US 3825097 A
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United States Patent [1 1 Owen 1 1 July 23, 1974 STEP ASSEMBLY APPARATUS FOR USE ON SKI BOAT OR THE LIKE Harold D. Owen, 2605 Woodruff Rd., Edmond, Okla. 73034  Inventor:
 US. Cl. 182/91  Int. Cl. Bfiol 3/00, E060 5/00  Field of Search 182/91, 90, 92, 98, 97; 280/166  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 440,661 11/1890 Thompson 182/91 493,373 3/1893 Alexander 182/91 590,155 9/1897 Leathers 182/91 724,155 3/1903 Besse 182/91 3,627,350 12/1971 Cross t t r 182/91 Primary Examiner-Reinaldo P. Machado Attorney, Agent, or FirmDunlap, Laney, Hessin, Dougherty & Codding  ABSTRACT An improved step assembly apparatus for boarding a boat over the stem transom thereof, wherein a hook shaped extendible step assembly is pivotally connected to a portion of the transom by means of a resilient shaft rotatably connected to a mounting bracket and extending therefrom a predetermined distance, parallel to the transom surface and at a relatively short distance therefrom, through an elongated slot formed through a portion of a second mounting bracket. The resilient shaft is spaced a predetermined distance below and parallel with the stern gunwale and the shank portion of the hook-shaped step assembly is extended a like distance from the pivot shaft such that the assembly may be pivoted to a storing position wherein the hook-shaped step is secured to the gunwale, and the torsion effect produced by the resilient shaft bent upwardly within the upper portion of the elongated slot formed through a portion of the second mounting bracket retains the assembly in a stored position.
5 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures STEP ASSEMBLY APPARATUS FOR USE ON SKI BOAT OR THE LIKE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates generally to an improvement in step assemblies, and, more particularly, but not by way of limitation, to step assemblies adapted for use on boats having an outboard engine secured to the transom of the boat.
2. Description of the Prior Art Self-propelled power boats of the type previously mentioned are well known. Step assemblies or ladders utilized with these boats are primarily for the purpose of aiding a skier or swimmer to board the vessel after the skier has either fallen off his skies or is otherwise unable to continue his activity, or, a swimmer is unable to reach the shore.
In the past, boat ladders have been of the type which are either stored inside of the boat when not in use, and thus taking up useful space, or are removed entirely from the boat for storage elsewhere. Typical prior ladders are shown in the US. patents OF Vicker US. Pat. No. 2,669,733; Billingsley U.S. Pat. No. 2,975,858 and Holt US Pat. No. 3,021,9l7.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION An object of the present invention is to provide an improved apparatus for aiding a person in the water in boarding a boat powered by an outboard motor.
Another object of the invention is to provide an improved step assembly apparatus for use on the transom of a power boat which pivots into a stored position as an integral part of the transom.
A further object of the invention is an improved step assembly apparatus which is more efficient in the operation thereof.
One other object of the invention is to provide a step assembly apparatus which is self-securing and vibrationless when in a stored position.
A still further object of the invention is to provide an improved step assembly apparatus for use with a power boat which is more economical in the construction thereof.
One further object of the invention is to provide an apparatus for boarding an outboard motor boat which reduces rocking or imbalancing of the boat during the boarding thereof.
Other objects and advantages of the invention will be evident from the following detailed description when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, which illustrate the preferred embodiment of the inventron.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. I is a perspective view of the invention in one typical application.
FIG. 2 is a front elevational view of the assembled apparatus.
FIG. 3 is a side elevational view of the apparatus.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Shown in FIG. I of the drawings and designated therein by the general reference numeral 10, is the stern portion of a conventional power boat, having a transom l2 and a gunwale 14. The boat commonly includes a motor 16 secured to the center portion of the transom 12 by means of clamps or the like, atypical configuration of motor positioning being shown in FIG. I of the drawings.
A ladder assembly 18 is secured to a portion of the transom by a pair of mounting bracket 20 and 22. The brackets 20 and 22 comprise a pair of mounting plates secured to the transom I2 by means of bolts or the like and each includes a flange 23 projecting outwardly therefrom vertically with respect to the transom. The flange 23 projecting from the bracket 20 has an aperture 24 extending horizontally therethrough.
Arm means 34 are transversely secured to the end of the rod 26 opposite the end of the rod 26 journaled within the aperture 24 of the bracket 20. The arm means 34 includes a hollow pivot arm 36 having one end 38 thereof transversely secured to the rod 26.
A step 40 is formed as a portion of the arm means 34 and is telescopingly positionable within the arm 36 by means of a bolt 42 inserted through corresponding apertures 44 in the arm 36 and the step 40. The step 40 also includes a flange 46 formed as an upwardly projecting portion of the step 40 opposite the end of the step telescopingly inserted within the arm 36.
The ladder assembly 18 is positioned with respect to the transom 12 such that the rod 26 extends through the slot 30 in bracket 22 and is journaled in the bracket 20 substantially parallel with and at a predetermined distance below the gunwale 14. The bracket 20 is positioned generally near one end of the transom l2, and the arm means 34 is positioned generally near the motor I6.
OPERATION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT The ladder assembly apparatus 18, in an assembled and extended position, is disposed such that the arm means 34 extends essentially vertically downward and the step portion 40 extends generally perpendicularly from the transom 12, as shown more clearly in FIG. 3. A person in the water attempting to board the boat 10, grasps the rod 26 with one hand and places a foot in the step portion 40 between the upthrust flange 46 and the arm 36. The person boarding then places his free hand on the gunwale 14 or the engine 16 to provide sufficient leverage to pull himself out of the water and board the boat over the gunwale 14. In a preferred embodiment, the rod 26 flexes down when a person steps on the step portion 40 until the rod contacts the lower end of the slot 30 in the bracket 22. The flange 23 of the bracket 22 then provides support for the rod.
To place the ladder assembly 18 in a stored position as shown in FIG. 1 (and dashed lines in FIGS. 2 and 3), the operator pivots the arm means 34 in a generally upward direction such that the flange 46 contacts the transom 12 generally near the gunwale 14. The operator then flexes the resilient rod 26 within the elongated slot 30 such that the flange 46 clears the gunwale 14. Then the operator pulls the step assembly in an inboard direction such that the flange 46 is disposed inside the gunwale 14 generally within the stern well of the boat. The operator then releases the assembly such that resilient rod 26 unflexes and the step portion 40 abuts the gunwale l4 and the inner surface of the arm 36 abuts the transom 12. The torsional effect of the resilient rod 26 thereby maintains the ladder assembly 18 in a stored position, substantially eliminating vibration of the assembly when the boat is in motion under power from the motor 16.
The brackets and 22 may be placed at any distance below the gunwale 14, even below the water line, such that, in one position, the ladder assembly 18, when extended, depends substantially below the water line, thereby relieving the boarder of substantial difficulty. It will also be apparent that the length of the arm means 34 may be lengthened or shortened, as required, to assure the positioning of the step 40 at the desired height in use, or alternatively, to assure that the rod 26 holds the step 40 firmly on the gunwale when the ladder is in storage position.
The placement of the apparatus at the stern of the boat 10 also substantially reduces the risks of overturning the boat 10 by reducing the rocking action of the boat 10 when a boarder enters by more conventional paths eg as by ladder slung over a port or starboard gunwale.
Changes may be made in the construction and the arrangement of the parts or the elements of the embodiment as disclosed herein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the following claims.
What is claimed is:
l. A ladder for a boat having a transom at the stern thereof, comprising:
bracket means secured to the transom of the boat providing an aperture and a vertically extending slot aligned in generally a horizontal plane and adjacent the transom;
a resilient rod journaled in said bracket aperture and extending loosely through said slot; and
arm means journaled on the rod adjacent said slot and having a step formed thereon remote from the rod extending away from the boat when the arm means extends downwardly from the rod for use by a person entering the boat, said arm means being of a length between said rod and said step such that the step can be placed over the top of the transom when the arm means is pivoted upwardly and the rod bent upwardly in said slot, whereby the rod holds the step on the transom for storage of the ladder.
2. A ladder as defined in claim 1 wherein the arm means is in the form of telescopically connected members for adjusting the length of the arm means between the rod and the step.
3. A ladder as defined in claim 1 wherein the bracket means are further defined to include:
a pair of brackets secured to a portion of the transom in spaced relation, each of said brackets comprismg;
a bracket mounting plate secured to the transom surface and a bracket mounting flange projecting from the mounting plate perpendicularly to the transom surface;
one of said flanges having said aperture formed therein, and the other of said flanges having said slot formed therein.
4. A ladder as defined in claim 3 wherein said slot is sized and positioned such that said rod contacts the lower end thereof when a person uses the ladder for entering the boat to provide support for the arm means.
5. A ladder as defined in claim 1 secured to a boat having a transom at the stern thereof, further defined to include:
a motor secured to the transom generally near the center thereof, and, wherein said arm means is positioned adjacent the motor.