US 3916467 A
A low cost lightweight unsinkable plastic buoy is adapted to float high and upright in a fast current of water. The high riding nature of the buoy and its configuration render it resistant to damage from floating debris and collisions with barges and boats. Mooring and lifting elements are firmly anchored to the buoy, and it is adapted to support on the top of its flotation body desired forms of markers.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 Curd, Jr.
[ FAST WATER BUOY  Inventor: Robert F. Curd, Jr., Fort Marshall,
Sullivans Island, SC. 29482 22 Filed: Nov. 7, 1974 21 Appl. No.: 521,776
 US. Cl 9/8 R  Int. C1. B63B 21/52  Field of Search 9/8 R  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,084,354 4/1963 Lunenschloss 9/8 R Busenkell et al 9/8 R NOV. 4, 1975 3,674,225 7/1972 Johnson 9/8 R FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1,300,829 7/1962 France 9/8 R Primary Examiner-Trygve M. Blix Assistant ExaminerStuart M. Goldstein Attorney, Agent, or Firm--B. P. Fishburne, Jr.
 ABSTRACT A low cost lightweight unsinkable plastic buoy is adapted to float high and upright in a fast current of water. The high riding nature of the buoy and its configuration render it resistant to damage from floating debris and collisions with barges and boats. Mooring and lifting elements are firmly anchored to the buoy, and it is adapted to support on the top of its flotation body desired forms of markers.
3 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures US. Patent Nov. 4, 1975 3,916,467
FAST WATER BUOY BACKGROUNDOF'THE INVENTION An urgent need exists for afast water buoy which is lighter and more economical'to manufacture than existing available types without loss of efficiency in the performance of its know-n purposes. More particularly, there is a great need foulightweight unsinkable buoys for use in navigable rivers with fast currents and much floating debris. To avoid over-ridingand inundation by floating debris, the buoy must float very high on the water and must possess a smoothly rounded body which will shed logs and other floating objects. Additionally and ideally, the buoy should be highly resistant to damage caused by colliding with barges and boats while moored. Most importantly, the buoy should be of a size and weight allowing it to be launched and retrieved by one man as opposed to a crew of three or more, as now required with existing buoys.
By way of comparison with an existing well-known steel buoy for the same general purpose as the invention, the following statistics should be noted.
In an equivalent size for an equivalent purpose, the steel buoys cost an average of $400 compared to $175 for a buoy constructed in accordance with the invention, all labor and material included.
The cost of maintenance when the buoy embodying the invention is used is reduced approximately 95 percent compared to the steel type. This conventional type requires almost constant maintenance and repair to the body as a result of colliding with floating objects.
In durability testing of the buoy according to the invention, the same was dropped four feet in a free fall onto concrete without noticeable damage. The average life of the buoy is expected to be five years or longer, compared to one-half of this life, or less, for existing types.
Flotation tests of the invention proved equally rewarding, as the buoy remained upright and high floating at all times, as opposed to the above steel type which became submerged in a five knot current in a debris-filled Missouri River.
In a recent test, the Coast Guard set buoys in the Missouri River. The buoy according to the invention was placed first and upon return of the tending craft, all competing buoys were lost except the one embodying the invention.
It is believed that the invention ideally and completely satisfies the stated need for a more economical, durable and lightweight fast water buoy which is capable of being launched and retrieved by one man and is virtually maintenance-free.
Other features and advantages of the invention will become apparent during the course of the following description.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWING FIGURES FIG. 1 is a perspective view ofa buoy embodying the invention.
FIG. 2 is a side elevation thereof.
FIG. 3 is a plan view thereof.
FIG. 4 is a central vertical cross section taken through the buoy body portion with a modified type of marker mounted on the top thereof.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION Referring to the drawings in detail wherein like numerals designate like parts, a buoy designated in its entirety by the numeral 10 is essentially of all-plastic construction except for certain minor hardware. It comprises a flotation body portion 11 having an outer wall or skin 12 formed either of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). Such materials are tough, resilient and wear-resistant as well as resistant to impact and breakage. They are substantially uneffected by sunlight, water, acids and alkalies. The body portion 11 is rounded and preferably hemispherical from its lowermost point up to the elevation of a lapped solvent welded joint 13 or seam formed between the shell or skin 12 and an upper shell section 14 having a flat top wall 15 and a relatively short depending marginal cylindrical wall 16 which extends downwardly and overlaps the upper extremity of the shell 12 at the joint 13.
A spherically curved ballast weight 17 is mounted in the bottom portion of the hemispherical shell 12 with a reinforcement lining 18 of PVC or ABS intervening and preferably solvent welded to the interior of the shell 12. Preferably, the reinforcement lining 18 is symmetrical with the ballast 17 and extends thereabove to a point near the axial center of the flotation body 11.
An eye bolt 19 for mooring the buoy in fast water equipped with washers and pipe flanges penetrates the shell 12, lining 18 and the ballast weight at the axial center of the buoy and this sturdy bolt serves to anchor the ballast weight 17 and maintain the spherical face of the latter firmly clamped against the lining 18.
Similarly, a pair of diametrically opposed buoy lifting eyes 20 are similarly anchored to the upper shell section 14 near and inwardly of the rounded annular shoulder 21 thereof.
The entire interior cavity of the skin or shell formed by the components 12 and 14 above the ballast 17 is filled with a relatively rigid plastic foam, such as 2 pound density polyurethane foam, indicated by the numeral 22 in FIG. 4. This foam mass renders the buoy unsinkable and imparts to it a high degree of buoyancy, allowing it to float very high in swift currents while being held upright or nearly upright by the ballast 17. The spherical contour of the body portion 11 causes the buoy to shed floating debris including logs and the like and to resist damage when colliding with boats and barges by bouncing free of the same. The body portion is very tough and sufficiently resilient to resist cracking and breakage. It is also abrasion and scuff resistant and resistant to most corrosives.
Mounted centrally on the top wall 15, FIGS. 1 to 3, is an upstanding conically tapered "nun" marker 23 formed of PVC or equivalent material and preferably filled with polyurethane foam. The nun marker 23 has an aluminum radar reflector. The marker has an annular mounting flange 24 at its lower end secured to the wall 15 by the lag bolts 25 or equivalent means.
In FIG. 4, a modified form of marker is illustrated on the buoy portion 11, namely a generally cylindrical can marker 26 having a bottom mounting flange 27 accepting the aforementioned bolts 25 for anchoring the marker to the body portion. As in the case of the nun marker 23, can marker 26 is filled with plastic foam 28 feasible methods of manufacturing include blow molding and rotational or spin molding. This latter method would provide a one-piece body or shell eliminating the solvent or cement joint at 13.
It is to be understood that the form of the invention herewith shown and described is to be taken as a preferred example of the same, and that various changes in the shape, size and arrangement of parts may be resorted to, without departing from the spirit of the invention or scope of the subjoined claims.
1. A buoy particularly for use in fast currents of water comprising a roughly hemispherical flotation body portion having a closed plastic shell and an internal core of flotation material, a ballast element inside of the shell at the bottom of said body portion, a buoy mooring element at the bottom of the body portion and centrally disposed and engaged with the ballast element and serving to anchor the same within said shell, an intermediate spherically curved plastic liner intervened between said shell and ballast element in the lower portion of the shell, said closed plastic shell comprising upper and lower telescoping sections which are integrally joined by a solvent weld, said lower shell section being hemispherical and the upper shell section comprising a short substantially cylindrical section having a flat top wall joined with the cylindrical side wall of the top section by an annular rounded shoulder, and an upstanding visual marker secured to the top of the body portion centrally.
2. The structure of claim 1, and said upstanding marker being formed of plastic and including a plastic shell and a core portion of foam plastic.
3. The structure of claim 2, and said shell of the marker having a metal lining constituting a radar reflector.