US 3808625 A
A gangway to enable personnel to be transferred to and from a platform or vessel in turbulent water. The gangway is constructed of pliant or inflatable, elastomeric, plastic or other flexible material supported by a rope network from a rigid overhead framework. An overhead rail is supported by said framework and runs longitudinally of the gangway. Trolleys are mounted on the rail and are provided with means to grasp the trolleys by hand and to hook safety belts thereto to support personnel ascending or descending the gangway. One end of the gangway is pivoted to a platform or vessel and the free end is supported by two lines operated by two winches. One of these lines is led through a block on the side of the vessel or platform, and the other line is led through a block on a boom projecting from the vessel or platform so that the gangway can be raised or lowered as well as swung horizontally.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 11 3,808,625 Fowler May 7, 1974 DEVICE FOR TRANSFERRING PERSONNEL TO AND FROM A VESSEL  Inventor: Walter E. Fowler, Rio Rd., Rt. 8,
Charlottesville, Va. 22901  Filed: Aug. 10, 1972 A  App]. No.: 279,321
 US. Cl. 14/71  Int. Cl. 865g 11/00  Field of Search 14/71, 72, 27, 1; 114/43.5
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,641,785 6/1953 Pitts et a1 14/71 2,850,252 9/1958 Ford 114/435 2,878,498 3/1959 Gollnow .1 14/] 3,245,101 4/1966 Wilson 14/71 3,252,173 5/1966 Robinsky 14/1 3,484,883 12/1969 Van Marle..... 14/71 3,570,029 3/1971 Hunsaker 14/71 FOREIGN PATENTS 0R APPLICATIONS 861,076 2/1961 Great Britain 14/71 Primary ExaminerMarion Parsons, Jr. Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Edward H. Lang [5 7] ABSTRACT A gangway to enable personnel to be transferred to and from a platform or vessel in turbulent water. The gangway is constructed of pliant or inflatable, elastomeric, plastic or other flexible material supported by a rope network from a rigid overhead framework. An overhead rail is supported by said framework and runs longitudinally of the gangway. Trolleys are mounted on the rail and are provided with means to grasp the trolleys by hand and to hook safety belts thereto to support personnel ascending or descending the gangway. One end of the gangway is pivoted to a platform or vessel and the free end is supported by two lines operated by two winches. One of these lines is led through a block on the side of the vessel or platform,
and the other line is led through a block on a boom projecting from the vessel or platform so that the gangway can be raised or lowered as well as swung horizontally.
20 Claims, 25 Drawing Figures PATENTEU W 14 sum u or] 5 FIG. 9.
PATENTED mm 3.808.625
SHEET 5 OF 5 gig Ogle;
DEVICE FOR TRANSFERRING PERSONNEL TO AND FROM A VESSEL BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The invention is directed to a novel gangway for transferring personnel from a platform or floating vessel to another vessel or to a stationary platform.
Great difficulty is experienced in transferring personnel from a floating platform or vessel when the water is turbulent. Conventional equipment now in use is inadequate to effect transfers in turbulent waters and frequently results in accidents and the necessity of jumping into the water to effect transfer.
The gangway of the present invention is constructed of pliant inflated material. A cage-like enclosure is provided so that when a person lands on the gangway he is protected from being thrown therefrom. The gangway is also provided with a track and trolley means to which the personnel can be attached by means of a safety belt, thereby further aiding to the safety.
It isan object of the invention to provide novel means for transferring persons from or toa floating vessel or platform.
It is a further object to provide a pliant or inflatable gangway so as to alleviate injury to personnel being buffeted about when transferring to or from a vessel at sea during turbulent weather. V
A further object of the invention is to provide a novel construction of a gangway.
Another object of the invention is to provide a new manner of supporting a gangway from a floating vessel or platform.
Other objects of the invention will become apparent from the following description and the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS I ing the construction ofthe bottom of the gangway;
FIG. 5 is an isometric view of inflatable bags forming the steps of the novel gangway;
FIG. 6 is an isometric detail of a flexible post support forming part of the gangway structure;
FIG. 7 is an isometric view of the gangway landing at the free end of the gangway;
FIG. 8 is a view partly in elevation and partly in cross section of the track and trolleys forming part of the gangway structure;
FIG. 9 is a top plan view, broken in the middle to show the loops on each end of the track;
FIG. 10 is a side elevational view of a portion of the ascending track;
FIG. 11 is a side elevational view ofa descending portion of the track;
FIG. 12 is a side elevational view of a gangway in accordance with the invention, provided with means for swinginga litter to and from the gangway;
FIG. 13 is a modification in perspective of applicants novel gangway in which old tires are incorporated as part of the structure;
FIG. 14 is a cross-sectional view of the pivotal connection of the structure shown in FIG. 13 to a conventional gangway;
FIG. 15 is a top plan view of a gangway platform with a tire casing fastened thereto to act as a fender;
FIG. 16 is a cross-sectional view of a trolley element;
FIG. 17 is a cross-sectional view of a modified trolley element;
FIG. 18 is a perspective view with parts broken away of a treadway construction forming part of the gangway;
FIG. 19 is a perspective view with parts broken away, showing the manner in which the rungs or step pieces of the treadway shown in FIG. 18 are fastened to pliant side strips to form the treadway;
FIG. 20 is a perspective view of a modified treadway;
FIG. 21 is a view, partly in plan and partly in perspective, of grommet means for fastening cross-rings of the treadway of FIG. 20 to side pieces made of cloth or other pliant material;
FIG. 22 is a side view showing how cloth or other soft pliant material is laced through the cross-rungs of FIG. 20 to provide a floor beneath personnel on the treadway;
FIG. 23 is a perspective view of still another modification of a treadway; and
FIG. 24 is a side view showing how cloth or other soft pliant material is woven through the cross-rungs of FIG. 20 to provide a floor under personnel on the treadway.
FIG. 25 is an elevational view of the pipe and valve arrangement of a sensing device forming part of the invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION Referring to FIG. 1, the numeral 20 indicates a rigid framework fabricated from a metal such as steel, aluminum or plastic in the form of bars or tubes. The framework 20 has two elongated side members 22 and 24 and an elongated ridge member 26. The elongated side members are held in spaced relationshipv by means of cross members 27 and the ridge member 26 is supported by struts 28. The front ends of the elongated members 22 and 24 are preferably curved and joined at their front ends to the ridge member 26.
Supported by the framework 20 is the runway or treadway 30 shown in greaterdetail in FIG. 4. The treadway is constructed of a plurality of side-by-side flexible inflated tubes 32 which may be rectangular in cross section. The tubes 32 may be made from natural v rubber, or snythetic rubber such as GRS (butadienestyrene) rubber or butylene rubber or mixtures of the same and additional strength may be imparted to the tubes 32 and by incorporating metal or cloth fabric, or cords made of synthetic or natural fiber or metallic wire. The tubes 32 are lashed or held together by ropes or chains 34 and 36. Some or all of the elongated tubes 32 may be provided with straps 38 to which the lashing ropes or chains can be attached.
Supported on and fastened to the tube structure 32 are a plurality of inflated bags 44. These bags may be made of the same material as the tubes 32. The bags 44 are formed in the shape of steps when inflated. It is preferred that each individual step bag and each individual tube 32 has its own valve structure so that they can be separately inflated. This enables the element to be replaced in case it is injured without having to replace or repair the entire structure. However if it is desired, any number of all of the tubes and step bags can be joined by common tubing and a single valve so that they can be inflated or deflated as a unit. The air bags 44 are reinforced by small tubular metal or plastic cross members 46 held in spaced relation around the outer surface of the bag by means of chains or cords 48. The tubes 46 may have rings fastened to the ends thereof and also intermediate the ends, if desired, through which ropes or chains can pass to hold the tubes in place. The ropes or chains 48 are lashed to the tubing 32 or fastened to the chains or ropes which hold the tubing 32 together as shown at 50 (FIG. In place of rigid tubes, a rope network fitted over the inflated bag steps and lashed to the outer tubes 32 may be used to reinforce the bags and provide a non-skid tread. The step portion of the bags may also have non-skid material embedded in the surface.
Mounted between the free end 52 of the gangway and the forward end of the frame are flexible inflated posts 53. The posts may be made of the same material as the bags 44 and the tubes 32. The tubes 53 are anchored at their bottom in flexible fittings 54 forming part of a rubber or plastic mat at the free end of the gangway. The fittings 54 may have internal ridges or grooves to cooperate with ridges or grooves on the ends of the posts 53 in order to hold them firmly together. The top of the posts 53 fit into fittings 56 and the same being rigid metal forming part of the framework 20..
The fitting 56 may be internally grooved or ridged to cooperate with similar ridges or grooves at the top of the posts 53 in order to hold them firmly in place. A rigid member 58 made of metal or plastic material extends from the member 56 to the upper end 60 of the flexible gangway. A network 62 of ropes which may be made out of natural fiber or synthetic fiber such as nylon forms a cage which is fastened between the elongated members 22 and 24 of the framework and side rail or rigid member 58, and the outermost tubes 32 of the structure which supports the steps. The front end of the rope network extends from the base of the poles 53 to the front center of the framework so as to form a triangular shaped opening as shown in FIG. 3. In FIG. 1 the network forming the cage is shown only on one side of the gangway. The other side has network matching that shown on the one side (see FIG. 2).
The upper end of the flexible gangway ends at the point- 60 and is there fastened in any suitable manner to the lower end of a rigid gangway 63. This may be done for example by providing the ends of the rubber tubings with molded flanges reinforced with metal which can be bolted directly to the bottom of the rigid gangway.
One feature of the gangway of this invention is that its strength is built into its cage-like structure rather than being concentrated in massive lower parts such as treads and girder members of the conventional gangway. This makes possible a lighter and more maneuverable design. For that reason the treadway 63 would not be conventional, but light weight in construction with tread strength necessary only to support the weight of the person thereon.
If desired, the flexible portion of the runway'to which this invention is directed may be attached to the bottom of a conventional runway so that the flexible runway can be used as a pliant extension. If the flexible runway is connected to a conventional gangway, the framework 20 should be terminated at the upper end of the flexible runway, that is, at the supporting struts 64, and means provided to attach the flexible portion to the conventional gangway at the desired angle and direction of extension. However, the usefulness of such an adaption would depend on the weight and maneuverability of the conventional gangway, to some extent. The front end of the frame 20 is supported from lines 150 and 152 at 153. Line 150 passes over a block 154 at the end of boom I56, mounted on the ship superstructure, the other end of the line being fastened to a winch or other suitable winding means 158. Line 152 passes over a block 160 mounted on the ship, the other end of the line being fastened to a separate winch or winding means 162.
Intermediate the ends of the flexible gangway are mounted on either side flexible inflated posts 66, the bottom of the posts will be mounted in flexible fixtures 68 formed integrally with the outside tubes 32 or otherwise fastened thereto and the top of the posts will be mounted in a metal fixture 70 similarly to the posts 53. The fixtures 70 are suspended from the framework by rods 72. The short posts 66 serve the purpose of resisting any tendency of the flexible gangway to buckle when the bottom corner of the gangway is struck in such manner as to drive it back against the steps. The net 62 serves the dual purpose of providing safety for personnel who are ascending or descending the gang way and for supporting the tubing structure 32 from the framework 20. The rope may be spliced to the framework or fastened in any other suitable manner. 'I'himbles 74 (FIG. 4) may be fastened to the chains 34 along the sides of the tubes 32 and the lower ends of the rope network 62 may be spliced to the thimbles as shown in FIG. 4. Provision should be made to enable the front ropes to be unfastened from the front of the frame on one side and hooked further back in order to permit boarding of the gangway from an angle.
It may be desirable to provide netting or other suitable padding inside the top framework 26 to protect personnel against head injuries.
The mat 76 (FIG. 7) which is placed at the free end of the gangway is fastened to the tubing structure in any suitable manner as for example by reinforcing the edges of the mat with metal tubing 77 having eyelets 78 which can be used to lash the mat to the ends of the tubing by means of rope or chain. The mat is preferably formed of flexible material reinforced on the bottom by studs or a woven metal mat. The purpose of this construction is to offer a slick contacting surface which will skid when it touches any structure below it, and thus makes for less shock than would be the case when nonskid parts come together. It is also preferable to have the toe end of the gangway pliant, yet of such construction as to be resistant to puncture and snagging by small fixtures on the surface being contacted. One method of fastening the front ends of the net 62 to the bottom of the posts 53 is shown in FIG. 6. There, a metal piece is embedded in the bottom of flexible member 54 with eyelets 80 extending out of the side of the member to which the bottom ends of the rope are spliced.
Referring now more particularly to FIGS. 8-11, there is shown the track and trolley. 90 is a double track rail mounted by strap 92 on longitudinal tubular member 94 supported by the framework and running longitudinally of the framework and centrally thereon. The
upper surfaces 96 of the tails are grooved to accommo date the wheels 98 of the trolleys 100. The rails are connected at both ends to loops 102 so that a trolley can ascend one rail, pass around the loop and descend along the other rail, and then when it reaches the bottom, pass around the loop and again ascend. Mounted above the ascending. rail is a tooth member 104 which cooperated with the trolley to prevent the trolley during ascendency from moving downwardly when a person is hanging on the rope or strap 106. The direction of force on the strap 106 causes the corner 108 of the trolley to engage the notch or tooth of the member 104. The descending rail shown in FIG. 11 is equipped at the end adjacent the free end of the gangway with pawls 112 and 113 which are spring actuated so that the pawl is normally in the position shown by 113. The descending trolley can pass under the pawl but after passing under the pawl the position of the pawl prevents the trolley from passing upwardly. This is asafety measure to warn a person from grasping a descending trolley when the personnel wants to ascend. Trolleys 100 are formed at their lower end with loop 114 which may be grasped by a person desiring to ascend or descend the gangway or to which a safety belt may be hooked.
While specific means have been shown and described for preventing the trolley from descending with a person who is ascending the gangway and for preventing a person from trying to ascend along the descending rail, it will be apparent that other means may be used for accomplishing these objectives.
One of the features of the invention is the extension of the rail 90 beyond the free end of the gangway as better illustrated in FIG. 2. The rail extends to the point 115 thereby allowing thetrolleys 100 to descend to a point forward of the free end 52 of the gangway. This enables a person who is about to step from a platform onto the gangway to grasp the trolley before the steps onto the gangway and thereby steadies himself. Upon grasping the rope or strap of the trolley, the person pulls himself within the triangular entrance of the rope net and then can balance himself by placing his outstretched arms against the inner side of the net. The
flexible gangway can be made in any desirable size as for example, 30 ft. length, 3 ft. width at the bottom 4 /2 ft. width across the top and 7 ft. from the steps to the trolley rail.
The trolleys 100 may be provided with a dual hole 130 in which one end of the rope or strap 106 may be fastened. By fastening one end of the strap in the hole 130 and the other end to the loop 114 as shown in FIG. 8, the trolley can be manipulated with two hands so that whenthe portion of the strap adjacent to the hole 130 is pulled, it will clear the notches 104 and the portion of the strap adjacent to the loop 114 is pulled'it will engage the notches 104.
The dual hole 130 is also useful in connection with handling a litter basket as shown in FIG. 12. The litter basket 132 may be supported from two trolleys, one connected to the fore end of the basket and the other trolley connected to the rear end of the basket. By connecting the rope in the forward trolley to the dual hole and the rope connected to the rear end of the litter to the loop of the rear trolley it will be apparent that the rear trolley will prevent the litter basket from descending unless the rope connected to the rear trolley is lifted to take the weight off the trolley.
In the modification illustrated in FIG. 12 the forward end of the frame is turned upwardly at the poles 53 and a block 136 is fastened to the forward end of the frame, over which passes a rope 138, the end of which may be fastened to a litter basket or any other object to be transferred. The rear or head end 140 of the basket is supported by two ropes 142 and 144, one on each side. Two men on the gangway can manipulate the ropes so as to swing the basket outwardly onto a transfer vessel or platform. This is made possible since the block is attached to the frame forward of the gangway landing. FIG. 2 shows a modification in which a sensing device is placed between the framework and the supporting line. The device, indicated generally by the numeral 116, comprises a cylinder 117, a piston 118, a piston rod 119, a chamber 123 and indicating rods and 121 pivoted at 122. Chamber 123 is air tight, the piston rod which passes through it being encased by a tube, as shown in FIG. 25, which would serve as a piston rod bearing with the packing gland at the bottom of the chamber. Mounted at the front end of the tube structure 32 near the toe of the gangway is an inflated bag 124 suitably reinforced to withstand pressure which is exerted on it when the gangway is landed onto a platform. The bag 124 is connected by a conduit, 128 in FIG. 25 to the chamber 123 so that when the bag rests on a deck or platform thepressure thereon will cause air to flow to the chamber. And conversely, when the gangway moves up from the platform the air pressure in chamber 123 causes the air to move back through conduit 128 to the bag 124. This air movement activates valve device 126 which causes compressed air to enter conduit 129 from an outside source into cylinder 117, and then to be exhausted through the same conduit 129 and valve device 127 to the atmosphere. The air movement in conduit 128 controlling the valves is indicated by dotted arrows, and the air movement to and from cylinder 117 is indicated by solid arrows. Each of these two valve means 126 and 127 is a dual valve mechanism fixed on one stem which turns valves in each conduit simultaneously, making it possible for they air movement which upwardly opensthe hinged, one way closure at the tenninus of conduit 128 to open the butterfly valve disc indicated by broken lines in the conduit 129 below it; Compressed air from the outside source thereupon passes into cylinder 117 as long as air is moving up from the air bag 114 into chamber 123. Without air motion between the bag and the chamber, valve devices 126 and 127 in conduit 128 and 129 are spring-biased to closed position and air pressure in the cylinder is stabilized. When air begins to flow from the chamber back to the air bag, it opens the hinged one way closure of the valve device 127 in the horizontal leg of conduit 128, which simultaneously opens the butterfly valve disc, fastened to the same stem as the one way closure in conduit 129, exhausting the compressed air from the cylinder. That part of conduit 128 inside the chamber is preferably square to simplify construction of the hinged valves. This conduit should be preferably inside the chamber whileconduit 129 with its butterfly valves is preferably outside in order to avoid valve stem leakage into the chamber.
When the piston rises in the cylinder the rod member 120 and 121 will assume a contracted position. This visual indication, together with the compressed air mechanism, will aid the gangway operator in keeping the gangway in close proximity to, or in light contact with, the structure being served by the operation. The bottom end of the piston rod is hooked through an eye 125 fastened to ridge member 26, and the sensor device 116 is supported by lines 150 and 152.
This compressed air mechanism would act, within the limits of the range of thepiston and air bag, as a contact sensor with an automatic reaction and motion dampened effect. If reaction and motion dampening effect was not desired, a contact sensor of cheaper and simpler design (air, electric or mechanical) could be used to make visual or auditory signals to indicate, to an operator directly above, the exact distance between the toe of the gangway and the surface below it.
Referring more particularly to FIG. 13, there is represented a more economical modification of a gangway in accordance with the invention. The numeral 161 indicates the gangway generally having a metal or other rigid frame or cage 163 assembled from aluminum or other lightweight angle bars or tubular stock and preferably capable of being disassembled so that pieces can be stowed away when not in use. The frame extends from the forward end 164 to the heel end 166. The frame is provided with side rails 168. The sides of the forward portion of the gangway between the bottom and the rails 168 have a rope network 170 to provide plaint protection for personnel on the gangway and to support a treadway (not shown in FIG. 13).
The forward end of the frame is provided with eye 172 by which it is supported in the same manner as previously described for FIG. 1. A continuous rail 174 is supported beneath the top of frame 163. Rail 174 may be formed from cylindrical rod stock 176 with diametrically opposite grooves 180 as shown in FIG. 16. The trolleys would be bifurcated elements, preferably biased together by means of a coil spring so as to retain the pronged ends in the grooves. One groove may be formed with ridges on its lower side, as shown by the dotted line 182 to prevent the trolley from sliding backwardly when grasped by someone moving from one end of the gangway to the other. Another form of rail is shown in FIG. 17 where the rail 174 is a hollow tubular structure 184 made of aluminum or other lightweight structural material of sufficient strength and rigidity.
' The tubular element 184 is formed with slot 186 running the entire distance around the bottom of the rail. The knotted end of a short piece of rope 188 could be inserted with the knot large enough to prevent it from slipping out through the slot. The rope would act as a trolley. If desired a toggle element could be attached to the upper end of the rope so that after insertion of the toggle through the slot it would be spring-biased so as to extend the toggle arms and remain inside the track. A ridged or toothed bar 190 may be fastened inside the tubular element 184, along one side of the slot, on which the toggle can ride and thereby prevent backsliding.
The forward or toe end of the gangway is formed from ajunk earthmover tire 192 from which the central portion has been removed except for a connecting piece 194 at the bottom which serves as a landing platform. Such tires come in various sizes and provide sufficient room when the center portion is removed to accommodate a person between the sides. The tops of the two sides are attached to vertical bars 196 at the front end of the frame. The two sides of the tire may be additionally fastened to side rails 168 and diagonal bars 198 to impart stability to the landing area.
The rear or heel end 166 of the gangway is adapted to be pivotally connected to the bottom platform 202 of a conventional gangway. This platform is commonly made of metal grating. In order to provide a pivot connec'tion which will permit relatively free movement between the conventional gangway platform and the gangway 161 and at the same time provide a snubber between the two, a junk tire 204 separates the two. The tire 204 is anchored to platfonn 202 by means of crossbar 206 which is of shorter length than the inside diameter of the tire but longer than the bead diameter. The bar is undercut at its ends so as to fit snugly over the lower tire bead. The cross-bar 206 is fastened to platform 202 by center bolt 208.
The rear or heel end 166 of gangway 161 is pivotally fastened to tire 204 by means of cross-bar 210 (FIG. 14), and legs 213. Cross-bar 210 is preferably a detachable angle bar which can be removed when it is desired to disassemble and stow gangway 161. Legs 213 are adapted to be bolted to cross-bar 210 by bolts 212 passing through holes or slots in the cross-bar. As will be apparent from FIG. 14, the horizontal feet of legs 213 extend inside the tire when the legs are bolted in place. Cross-bar 210 bears on the top of the tire casing and the feet of the legs ordinarily will not bear against bar 206 unless the gangway is loaded at its rear end.
If desired the cross-bar 206 may be made in two parts as indicated by diagonal broken line 214 in order to facilitate placing it in tire casing 204. In that event two or more bolts would be used to anchor the bar to platform 202.
When gangway 161 is not in use, tire 204 may be used to act as a fender by locking or lashing it to the underside of platform 202 as shown in FIG. 15. When so used the tire is located at the outboard corner of the landing platform and extends outwardly therefrom a sufficient distance to provide a fender. In this position the tire is provided with a plate 206 on both surfaces of the tire to close the head opening on both surfaces but the plates will be reversed so that the end portions are positioned against the outer surface of the tire. The tire would then be locked to the platform between the two plates by bolts 216 passing through the platform and the plates or could be lashed together with rope. The plates 206 may be madeof metal or skived from a large tire casing.
Referring to FIGS. 18 and 19 where are shown fragmentary portions of a treadway to be used as part of gangway 161. Treads or rungs 218 are rectangular in shape with eyes 220 at each end and made of light metal or reinforced plastic. The treads are formed with two interior channels 222 to receive cross pieces 224, made of strong cloth such as canvas or nylon, which fit snugly within the space provided by the channels and upper retaining walls. Cross-pieces 224 extend beyond the ends of rungs 218 and are bent at right angles as shown at 226 to fit against side strips 228 to which they are fastened by any suitable means such as by sewing or my means of brads. The side strips are also made of strong cloth. The cross strips are preferably made from two strips of cloth sewed together except adjacent their ends so that the ends can be turned in opposite directions before being fastened to the side strip. The strips may be additionally strengthened along the line where they are bent in opposite directions to form a strong bearing point for the rung.
The treadway preferably has a rope net 230 fastened between rungs 218. One means of fastening the rope net between the rungs is to provide three spaced slots 232 on the inside walls of the channel so that a piece of rope can be laid inside the channel and pieces fastened thereto would extend through the slot to the next adjacent rung. The rope netting may be covered with canvas or other strong cloth to guard against a person falling between the rungs.
The treadway is supported at the bottom of gangway 161, between the sides thereof by rope lashed to eyes 220 and to the rigid framework of the gangway. The treadway will extend from landing platform 194 to cross-bar 210 at the heel end of the gangway.
The front end of gangway 161 may be swung from the bottom of the conventional gangway, away from the ship and thereby avoid the danger of small craft bumping against the ship in rough water.
Another form of treadway is shown in FIG. 20. The rungs 234 are formed of light metal or reinforced plastic tubes arranged in pairs, the tubes of each pair being in substantially the same horizontal plane. The tubes are fastened to cloth side strips 236 by means of grommets 238 and hollow plugs 240. The treadway is suspended by rope passing through the tubes and fastened to the rigid frame.
In the form of treadway shown in FIG. 23 the pairs of tubes 242 forming the rungs are positioned vertically of each other. In this form the ends of tubes 242 are shown fastened to patches of cloth 244 provided with loops 246 by which to suspend the treadway by means of rope to the rigid frame. The patches 244 are sewed or bradded to the cloth side strips 248. In this way it is not necessary to perforate and weaken the side strips.
of the rung may be used without the side strip 228. Or
two ropes could be used at top and two ropes at bottom instead of longitudinal members 229 and cross members 226. One pair of ropes would cross through the upper channel area from opposite directions, and another pair would cross in the lower channel area in the same manner.
Instead of side piece 236 in FIG. 20, or side piece248 in FIG. 23, two ropes or two'straps could besecured to rung patches to form longitudinals.
In suspending the treadway to the rigid frame of the gangway the forward portion of the treadway may be suspended from the lower ends of the vertical strands forming part of the net 170. The rear portion of the treadway may be suspended from rails 168 or from any other portion of the frame.
It will be seen therefore that l have provided a novel gangway which provides a large measure of safety in transferring personnel from a floating platform or vessel during turbulent conditions. The gangway can be controlled from the deck of the vessel or platform on which it is mounted by means of a joy stick pointed in the same direction as the slant as the gangway so that the operator on the hoisting gear need only maneuver the joy stick like a miniature gangway.
I claim as my invention:
l.- A gangway for transferring personnel to and from a floating vessel or platform comprising a rigid overhead supporting framework, a treadway supported from said framework by means of rope or equivalent pliable means, an over-head rail supported by said framework, above said treadway and running the length thereof, means movable along said rail, adapted to be handgrasped by personnel on said gangway and pliant means at the forward end of said treadway, having sufficient rigidity to hold said framework and treadway in spaced relationship.
2. A gangway in accordance with claim 1 in which said means adapted to be handgrasped are movable trolleys mounted on said rail.
3. A gangway in accordance with claim 2 in which said treadway is formed of pliant material with spaced rungs or steps adapted to support a person without bending.
4. A gangway in accordance with claim 2 including means for moving the forward end of said gangway in both vertical and horizontal directions, means for pivoting the other end of said gangway, at least that portion of the tread adjacent the forward end being flexible.
5. A device in accordance with claim 4 in which said framework extends forward of the forward end of the tread and said rope formsa triangular-shaped opening at the front end of thc gangway with the apex of said opening at the forward end of the framework.
6. A device in accordance with claim I in which the pliant means between said treadway and framework at the forward end of the treadway is inflatable flexible material, and the rear end of the gangway is rigid.
7. A device in accordance with claim 4 in which the front flexible portion of the tread is in the form of steps.
8. A device in accordance with claim I in which the portion of the treadway adjacent the forward end is made of flexible material containing steps and the remaining portion of the treadway is in the form of rigid steps. 1
9. A device in accordance with claim 2 in which said trolleys are formed with rings at their lower ends to which straps can be hooked.
I0. A device in accordance with claim 2 in which said rail comprises two parallel tracks. the tracks at each end being connected to a loop thereby to permit the trolleys to pass each other in opposite directions.
11. A device in accordance with claim 10 in which one track is provided with means for preventing a trolley from moving backward when grasped by a person.
12. A device in accordance with claim 11 in which the other track is provided with means for preventing a trolley from moving backward along said other track when grasped by a person.
13. A device in accordance with claim 4 in which the means for moving the forward end of the gangway in vertical and horizontal directions comprises a boom mounted on the vessel, a first line one end of which is fastened to the forward end of said framework and passes over a block on the free end of the boom and the other end of which is adapted to be wound on a winding means mounted on the vessel, and a second line fastened to the forward end of said framework and passing over a block mounted on a stationary mast or other super structure of the vessel and operated by a separate winding means on said vessel.
14. A device in accordance with claim 13 including a sensor device for sensing contact between the forward end of the gangway and a support surface.
15. A device in accordance with claim l4 in which said sensor device comprises a pneumatic cylinder and a piston mounted therein, said piston and cylinder being connected between said first line and said framework, and a visible indicating means for indicating the relative positions of said cylinder and piston.
16. A device in accordance with claim 15 in which the piston is connected to said framework, the cylinder is connected to said line, the indicating means is a rigid member attached at one end to the framework adjacent the point of connection of said piston and at the other end to said cylinder and the cylinder beneath the piston is connected to a source of fluid pressure controlled by a collapsible fluid container mounted beneath the free end of the gangway.
17. The device in accordance with claim 5 including means at the forward end of the framework for supporting a litter in a manner to permit the litter to be raised and lowered and to be swung outwardly from the forward end of the treadway.
18. A flexible, inflatable treadway comprising a plurality of side-by-side hollow inflatable, flexible tubes, means for holding said tubes in side-by-side relationship, a plurality of separate inflatable, flexible members formed and arranged in the shape of steps, said members being removably anchored to said tubes, and spaced rigid reinforcing members extending across said members.
19. A flexible treadway forming part of a gangway comprising a pair of spaced runners made of foldable material, a plurality of spaced rigid rungs fastened between said runners, loop means for fastening said treadway at spaced intervals to supporting ropes, and a pliant material interlaced with said rungs and extending the entire distance between said runners.
20. A device in accordance with claim 15 in which said sensor includes a closed fixed volume chamber,
a fluid conduit, having two branches, each of which opens into said closed chamber,
a one-way closure in each branch,
said conduit being connected to a container adapted to vary in volume with pressure,
a second conduit foradmitting fluid under pressure to said cylinder beneath said piston,
a valve in said second conduit controlled to open and close upon opening and closing, respectively of one of said closures,
an exhaust line connected to said second conduit,
a second valve in said exhaust line controlled to open and close upon opening and closing, respectively, of the other of said closures,
said first-mentioned one-way closure opening in a direction to admit fluid to said closed chamber and said second-mentioned one-way closure opening in a direction to return fluid from said closed fixed volume chamber to said variable volume container.