US 3829919 A
A buoy includes a floating base and an elevated structure which is positioned above the base and may serve as a marker. The elevated structure is mounted on a rod which extends through a ball-and-socket fitting on the top of the base, and this rod is provided with a counterweight at its lower end. Thus, the elevated structure assumes an upright position, even if the base tilted by fast moving water. The base is attached to its anchor cable through a swivel arrangement so that the buoy will tend to roll around and pass to the sides of floating objects which come against it.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
uited States Patent Mathae Aug. 20, 1974 BUOY  Inventor: Edwin G. Mathae, 4017 Holly Hills,
St, Louis, Mo. 63116  Filed: Jan. 15, 1973  Appl. N0.: 323,514
 US. Cl 9/8 R  Int. Cl 1363b 21/00  Field of Search 9/8 R, 8 P, 83 R, 8.3 E;
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,969,552 l/l96l Karnow 9/8.3 R
3,132,417 5/]964 Irwin t 9/8 R X 3,674,225 7/1972 Johnson 9/8 R Primary ExaminerTrygve M. Blix Assistant Examiner-Gregory W. O'Connor Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Gravely, Lieder & Woodruff  ABSTRACT A buoy includes a floating base and an elevated structure which is positioned above the base and may serve as a marker. The elevated structure is mounted on a rod which extends through a ball-and-socket fitting on the top of the base, and this rod is provided with a counterweight at its lower end. Thus, the elevated structure assumes an upright position, even if the base tilted by fast moving water. The base is attached to its anchor cable through a swivel arrangement so that the buoy will tend to roll around and pass to the sides of floating objects which come against it.
8 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures B'UOY BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates in general to floating devices for use in waterways, and more particularly to a buoy having an elevated structure which remains in an upright position even when the buoy is in fast moving water or subjected to wave action.
Conventional buoy markers are merely floats which are tied to an anchor by means of a cable. In fast moving water these floats tend to tip and assume a lower profile in the water, and as a result are less visible than they might otherwise be in slow-moving water. They are similarly disturbed by wave action.
Moreover, the anchor cables are usually secured to the buoy at an eye which is fixed with respect to the buoy. Hence, the buoy remains more or less fixed in position so that floating debris tends to accumulate behind the buoy, further obscuring it. Also, vessels such as boats and barges sometimes meet such buoys headon, and usually the collision results in damage to both.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION One of the principal objects of the present invention is to provide a buoy which is highly visible in all types of water. Another object is to provide a buoy having an elevated structure which maintains an upright disposition, even when the buoy is in fast moving water or subjected to wave action. A further object is to provide a buoy which tends to roll to the side of floating objects which come against it in the water so that it is less susceptible to damage from impact with such objects. These and other objects and advantages will become apparent hereinafter.
The present invention is embodied in a buoy inc|uding a base which floats in water and an elevated structure which is mounted on the base such that it pivots relative thereto and will maintain an upright position, even if the base tilts. The invention also consists in the parts and in the arrangements and combinations of parts hereinafter described and claimed.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the accompanying drawings which form part of the specification and wherein like numerals and letters refer to like parts wherever they occur:
FIG. 1 is an elevational view showing the buoy of the present invention in a waterway;
FIG. 2 is a sectional view taken along line 22 of FIG. 1; and
FIG. 3 is a perspective view showing the base of the buoy tilted in the water.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION bottom of the body of water W.
The buoy B includes a base 2 which floats on the body of water W and preferably has a spherical configuration. So that the base 2 will float, it is water tight and provided with a hollow interior. Preferably, the base is fabricated from a suitable plastic or metallic alloy material, since these materials are generally light in weight, have good impact properties, and resist the effects of corrosion. Above the waterline the wall of the base 2 is provided with a circular opening 4 to afford access to the hollow interior of the base 2. The opening 4 is covered with a removable, yet watertight, cap 6. At its very top, the wall of the base 2 is provided with an annular reinforcing plate 8 and similarly at its very bottom it is provided with another reinforcing plate 10. The lower portion of the hollow base 2 is filled with a foam-type flotation material 12, and the upper surface of this material is concave and concentric about the center of the upper reinforcing plate 8.
Extended through the lower reinforcing plate 10 and into the interior of the base 2 is a fixed pivot shaft 20 which continues through the foam-type flotation material 12. At its upper end the shaft 20 is fitted with an enlarged washer 22 which bears against the concave upper surface of the flotation material 12 and thereby helps retain the flotation material 12 in a fixed position within the base 2 and secure the pivot shaft 20 in a fixed position. The pivot shaft 20 is also secured firmly to the reinforcing plate 10.
The portion of the pivot shaft 20 projecting outwardly from the base 2 is received in a sleeve 30 which is fitted with a bushing or bearing 32 at each end for permitting the sleeve 30 to rotate freely relative to the shaft 20 and the base 2. The sleeve 30 is retained on the shaft by a nut 34 which threads over the lower end of the shaft 20 and against a bearing washer. At its lower end, the sleeve 30 carries a ballast 36 which serves to maintain the base 2 in an upright position, that is in a position with its reinforcing plate 8 presented upwardly and its pivot shaft 20 oriented generally vertically. At
- its upper end, the sleeve 30 is fitted with an anchor eye 38 through which the anchor cable C extends. Thus, the cable C is tied to the buoy B at the anchor eye 38. Since the sleeve 30 rotates on the pivot shaft 20, the base 2 is free to rotate relative to the cable C. Consequently, ifa floating object, such as a boat, contacts the base 2, the base 2 will tend to rotate about the axis of the sleeve 30 and roll around the object.
Referring now to the uppermost portion of the base 2, the reinforcing plate 8 thereon carries a ball-andsocket fitting 40 including a ball 42 having a threaded bore extended through it. The ball 42 of the fitting 40 carries upper and lower mounting means or rods 46 and 48, respectively, and these rods are provided at their ends with threads which engage the threads of the bore and lock in the ball 42. Thus, the upper mounting rod 46 projects outwardly away from the base 2, while the lower rod 48 projects into the hollow interior of the base 2. The presence of the ball-and-socket fitting 40 enables the rods 46 and 48 to rotate in unison relative to thebase 2 and to further swing in any direction relative to the base 2.
The lower mounting rod 48 terminates close to the concave upper surface of the foam flotation material 12, and at that end the rod 48 carries a counterweight 50 which serves to maintain both mounting rods 46 and 48 in an upright or vertical position irrespective of the position of the base 2. Consequently, as the base 2 tilts, such that the pivot shaft 20 at the bottom thereof moves away from a truly vertical disposition, the counterweight 50 will swing over the concave upper surface of the flotation material 12 and keep the rods 46 and 48 truly vertical.
The upper mounting rod 46 carries an elevated structure in the form of a marker 56 which is also preferably fabricated from a light weight plastic material or metal alloy. The marker 56 may assume various configurations, but should be narrower than the base 2. The configuration illustrated is somewhat elongated along the axis of the rod 46 and has dome-shaped ends. Moreover, the marker 56 should be of such a color that it is readily distinguishable in the body of water W. Furthermore, the marker 56 may carry a light to make it more visible in darkness. Finally, the weight of the marker 56 should be such that the marker 56 does not upset the counterweight 50. Hence, the counterweight 50 will always assume the lowermost position. At the extreme upper end of the marker 56 the upper mounting rod 46 is provided with a lifting eye 58 and the marker 56 itself is clamped between the eye 58 and a nut 60 which threads over the threads at the lower end of the mounting rod 46.
OPERATION The buoy B is emplaced in the body of water W by attaching the anchor cable C to the eye 44 on the upper end of the sleeve 30. If the body of water W is a river or tidal channel it will possess a current, and this current will tend to tip the base 2 such that the axis of the pivot shaft is oblique to the vertical. Similarly, if the body of water is open sea, waves will exist which will tend to tip the base 2 and move the pivot shaft 20 to an oblique disposition. Notwithstanding the oblique disposition of the pivot shaft 20, the mounting rods 46 and 48 will remain truly vertical since the counterweight 50 is at the lowest extremity of those rods and the rods 46 and 48 are attached to the base only at the ball-andsocket fitting 40. As a result, the marker 56 will remain truly upright irrespective of the position assumed by the base 2.
if a vessel such as a boat or barge comes in contact with the buoy B, it will most likely strike the base 2 first, since the base 2 is usually wider than the marker 56. Inasmuch as the base 2 is connected to the anchor cable C by means of the rotatable sleeve 30, the base 2 will tend to rotate and roll to the side of the vessel. This contrasts with conventional buoys which do not rotate but instead tend to remain at the point of impact and thereafter pass under the vessel. Since the buoy B tends to roll or rotate relative to its anchor cable C, it is less susceptible to damage upon being struck by a vessel. For the same reason, there is less tendency for logs and other debris floating in the waterway W to accumulate behind the buoy marker B. The buoy B will merely rotate about its sleeve 30 and thereby cause the debris to pass to the side of it.
In lieu of the marker 56 some other elevated structure which should be maintained in an upright position may be positioned on the upper mounting rod 46. For example, rod 46 may carry radar equipment.
This invention is intended to cover all changes and modifications of the example of the invention herein chosen for purposes of the disclosure which do not constitute departures from the spirit and scope of the invention.
What is claimed is:
l. A buoy comprising: a base capable of floating in water and having a void in the interior thereof, the base being watertight so that water cannot enter the void within it; attaching means on the base for attaching it to an anchoring device; mounting means extending from the watertight void within the base to beyond the exterior surface of the base; a pivot device mounted on the base and secured to the mounting means to support the mounting means on the base and to permit the mounting means to swing in any direction relative to the base; a counterweight on the portion of the mounting means within the void in the base, whereby the counterweight is isolated from the water on which the base floats; and an elevated structure mounted on the portion of the mounting means projecting beyond the base, the weight and position of the elevated structure relative to the weight and position of the counterweight being such that the counterweight will always assume a position lower than the elevated structure, whereby the elevated structure will be maintained at a predetermined inclination relative to the water, even if the base tilts in the water.
2. A buoy according to claim 1 wherein the elevated structure is attached rigidly to the mounting means.
3. A buoy according to claim 1 wherein the elevated structure is a marker which is rigidly attached to the mounting means and normally assumes an upright position.
4. A buoy according to claim 1 wherein the mounting means includes a rigid elongated member which is connected to the base at the pivot device and extends both upwardly and downwardly from the pivot device, the counterweight being connected to the elongated member below the pivot device and the elevated structure being connected to the elongated member above the pivot device.
5. Abuoy according to claim 1 wherein the pivot device is a ball-and-socket fitting and the mounting means is connected to the ball of that fitting.
6. A buoy according to claim 1 wherein the means for attaching the base to an anchoring device enables the base to pivot relative to the anchoring device.
7. A buoy according to claim 1 wherein the means for attaching the base to an anchoring device includes a pivot shaft extended outwardly and generally downwardly from the base and a sleeve mounted on the shaft such that it rotates relative to the shaft and the base.
8. A buoy according to claim 5 wherein the elevated structure is a marker.
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