the sections in alignment;
means presenting enlarged portions along said side edges of each section; and
a plurality of shiftable coupling means slidable along said portions of the sections and movable from a first position upon a section permitting adjacent sections to be moved to and from aligned relationship to a second position overlappingly engaging said portions of a pair of adjacent sections to lock said adjacent sections in aligned relationship. I
2. Removable floorboard apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein said enlarged portions are of generally circular cross-section and said coupling means are tubular members of generally C-shaped cross-section adapted to telescope over said portions.
3. Removable floorboard apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein each of said sections is provided with a number of projections disposed to underlie the horizontal plane of an adjacent section when the sections are in contiguous disposition with their side edges aligned.
4. In a boat:
an inflatable body havng a pair of yieldable sides and a bottom; and
' floorboard apparatus comprising a plurality of interlocking floor sections adapted to be positioned in successively contiguous relationship along the bottom with the side edges of the sections in alignment after said boat is partially inflated and removable from the boat after said boat is partially deflated;
means presenting enlarged portions along said side edges of each section; and
a plurality of shiftable coupling means slidable along said portions of the sections and movable from a first position upon a section permitting adjacent sections to be moved into aligned relationship to a second position overlappingly engaging said portions of a pair of adjacent sections to lock said adjacent sec tions in aligned relationship.
5. The invention of claim 4 wherein said floorboard apparatus includes stop means for preventing longitudinal movement of the apparatus along the bottom of the boat.
6. The invention of claim 5, wherein said stop means includes a spreader brace having upper and lower surfaces fixedly mounted in the boat adjacent one end thereof, one edge of an endmost section being adapted to abut against said brace.
7. The invention of claim 6, wherein is provided a pair of spaced prongs extending from said endmost section for oppositely engaging said surfaces of said spreader brace; and socket means mounted on the boat adjacent the other end thereof for holding the other endmost section.
8. The invention of claim 4, wherein said enlarged portions are of generally circular cross-section and said coupling means are tubular members of generally C-shaped cross section adapted to telescope over said portions.
9. The invention of claim 4, wherein each of said sec- FOREIGN PATENTS tions is provided With a number of projections disposed to 180 860 6/1954 Austria underlie the horizontal plane of an adjacent section when 455467 1/1928 German; the sections are in contiguous disposition with their side 575965 4/1958 Italy edges aligned- 763 739 7/1967 c (i 9 11 References Cited 5 am a UNITED STATES PATENTS MILTON BUCHLER, Primary Examiner 1,227,247 5/ 1917 Cox 92 C. A. RUTLEDGE. Assistant Examiner 1,566,648 12/1925 Calderon, Jr. 92