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Publication numberUS3800732 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 2, 1974
Filing dateFeb 1, 1973
Priority dateFeb 1, 1973
Publication numberUS 3800732 A, US 3800732A, US-A-3800732, US3800732 A, US3800732A
InventorsD Hill
Original AssigneeD Hill
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Boat hull cleaning apparatus
US 3800732 A
An in-water cleaning apparatus for boat hulls that is mobile and can attach to the stern of the boat hull to be cleaned. Forwardly telescoping tubes are projected underwater and carry laterally adjustable, rotating cleaning heads.
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 1191 Hill 1451 Apr 2, 1974 [54] BOAT HULL CLEANING APPARATUS 702,965 6/1902 Kaucher 114/222 3,404,653 10/1968 Sierra et al. 1 14/222 [76] lnvemor- Dav! 8026 Glendale 3.443.545 5/1969 Vadseth 114 222 Chevy Chase, 20015 3,561,391 2 1971 Locati...'. 114 222 [22] Filed: Feb. I, 1973 Primary ExaminerGe0rge E. A. Halvosa [211 App! 328698 Assistant ExaminerGregory W. OConnor [52] 1.8- CI. 114/222 57 ABSTRACT [51] Int. Cl. 1363b 59/00 58 Field of Search 114/222; 15/010. 2 water cleanmg apparatus hulls that mobile and can attach to the stern of the boat hull to [56] References Cited be cleaned. Forwardly telescoping tubes are projected UNITED STATES PATENTS undeltwater and carry laterally ad ustable, rotatmg cleanlng heads. 593,298 ll/l897 Holland 114/222 637,702 ll/l899 Branch 114/222 4 Claims, 14 Drawing Figures PAYENTEBAPR 2 1214 saw 2 nr 6 PATENTED PR 2:914 I SHEET 0F 6 FIG. 8.


SHEET 6 [IF 6 FIG. /3.

FIG. /4.

BOAT HULL CLEANING APPARATUS FIELD OF THE INVENTION The particular field of applicability for this invention is the cleaning of fiberglass hulls of sailboats. The fouling of sailboat hulls occurs in two stages. Within a few hours of launching a boat, plant growths or algae, as well as muck and oil slicks, will begin to attach to the hull. Shortly thereafter, small animals, termed bamacles, will attach to the hull to feed on available plant life. These barnacles will, in a week or so, produce a hard shell which is very difficult to remove and which imposes a substantial drag on the hull.

The purpose of this invention is to allow the regular and inexpensive in-water cleaning of figerglass hulls prior to the period of barnacle growth. The algae may be removed much easier than the barnacles and without the application of force which may mar the hull.

As will be apparent, the invention is equally applicable to cleaning of bulls of any material and to all types of boats.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART Due to the pervasiveness of the problem of hull fouling, numerable devices have been proposed over the years.

A first type of device, illustrated by United States Letters Patent No. 936,466, is a pontoon-mounted device for cleaning the. sides of a large ship. It is, of course, the sides at the varying water line where the algae and barnacle growth are most severe.

A second type of device is illustrated by United States Letters Patent No. 2,561,391 to Locati. A boat is towed between two pontoons and acted on by spaced rotating brushes. Devices of this class are adapted for cleaning boats having a motorboat hull shape and are not capable of cleaning the hull of a sailboat due to the placement of the brushes.

A third type of cleaning apparatus is illustrated by United States Letters Patent No. 3,541,988 to Laney. This, like the present invention, is a device for cleaning the underwater hull of sailboats. In Laney, the sailboat is driven or floated between opposed revolving continuous brush belts and the apparatus, like that of Locati, is supported on floats spaced outboard of the boat hull being cleaned.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention is distinguished from the prior art in that it is mobile and can be attached to the stem, or the bow, of the boat to be cleaned. The apparatus is designed to clean the hull of a boat tied up in a slip or riding at a mooring without detaching or disturbing the mooring lines. The apparatus may be operated equally in a fixed location with the boat to be cleaned being maneuvered into position and attached to the apparatus.

Telescoping arms having the cleaning brushes extend forward of the supporting hull and press against the boat hull to be cleaned. The brushes sweep through repetitive cyclic half circles, cleaning the entire hull as the arms are extended.

This invention allows the rapid and inexpensive inwater cleaning of a sailboat hull without removing the sailboat from its mooring. Although it is here shown, cleaning a sailboat of approximately the same size as the supporting hull, it would be apparent it could BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a side elevation of the boat cleaning apparatus in its position astem of a sailboat with the cleaning brushes retracted;

FIG. 2 is a view similar to FIG. 1 with the brushes partly extended between the boat and slip piling;

FIG. 3 is a figure similar to FIGS. 1 and 2 with the brushes fully extended;

FIG. 4 is a top view of the boat cleaning apparatus astern of the sailboat hull with the brushes in the position of FIG. 2 and showing the sailboat attached in a mooring slip;

FIG. 5 is a vertical transverse sectional view taken on lines 5-5 of FIG. 3;.

FIG. 6 is a fragmentary side elevation view taken on lines 6-6 of FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a sectional view taken on lines 7-7 of FIG. 5 and rotated a quarter circle for clarity as shown by 7-7 on FIG. 7;

FIG. 8 is a cut-away sectional view taken on lines 8-8 of FIG. 7;

FIG. 9 is a top view of a telescoping tube including a schematic view of the brush assembly;

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of the brush assembly and endof a telescoping arm in the raised above-water position;

FIG. 11 is a partial front elevation of the opposed brush assemblies working on the hull of a sailboat;

FIG. 12 is a schematic of the pantagraph of the brush assembly;

FIG. 13 is an alternate brush assembly and FIG. 14 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view of the rotational drive elements of the telescoping tubes taken on lines 14-14 of FIG. 7.

DESCRIPTION'OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT The major'component assemblies of the boat hull cleaning apparatus are the supporting hull 20, the pair of telescoping tubes 40, the tube supporting structures and the brush assembly 80.

The supporting hull 20 may conveniently be a rectangular shape having parallel sides 21 and 22 and a flat or blunt bow 23. The hull, shown as a monohull, may equally be a catamaran hull. It will contain a suitable electric and hydraulic power source 24 and propelling and maneuvering propellers 25. There is telescoping control drum 39 powered by hydraulic motor 38.

Extending forwardly of the bow are bumpers 26 and 27 containing bumper pads 28 and 29. The position of each bumper is controlled by extension bars 30 and 31 which are pivoted at 32 and 33 on the bow of the supporting hull and are further positioned by rail 36.

The entire bumper assembly is pulled against the hull of the sailboat by lines and cleats 37, which hold the supporting hull in a rigid position astem.

Shown extending from the how are the telescoping tubes 40 which comprise an outer tube 41 and an inner tube 42. The tubes 40', brushes and bumpers 26 and 27 may equally extend from what would normally be considered the stern, but will here be termed equally the bow.

At the rear of inner tube 42 is a key 45 which travels in slot 46 running almost the full length of outer tube 41. This key and slot arrangement transmits the rotational movement of the outer tube to the inner tube. Between the inner and outer tube are rear slide bearings 43.

The telescoping position of both tubes is controlled by a cable having a retract end 49, an extension end 50, and wound in its center on drum 39. Not shown is a tensioning system to secure proper friction as the cable winds and unwinds on the drum.

The extension cable 50 operates through blocks 51, 52 at the rear of the outer tube, block 53 at the front of the outer tube, and then travels the length of slot 46 terminating in attachment to key 45. As this cable is reeled in, the inner tube is extended until the key 45 reaches the forward end of the slot 46. Further reeling in of the cable then propels the outer tube 41 forward through the sliding bearings 47 and 48.

The retraction cable 49 operates through block 54 and terminates on fitting 55 near the forward end of the inner tube. When cable 49 is wound, this retracts the inner tube 42 into the outer tube. When the inner tube 42 is fully retracted within the outer tube 41, the key 45 reaches the rearward end of slot 46. Further motion of the retraction cable then retracts the outer tube 41 through the sliding bearings 47 and 48.

The outer tube 41 is rotated by the action of cable drive ring 60 and depending shoes 58 and 59 contacting with the ridge 57 as shown in FIG. 14. Around ring 60 is rotating bearing 61 and fixed ring 62. Around outer tube 41 is sliding bearing 68.

Ring 60 is rotated, as best shown in FIG. 7 by the action ofcables 63 which are wrapped around it, turned on blocks 64 and 65, and under the control of hydraulic cylinders 66 and 67. When hydraulic cylinder 66 is retracted, cable portion 63 is drawn rotating the ring clockwise as shown in FIG. 8.

The telescoping tubes are attached to the supporting hull by support structure 70. As shown in FIGS. and 6, this structure comprises, for each telescoping tube, a forward and rear outboard flag 71 and on the forward flag, a pivoted rigid strut 72 and a detachable rigid strut 73. On the rear flag are a similar pair of extensible struts comprising an outer portion 74, inner portion 75, and spring 76.

The detachable struts may be selectively anchored at fitting 77 to raise or lower the position of the telescoping tubes in the operating position. Not shown are a block and tackle arrangement for raising the entire support structure and telescoping tubes to their abovewater inoperative position.

The brush assembly 80 is attached at the end of inner tube 42. It comprises a rectangular base 81 attached to the inner tube on which is mounted a pantagraph including a base link 82 pivoted on point 83 and a sliding base link 84 operating in slide 85. Links 82 and 84 are pivoted at point 86. Other links 87 are pivoted on points 88.

Mounted between pivot point 86 and base 81 is pneumatic cylinder 89 which serves to extend or retract the pantagraph.

On the top of the pantagraph is motor frame 90 on which is mounted hydraulic motor 91 controlled by hydraulic lines 92 and operating drum 93 on which are replaceable brushes 94. Mounted on motor frame is also hull sensor 95 which monitors the brush position with respect to the hull being cleaned.

The motor frame is pivoted on the pantagraph at point 89 and is spring biased in the normal position through a system, not shown, so that the axis of the operating drum 93 will position itself tangent to the hull of the boat being cleaned.

Shown in FIG. 13 is an alternative brush assembly which includes an articulated lower link 101, an articulated upper link 102 and three double-acting hydraulic cylinders 103, 104, and 105, to allow lateral extension of the brush as well as angular deflection of the brush.

OPERATION OF THE BOAT HULL CLEANER As shown in FIGS. 1 and 4, the supporting hull is driven against the stern of the sailboat hull and is fastened to the hull through conventional tackle means. The boat is shown in a conventional slip with pilings 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, and 115, restricting access substantially. It is a major feature of the present invention that this apparatus may clean a boat hull without removing it from such a slip or disturbing the mooring lines 116, 117, 118, and 119. The supporting hull may be driven through the water with the tubes in the underwater operational position as shown, or may be driven with the tubes raised above the water line following which they are lowered.

The tubes are next extended as shown in FIG. 1 to the position where the brushes contact the stern of the sailboat. The brush motors are then powered and the pantagraphs extended until the brushes contact the hull.

The brushes are moved through a semi-circular arc through operation of cylinders 66 and 67 rotating the outertelescoping tube and, in turn, the inner telescoping tube and brush head assembly. In this manner a complete section extending from above the waterline to the lowermost part of the keel is brushed. The extensible pantagraphs allow the brush head to follow accurately and with controllable force the sectional contours of the hull to be cleaned.

After a section of the hull is cleaned, the telescoping tubes are extended the width of the brush head and the operation is continued, cleaning each section until the entire hull is cleaned.

Although the operation has been described with reference to a conventional bristle brush, it will be apparent that this invention is not so limited, and the brush head may have counter rotating brushes, and may be of a type similar to a floor scrubber, rotating about an axis normal to the hull and could also have other attachments to attack the barnacle growth as well as the algae. It might also be advantageous to employ water jets which may also direct cleaning fluids against the hull during the scrubbing operation.

In certain circumstances, it may be advantageous to have the hull containing the cleaning apparatus placed across the stern of the hull to be cleaned with the telescoping tubes projecting to the side rather than from the bow. For instance, a catamaran hull may be used with the telescoping tubes projecting outwardly from one hull.

I claim:

1. A boat hull cleaning apparatus for the in-water cleaning of boat hulls comprising in combination i a. a supporting hull for the cleaning apparatus, said hull having generally parallel sides and a blunt bow,

b. means to propel said hull through the water, in-

cluding steering means, securing means extending forward from said bow to the bow or stem of the boat hull to be cleaned for holding said supporting hull in a generally immovable position forward or astem of the boat hull,

c. a rotatable brush adapted to be pressed against each side of the boat hull,

d. means to extend the rotatable brushes forward from the supporting hull,

e. means to extend said brushes laterally inward to said boat hull,

f. means to move the brush in a plane transverse to the centerline of the boat hull,


said supporting hull may be attached forward or astern of said boat hull, said forward extension means extended to a cleaning position, said lateral extension means forcing said brushes against said boat hull, said brushes cleaning said hull and said transverse moving means directing said brushes in a cleaning arc along said hull.

2. A boat hull cleaning apparatus for the in-water cleaning of boat hulls comprising in combination a. a supporting hull for the cleaning apparatus, said hull having generally parallel sides and a blunt bow,

b. means to propel said hull through the water, in-

cluding steering means, 0. securing means extending forward from said how to the bow or stem of the boat hull to be cleaned for holding and supporting hull in a generally immovable position forward or astem of the hull to be cleaned,

d. a pair of underwater tubes extending parallel to the keel of said supporting hull,

e. said tubes attached to said hull and in adjustable relationship therewith,

f. said tubes telescoping to an extended position forward of said supporting hull bow,

g. said tubes rotating through a semi-circle about their own axis,

h. a brush holder assembly laterally extensible from the end of the extension of the tube, and

i. rotatable brushes at the end of said brush holder assembly, whereby,

said supporting hull may be attached forward or astem of said boat hull to be cleaned, said tubes extended to a cleaning position, said lateral extensions forcing said brushes against said boat hull, said brushes cleaning said boat hull and said tube rotating means directing said brushes in a cleaning arc along said boat hull.

3. The combination of claim 2 in which an articulated arm extends from the end of the telescoping tube and the brush holder assembly is controlled by the articulated arm in pivoted relationship therewith.

4. The combination of claim 3 in which a plurality of articulated arms is placed between the telescoping tube and the brush holder assembly.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US593298 *Apr 10, 1897Nov 9, 1897 Vessel-cleaner
US637702 *Aug 26, 1899Nov 21, 1899Mason S MorenoApparatus for cleaning hulls and keels of ships.
US702965 *Oct 15, 1901Jun 24, 1902Robert KaucherFloatable caisson for cleaning ships' sides and bottoms.
US3404653 *May 9, 1966Oct 8, 1968Charles SierraTrolley for brushing and rubbing-down ships' hulls in dry dock
US3443545 *Dec 2, 1966May 13, 1969Vadseth JanArrangement for cleaning of a ship's hull of marine growth
US3561391 *Mar 3, 1969Feb 9, 1971Norman C LocatiBoat washing apparatus and method
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4011827 *Jan 12, 1976Mar 15, 1977Ben FondMachine for cleaning the bottom of boats
US4043286 *May 17, 1976Aug 23, 1977Doty Frederick LBoat hull scrubbing apparatus
US4236477 *Jun 4, 1979Dec 2, 1980Water Front Products, Inc.Boat hull cleaning device
US5638764 *Aug 29, 1994Jun 17, 1997Starkmatic OyBoat washing means
US6189473 *Feb 22, 1999Feb 20, 2001Remote Tools, Inc.Contour-following apparatus for cleaning surfaces
US6988458Sep 29, 2004Jan 24, 2006Walker Wayne PBoat washing and towing device
US7748337Mar 7, 2008Jul 6, 2010Keith DoyleAutomatic boat washing assembly
US8037836Apr 25, 2008Oct 18, 2011Carmichael Ian MAutomated boat washing system
US20050199171 *Mar 10, 2004Sep 15, 2005Ecklund William G.Ship hull cleaning apparatus and method of use
US20070044702 *Oct 31, 2006Mar 1, 2007Waldock William LCatamaran with hinged underwing
DE19718974A1 *May 5, 1997Nov 12, 1998Otto KuenemundWashing plant for boat hull
WO1994023993A1 *Apr 20, 1993Oct 27, 1994Widenhammar RustanBoat hull cleaning apparatus
WO1997002983A1 *Jul 12, 1996Jan 30, 1997Ni James Jiann GwoFloating dock
U.S. Classification114/222, 15/DIG.200, 15/53.2
International ClassificationB63B59/08
Cooperative ClassificationY10S15/02, B63B59/08
European ClassificationB63B59/08