US 3918386 A
A boat docking device for being mounted on the bow of a boat comprises a housing member having forward surfaces slanting inwardly to a slot for receiving a mooring line, a latch pivotally mounted in the housing member between a locked and unlocked position, and a retractable biased pin urged against the locking member for securing the latch in a locked position.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
14 1 Nov. 11, 1975 United States Patent 1191 McClain 1 BOAT DOCKING DEVICE Primary E.\'am1'nerTrygve M. Blix  Filed:
Assistant Eraminer-Sherman D. Basinger Attorney Agent, or FirmJerry R. Seiler Appl. No.: 508,241
 ABSTRACT A boat docking device for being mounted on the bow of a boat comprises a housing member having forward surfaces slanting inwardly to a slot for receiving 21 51 lm. B63B 21/04  Field of Search 114/230, 210; 294/84, 83 R; 2 238, 232, 241 PS, 241 SL, 241 PP, 241-513 mooring line, a latch pivotally mounted in the housing References Cited member between a locked and unlocked posltlon. and UNITED STATES PATENTS a retractable biased pin urged against the locking 1 /1891 member for securing the latch in a locked position.
14 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures 461465 Berry 294/83 R 8/1895 Eckert 2 232 8/1948 Knowler...................v.......... 114/220 US. Patent Nov. 11, 1975 Sheet10f2 3,918,386
o l'lt Sht?et 2 45 ION lllllllllllllllll llllllllllllllllllIIIIIIIIWIIIIII BOAT DOCKING DEVICE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The problems associated with docking and launching a boat in a slip are well understood by most boat owners and operators. For example, when entering a boat slip, which is normally bounded by a dock on both sides as well as at the bow, the operator must carefully steer 'the boat into the slip, leaving enough room to prevent the side of the boat from striking the dock. Also, often required is a person standing on the dock at the forward slip endto hold off the bow and prevent contact as the boat fully enters the slip. For this purpose, a crew member must be stationed on the dock, frequently requiring a crew member to jump from the boat to the dock. Moreover, where such a crew member is not available, the operator must drive the boat into the slip and as the bow nears the forward slip end, reverse the drive prop until the forward boat movement is stopped and then single handedly secure the mooring or docking lines. Such a procedure is made even more difficult in a wind or a current.
Launching the craft also presents problems, when a crew member on the dock is needed to push the boat out of the slip while preventing a side of the boat from rubbing against the dock, and which crew member must then jump onto the boat as it leaves the slip. An inexperienced crew member may remove mooring lines before the operator is fully ready to launch. If the motor has not been started or stalls during the premature launch with docking lines detached, the boat is adrift and damage may occur as the boat sides run against the dock, especially during a rather strong wind or current.
A boat docking apparatus has been proposed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,177,839. However, even with such an apparatus, a crew member must be present on the dock in order to disengage the device when the boat is to be launched. Again, if such a crew member is not available, launching may be difficult. Moreover, the device is mounted on the dock and if care is not taken when entering a slip, damage may occur either to the device or the boat.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The device of the present invention is designed to allow a boat operator toenter a dock and secure a mooring line to the boat bow automatically without requiring assistance of a crew member. The device also allows the operator to launch the boat without requiring assistance of removing bow and stem lines immediately before launch and prevents the boat from being adrift in the slip prior to unlocking the device from a mooring line. The device is relatively simple, having few moving parts and components, is easy to assembly and install on a boat bow. Another feature allows for remote unlocking from the cockpit of the boat.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a side elevational view partially cut away showing the device in a locked position;
FIG. 2 shows the device in an unlocked position;
FIG. 3 shows the device installed on a boat moored in a slip; and
FIG. 4 illustrates another embodiment of the invention secured in a modified boat bow.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, there is shown the docking device of the invention including a housing member 10 having a cavity 40 and a locking member or latch 12 received or disposed within the cavity. The latch is pivotally mounted to the housing member by a pivot rod 20 which may comprise a bolt secured to the housing member and extending through cavity 40. A nut (not shown) may be threadedly engaged on one end of the bolt thereby securing it to the housing member. A hole 21 through latch 12 is for the purpose of allowing the latch,to;rotate or pivot .on pivot rod 20.
Housing. member 10 has an upper portion 16 and lower portion 14 each having a forward surface 17 and 19, respectively, which slant inwardly toward a slot 22 formed in the housing member. When installed on a boat bow 50, the rear surface 48 of upper portion 16 will abut the forward bow surface on the angle shown, it being understood that the average bow rake is about 55 from horizontal. When so installed, lower portion 14 of the housing member will extend outwardly from the bow surface at an angle of between about and about The purpose for so extending the lower portion from the bow is to form an arm which will pick up a mooring line stretched across a dock and direct it into slot 22 as a boat moves forwardly into the line. However, forward surface 17 of upper portion 16, also slanting toward slot 22 acts as a guide surface where the mooring line is elevated somewhat. Thus, either of the forward surfaces 17 or 19 guide a line into slot 22 during boat docking and as will be more fully explained hereinafter.
Mounted through the back of housing member 10' is a sleeve member 30 which can be threadedly engaged as shown so as to be firmly secured to the housing member. For this purpose, a hole or orifice extending through the back of the housing member and into cavity ,40 has an enlarged threaded portion 32 into which sleeve 30 is threadedly engaged and an unthreaded portion 31 which is large enough to allow pin 26 to freely pass therethrough. With this feature, sleeve 30 can be tightened into the threaded portion of the orifice.
Pin 26 slideably received in sleeve 30 preferably has a slender forward portion which is received in notch 24 of latch 12 when the device is to be locked, and an enlarged upper portion 28 of a diameter at least slightly smaller than the internal diameter of sleeve 30 for easy sliding of the pin within the sleeve. The purpose for the enlarged pin portion 28 is to ensure guidance of the pin within sleeve 30. The length of the pin extending into cavity 40 should be sufficient to be against the cam surface 15 of latch 12 as shown in FIG. 2. A biasing member in the form of spring 36 is located behind or at the end of the pin so as to bias the pin toward latch 12 and maintain the pin against the latch. Moreover the cam surface 15 has a gradually decreasing radius therealong between pivot rod 20 and the surface from the edge of notch 24 and the cam surface along which the end of pin 26 travels as the latch rotates to the unlocked position. Preferably the device also includes an adjustable end cap 38 for sleeve 30 which may be threadedly engaged for varying the compression of spring 36 depending on the extent to which the cap is screwed on the sleeve. Thus, spring 36 lies between the end of pin 26 and cap 38. The cap also has an orifice or hole to allow a wire or cord 34 to extend therethrough and which wire is connected to pin 26 by screw 39 for retraction thereof when the device is to be unlocked. The opposite end of wire 34 can be extended by suitable means to any desired location in the boat, for example, the cockpit, so that the boat operator, by pulling wire 34, can retract pin 26.
Latch 12 is shaped so that an enlarged finger portion 13 is located forwardly of pivot rod so that when pin 26 is retracted from notch 24, the latch will fall or rotate gravitationally due to the mass of the enlarged portion 13 to the open position shown in FIG. 2. Located along the rear edge 15 of latch 12 is a notch 24 to receive pin 26 for locking the latch in the position shown in FIG. 1 when the latch has been rotated with enlarged finger l3 raised to close slot 22 in which a mooring line is received. The forward surface of latch member 12 is also grooved and which grooved surface extends into notch 22 in the housing member for contact with a mooring line directed into the slot. Observing first FIG. 2, as a mooring line is directed into slot 22 and is forced against a grooved surface 25 of latch 12, it forces the latch to rotate until notch 24 is aligned with pin 26 which, being biased, is then urged into the notch. In this position, as shown in FIG. 1, latch 12 is then locked with enlarged finger 13 closing notch 22 in which a mooring line will then be located and secured until latch 12 is unlocked by retracting pin 26. Because of the cam surface 15 and with the end of pin 26 being urged thereagainst by spring 36, a pressure is required against grooved surface 25 to force latch 15 to pivot against the force of the biased pin. Thus, once the latch is unlocked and pin 26 lies against the cam surface, the latch is forced to the full unlocked position shown in FIG. 2. This also prevents the latch from moving to the locked position until positive pressure is exerted against grooved surface 25 of the latch sufficient to overcome the bias of spring 36.
Observing also FIG. 3, the device is secured to a boat bow by sleeve 30. Thus, a shaft or hole will be bored through the boat bow and sleeve secured therein by any convenient means such as a nut 37 threadedly engaging sleeve 30. The sleeve is threadedly engaged with the housing member of the device and turned until surface 48 snugly abuts against the bow. For this purpose, the upper portion 16 of the housing member can be V-cut along surface 48 as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 so as to conform to the shape of the bow along the abutting surfaces. Additional securing means such as screws or bolts extending through the housing member into the bow may also be used as desired and which does not affect the operation of the device. In addition, brackets or other securing members attached to the boat and housing member may also be utilized but are generally not required. After securing the housing member on the bow, nut 37 is tightened snugly against the interior bow surface. It will be understood that sleeve 30 is of a length sufficient to extend through the bow with sufficient threads exposed on the interior end to secure nut 37 and cap 38. When the device is installed, wire 34 may be extended conveniently through the boat utilizing blocks or eyelet types of guide members and with the opposite end of the wire terminating at a handle or the like conveniently located for being pulled by the operator.
Now observing FIGS. 1-3, for operation of the device, a mooring line 46 is stretched between cleats 44 and 45 secured to a dock across a boat slip. The mooring line, usually a rope, need not be taut and preferably has some slack so that it will be approximately 12 to 18 and preferably about 14 to 16 inches above the water line at its lowest point, it being understood that the dock surfaces are normally about 2 feet above the water line. When entering a boat slip, the operator need only make sure that the device is in the unlocked position by simply pulling knob 52 which is attached to the end of wire 34, and conveniently located in the cockpit, for example, at the console as shown in FIG.
3 or other suitable location. As the boat is driven forwardly in the slip, mooring line 46 will be first contacted by surface 17 or 19 whereupon continued forward movement will direct it into notch 22 and against grooved latch surface 25. As the forward momentum of the boat continues, pressure of the mooring line against the latch will cause it to rotate on rod 20 whereby enlarged finger portion 13 will be directed upwardly so as to close off slot 22 as shown in FIG. 1 and at which position notch 24 will be aligned with locking pin 26. Since thelocking pin is biased toward the latch, the pin will become seated in notch 24 as shown in FIG. 1 and the latch will be in the locked position and the boat automatically secured to the mooring line. The operator may then secure bow and stern lines. Understanding the above disclosed operation of the device, it will be appreciated that the operator can automatically secure the mooring line to the bow without requiring assistance on the dock while the boat is moving in the slip. Moreover, where the mooring line is fastened sufficiently away from the end of the dock, there is no danger that the boat bow can become inadvertently bumped against the dock since the mooring line will limit the forward movement of the boat when it is secured in the docking device.
When it is desired to launch the boat, with the boat being in position shown in FIG. 3 and a mooring line extending and secured in notch 22 with the latch locked as shown in FIG. 1, the operator simply pulls on the end of wire or cord 34 thereby retracting pin 26 from notch 24. With the boat located somewhat away from the dock end so that the mooring line 46 is not pressed or urged against grooved surface 25 of the latch, when pin 26 is retracted, finger 13 will fall downwardly as the latch begins to rotate. This will occur since the pin will be fully retracted by the operator pulling on wire 34. Release of the wire will then drop the pin on the cam surface 15 of the latch and the latter will be rotated to the fully unlocked position of FIG. 2 due to pin pressure against the decreasing radius cam surface. Concomitantly, the mooring line will be urged out of slot 22. With the mooring line no longer secured the boat can then be moved out of the slip. Thus, prior to launch, the boat operator can release bow and stem docking lines while the boat is still maintained in position in the slip with mooring line 46 secured in the docking device. When the operator is then ready to launch the boat from the slip, he simply pulls the wire or cord 34 thereby unlocking the device.
Another embodiment of the invention is shown in FIG. 4 in which a boat bow has been modified and formed for mounting latch 12 in cavity 40. Thus, the bow itself forms the housing member with sleeve 30 mounted through an orifice in the bow and secured with nut 37, the other numbered components being the same as those referred to in FIGS. 1-3. Since there is no lower housing member portion for picking up and guiding a mooring line into slot 22, the upper bow surface 51 will serve that function. Moreover, the device can be used to secure a boat to a trailer with a rope secured on the trailer and the device operated for docking or launching. These as well as other embodiments and modifications within the purview of the invention will be understood by those skilled in the art.
1. A boat docking device for being mounted on a boat bow comprising:
a housing member having an upper and lower portion each having a forward surface slanting inwardly to a slot for receiving a mooring line;
a locking member pivotally mounted in said housing member between a locked and unlocked position having a finger portion at one end thereof for closing said slot in a locked position, a surface exposed in said slot in an unlocked position, said locking member pivoting to a locked position when pressure is exerted against said exposed surface in the direction of said bow and to an unlocked position when pressure is exerted against said finger in the direction away from said bow;
a locking notch on said locking member;
a retractable biased pin extending into said housing member, urged against said locking member and received in said notch when said locking member is in a locked position; and
means for retracting said pin from said notch.
2. The device of claim 1 wherein said locking member is mounted so as to gravitationally pivot to the unlocked position when said pin is retracted from said notch.
3. The device of claim 2 wherein said locking member is pivotally mounted with the pivot axis below said slot and wherein said finger portion is enlarged, disposed forwardly of said pivot, extends upwardly to close said slot in the locked position, and falls gravitationally to open said slot when said pin is retracted from said notch.
4. The device of claim 1 wherein said locking member surface exposed in said slot in the unlocked position is grooved for receiving said mooring line.
5. The device of claim 1 whereby said lower housing member portion comprises an arm extending outwardly from the boat bow and at an angle of between about 70 and about 110 relative thereto.
6. The device of claim 5 wherein said upper portion has a forward surface slanting downwardly and in wardly to said slot and said lower portion has a forward surface slanting upwardly and inwardly to said slot whereby a mooring line urged against said surfaces is directed into said slot.
7. The device of claim 1 including a spring for biasing said pin.
8. The device of claim 7 including a sleeve member in which said pin is slidably received, said sleeve member being secured to said housing member.
9. The device of claim 8 wherein said housing member includes a cavity in which said locking member is received and a bore hole communicating with said cavity and exteriorly of said housing member and through which said pin extends.
10. The device of claim 8 wherein said spring is disposed in said sleeve and whereby said device includes means for adjusting the compression of said spring.
11. The device of claim 10 wherein said adjusting means comprises a cap threadedly engaging said sleeve, said spring being disposed between said pin and said cap whereby said spring compression is adjusted by turning said cap.
12. The device of claim 8 wherein said pin retracting means comprises a cord secured to said pin and extending therefrom to a location on said boat for remotely unlocking said device.
13. In combination, a boat having a slanted bow and the device of claim 12 the upper portion of said housing member being secured on said bow with said sleeve member being mounted through said bow.
14. A boat bow having a slotted cavity therein, a locking member pivotally mounted in said cavity between a locked and unlocked position and having a finger portion at one end thereof for closing said slot in a locked position and a locking notch, said locking member having a surface exposed in said slot in an unlocked position and pivoting to a locked position when pressure is exerted against said exposed surface in the direction of said bow, and pivoting to an unlocked position when pressure is exerted against said finger in the direction away from said bow, a retractable biased pin extending in said housing member urged against said locking member and received in said notch when said locking member is in a locked position, and means for retracting said pin from said notch.