US 3807343 A
Boat safety apparatus for allowing operation of the boat engine in a forward direction as long as the operator is properly seated in the boat and for automatically opening the boat ignition circuit whenever the operator moves out of the boat seat.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States atent 1 1 1111 3,807,343 Peebles Apr. 30, 1974 BOAT SAFETY APPARATUS 3,507,350 4/1970 Boyajian 180/101  ento Ric ard A. eebles P-O. BOX 809, 3,693,577 9/1972 Sade 115/70 Baytown, Tex. 77520 Primary ExaminerTrygve M. Blix  Flled' 1973 Assistant Examiner -Randolph Reese ] Appl. No.: 327,717 Attorney, Agent, or FirmPravel, Wilson & Matthews  US. Cl 115/05 R, 180/101, 180/102 51 1111.01 B63h 19/00  ABSTRACT  Field of Search 9/7; 246/1 R; 180/101, Boat sat-6t y apparatus for allowing operat1on of the 180/102 82 R3O3/19 340/279 1 lslgs boat engine in a forward direction as long as the oper- 0 ator is properly seated in the boat and for automatically opening the boat ignition circuit whenever the  UNITE SZ;Z?ZS S$FENTS operator moves out of the boat seat.
3,144,858 8/1964 Homing et a1. 115/05 R X 5 Claims, 1 Drawing Figure BOAT SAFETY APPARATUS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The field of this invention is safety devices for watercraft such as boats.
In most boats used for recreation or the like the gearshift lever for engine operation is located near to the operators seat or chair. Generally, the gearshift lever is movable between at least three positions neutral, reverse and forward. When operating a boat at high forward speeds, it is dangerous for the operator to leave his seat, which is usually his position of maximum control. If the operator must leave his seat under emergency conditions, such as to come to the aid of another, it is desirable to relieve the operator of the necessity of having to shut off the engine.
Also, it is possible for the boat to be involved in an accident at high speed. In such conditions it is desirable that the boat power be shut off automatically.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is an object of this invention to provide a new and improved boat safety device that is simple and relatively inexpensive to make and reliable in operation for shutting off electrical power to the ignition circuit for a boat under an emergency condition where the operator of the boat must leave his seat or chair. In the preferred embodiment of this invention, the boat safety device is usable on a boat having a transmission gearshift lever which is movable between positions such as forward, reverse and neutral. A starter circuit is mounted in electrical connection with the ignition circuit for the boat engine for allowing the boat engine to be started and operated in either the reverse or the neutral positions. Further, a safety circuit is mounted in electrical connection with the starter circuit and with the ignition circuit for allowing operation of the ignition circuit and thus the boat engine when the gearshift lever is in the forward position and the operator is seated in the operator's chair. The safety circuit means includes a first safety switch mounted with the operators chair for opening the safety circuit to prevent operation of the ignition circuit whenever the operator leaves the chair.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The FIGURE is a schematic view of the boat safety device of the preferred embodiment of this invention illustrating the electrical circuit relationship between the safety chair switch and the switches for the gearshift lever of the boat.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring to the FIGURE, the letter S generally designates the boat safety device of the preferred embodiment of this invention for shutting off power to the boat (not shown) when the boat is proceeding in the forward direction and when the operator of the boat leaves the boat chair 10. The boat includes a conventional boat motor represented at 11 and a conventional boat ignition system 12. The ignition system 12 has battery 12a electrically connected thereto by conductor 14a and ignition switch connected to the battery 12a by conductor 14b. The boat engine 11 and the ignition circuit 12 may be of any conventional construction and operate in a conventional manner. Thus whenever the ignition circuit is electrically activated by a closing of the circuits to be described herein, and the ignition switch 15 is closed, the boat engine 11 is operating. The boat engine 11 includes a transmission which is represented in the FIGURE by the transmission gearshift lever 16 that is pivotally mounted to any suitable support on the boat itself. Of course, the gearshift lever 16 includes a handle portion 16a so that it may be easily pivoted between its various positions. In the preferred embodiment of this invention, the gearshift lever 16 is pivotal between a forward position that is illustrated in broken lines and designated by the letter F, a neutral position illustrated in solid lines and designated by the letter N and a reverse position illustrated in broken lines and designated by the letter R.
The boat safety apparatus S of this invention is provided for allowing the engine 11 to be started and remain running as long as the gearshift lever 16 is either in the neutral position N or the reverse position R, no matter what the position of the operator is. However, with the gearshift lever 16 in the forward position F, the boat safety apparatus S of this invention shuts off power to the ignition circuit 12 and to the engine 11 unless the operator is sitting in the operators chair or seat designated as 10.
A starter circuit means 20 is electrically connected to the ignition circuit 12 for starting and operating the boat engine 11 when the gearshift lever 16 is in the neutral position N or the reverse position R. A first shift switch 21 is mounted onto the gearshift lever 16 and extends into an electrical contact with the conductor 14b and includes the following elements. A contact 21a is attached to the gearshift lever 16 and is electrically connected by any suitable means such as conductor 21b to conductor 22. The conductor 22 extends into electrical connection with the ignition circuit 12. The shift switch 21 further includes an arcuate shaped contact 210 which is electrically connected to conductor 23. The conductor 23 terminates at 23a in electrical connection with conductor 14b having ignition switch 15, battery 12a and ignition circuit 12 mounted therein. Whenever the gearshift lever 16 is in the neutral position N or the reverse position R, the contact 21a is in electrical connection with the contact 210 thereby completing the circuit between the conductors 22 and 23 and closing the starter circuit means 20 such that closing of the ignition switch 12 will provide power to the ignition means 12 and engine 11. In this manner,
the engine 11 can be started by closing the ignition switch 15 with the gearshift lever in the neutral position N and the engine 11 will remain running even when the gearshift lever 16 is moved to the reverse position R since the starter circuit 20 remains closed. However, whenever the gearshift lever 16 is moved to the forward position F, the shift switch 21 is opened by the moving of electrical contact 21a out of engagement with electrical contact 210 thereby shutting off power to the engine 11 by opening electrical connection between the conductors 22 and 23.
It is noted that the preferred embodiment of this invention shown in the FIGURE, the contact 210 connected to conductor 23 is curved or arcuate in shape. In this manner, the arcuate movement of the contact 21a mounted on the gearshift lever 16 coincides substantially with the arcuate shape of the contact 210 such that the contacts 21a and 210 remain in electrical connection when the gearshift lever 16 is moved between the neutral position N and the reverse position R.
A safety circuit generally designated as 24 is electrically connected to the ignition means 12 for allowing operation of the ignition means 12 and the engine 11 as long as the operator is properly seated in the chair but, whenever the operator moves from the chair 10, the safety circuit 24 is opened thereby shutting off power to the ignition means 12 and engine 11. The safety circuit 24 includes a second shift switch 25 which includes an arcuate shaped contact 25a mounted onto any suitable boat support. The arcuate shaped electrical contact 25a is electrically connected to conductor 26a which terminates at terminal 27a for seat switch 27. The second shift switch 25 further includes the contact 21a mounted on the gearshift lever 16 which, as previously noted, is electrically connected to conductor 22 which extends into electrical connection with the ignition means 12.
The safety seat switch 27 further includes a terminal 27b which is in electrical connection with conductors 23 and 14b. The safety seat switch 27 includes a depressible element 270 which is slidably mounted in base 10a of the boat seat 10 for movement into and out of engagement with terminals 27a and 27b. The element 27c includes an electrically conductive face 27d which electrically engages the terminals 27a and 27b whenever an operator sits on the chair 10 thus depressing the element 27c downwardly into engagement with the terminals 27a and 27b. Whenever the operator moves out of the seat 10, spring 28 extending between the element 270 and the seat base 10a moves the element 27c, and in particular the conducting face 27d, out of engagement with the terminals 27a and 27b thereby opening the safety circuit 24 and shutting off power to the ignition means 12 and engine 11.
In operation and use of the boat safety apparatus S of the preferred embodiment of this invention, the gearshift lever 16 is moved to the neutral position N in order to start the engine 1 1 through the ignition means 12. As long as the gearshift lever remains in the neutral position N or is in the reverse position R, the starter circuit means is completed and power, is supplied to the ignition means 12. Whenever it is decided to go forward, the gearshift lever 16 is moved to the forward position F which causes the contact 21a on the lever 16 to electrically engage the arcuate-shaped contact 25a thereby closing the second shift switch 25. As long as the operator is sitting in the operators chair or seat 10, the switch element 27 is depressed and the contact face 27d is electrically engaging the conductor terminals 27a and 27b such that the entire safety circuit 24 is closed and power is provided through the battery 12a to the engine 11.
However, whenever the operator moves out of the seat 10 such as in an emergency condition, the spring 28 moves the element 27 up out of contact with tenninals 27a and 27b thereby preventing electrical connection between conductor 26a and conductor 14b and opening the safety circuit 24. The circuit will again be closed whenever the operator can sit down in the seat 10 again and again depress the element 27 such that the I 6 cuit 24 is also opened whenever the lever 16 is moved either to the neutral position N or the reverse position R.
The foregoing disclosure and description of the invention are illustrative and explanatory thereof, and various changes in the size, shape, and materials as well as in the details of the illustrated construction may be made without departing from the spirit of the invention.
For example, it should be understood that the boat safety apparatus S of the preferred embodiment of this invention can be utilized in any boat wherein it may be desirable to provide such a safety feature for boat operation. Further, more than one seat switch 27 may be utilized if it is desired to shut off power to the engine 11 inthe event that a passenger would move out of a seat. A by-pass switch 30 that is shown in the open position can also be provided for by-passing the seat switch 27 if desired. The shift switches 25 and 21 have been shown as including slidable contacts such as 21a and 210 which slidably, electrically engage upon movement adjacent to each other. It should be understood that any other type of switch may be utilized as long as such switches can be closed upon attaining desired positions such as forward F, neutral N or reverse R with the gearshift lever.
1. A boat safety device, comprising:
a boat including an engine, transmission,'an ignition circuit for oprating said engine and a boat seat; said transmission including a gearshift lever movable between forward, reverse and neutral positions;
a starter circuit means in electrical connection with said ignition circuit for starting and operating said boat engine with said gearshift lever in said neutral and said reverse positions; and
safety circuit means in electrical connection with said ignition circuit and said starter circuit means for allowing operation of said ignition circuit and said engine with said gearshift lever in said forward position only with the operator seated in said heat seat, said safety circuit means including a first safety switch means mounted with said boat seat for opening said safety circuit means to prevent operation of said ignition circuit when said operator is not seated in said boat seat with said boat moving in the forward direction;
said safety circuit means further including a second safety switch connected with said gearshift lever, said second safety switch being closed with said gearshift lever in said forward position to allow operation of said ignition circuit; and
said starter circuit means further includes a third safety switch mounted with said gearshift lever and being closed with said gearshift lever in said neutral and reverse positions for starting and operating said engine independently of said safety circuit means.
2. The structure set forth in claim 1, wherein said first safety switch means includes;
a depressible contact mounted in said boat seat, said contact being depressed to close said switch whenever the operator is seated in said boat seat such that said ignition means is operable.
3. The structure set forth in claim 2, wherein said first safety switch means further includes:
means for urging said depressible contact to an open position when said operator is not seated in said with said ignition circuit, said first and second electrical contacts being in electrical engagement with said gearshift lever in said neutral or reverse positions. 5. The structure set forth in claim 1, including: by-pass means for rendering said first safety switch inoperative.