US 3827387 A
Presented is a boat construction for use primarily in amusement parks where patrons pay a prescribed fee and operate the boat for a limited time. The boat hull is generally cylindrical in its configuration, is equipped with propulsion means activated by the concenssionaire, and steering means controlled by a passenger or patron occupying the boat.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Unite States Patent 1 organ 1 1 Aug. 6, 1974 BOAT CONSTRUCTION FOR AMUSEMENT PARK USE  Inventor: Edgar A. Morgan, Palo Alto, Calif.
 Assignee: Arrow Development Co., Inc.,
Mountain View, Calif.
 Filed: May 22, 1972  Appl. No.: 255,382
 11.8. C1 114/219, 9/1 A, 115/12 R,
46/93, 293/60  Int. Cl B63b 21/04  Field of Search 9/1 A, 1 R, 6; 114/63,
 I References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,195,857 8/1916 Royston 114/219 1,294,081 2/1919 Gasiorowski 114/219 1,514,961 11/1924 Goldman 9/1 A 1,731,492 10/1929 Haase 114/219 Maynes 272/32 2,578,291 12/1951 Dickson, Jr 114/219 2,753,829 7/1956 Agra 114/219 3,543,314 12/1970 Tropf et a1 9/6 3,623,447 11/1971 Jacobson 115/12 R FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 628,114 3/1936 Germany 293/70 549,025 6/1956 Belgium 9/1 A 1,027,385 4/1966 Great Britain 9/1 A Primary Examiner-Trygve M. Blix Assistant Examiner-Edward R. Kazenske Attorney, Agent, or FirmLimbach, Limbach & Sutton [5 7] ABSTRACT Presented is a boat construction for use primarily in amusement parks where patrons pay a prescribed fee and operate the boat for a limited time. The boat hull is generally cylindrical in its configuration, is equipped with propulsion means activated by the concenssionaire, and steering means controlled by a passenger or patron occupying the boat.
3 Claims, 9 Drawing Figures PAIENIEB ms BIBH SHEEY 1 0F 4 FIG. i-
PAIENTEnmc sum SHEEI 3 BF 4 PAIENTEUMJB emu SHEET B (If 4 BOAT CONSTRUCTION FOR AMUSEMENT PARK USE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The boat structure of the invention is designed for use in an amusement park environment, where it is adapted to float on a shallow body of water along with other similar boats, and capable of being guided by a patron for a limited time, for the privilege of which he has paid a fee. It is important in these type amusement devices to provide as much safety as possible so that the patrons will not hurt themselves in the operation of the boats. Accordingly, it is one of the objects of the invention to provide a boat hull designed to be substantially incapable of being capsized.
One of the thrills of operating amusement park boats of this type is to initiate collisions with other similar boats within a relatively confined pool. Boats of this type are designed to operate up to 3 or 4 miles per hour maximum speed. It will thus be seen that maximum impact force between two colliding boats is secured when two such boats meet headon at maximum speed. Accordingly, it is another object of the invention to provide unique shock absorbing bumper means in conjunction with a boat hull which gives consideration to this maximum impact force and also to the desirable characteristic of low weight.
It has been found to be most economical to operate boats of this nature with a self-contained internal combustion power unit, conveniently fueled with gasoline. Such power units must of course exhaust products of combustion, and because gasoline is present in the immediate vicinity of the power unit, fumes from fuel are apt to be ignited by sparks, thus creating a safety hazard if means are not provided for obviating this hazard, or are otherwise objectionable to the passengers in the boat. Accordingly, it is still another object of the invention to provide a boat hull incorporating means for ventilating the engine compartment of the boat in such a manner as to draw fumes away from the passenger compartment, blow exhaust fumes in a direction opposite to the direction of travel of the boat, and wash away any spilled gasoline so as to minimize the likelihood of ignition of spilled gasoline.
Boats used in connection with water rides in amusement parks tend to be unstable during the loading and unloading process if the boat is permitting to float free in the water. Accordingly, it is a still further object of the invention to provide a boat construction having a relatively flat bottom adapted to be supported on a loading platen so as to stabilize the boat during the loading and unloading process for greater safety.
In many conventional boat structures, the power plant is situated within the boat itself, within the confines of the passenger compartment of the boat hull. Such an arrangement does not provide the margin of safety desirable in an amusement park boat designed specifically for intended collisions with other boats, and in which most of the passengers will probably be inexperienced in the handling of a boat. Accordingly, another object of the invention is to provide a boat structure having a separately sealed engine compartment for the power unit, the engine compartment being generally inaccessible to passengers within the boat.
In an amusement park boat ride in which the propulsion means constitutes an internal combustion engine,
the exhaust gases must be discharged so as to preclude the possibility of burns to occupants of the boat and to the occupants of other boats. Accordingly, it is a still further object of the invention to provide a boat hull and power unit assembly in which the hot products of combustion from the internal combustion engine are discharged into a cooling system of air at a level just above the waterline so as to preclude the possibility of burns from hot gases. 7
While it is an advantage to isolate the engine compartment from the passenger compartment, internal combustion engines require a considerable amount of air for efficient operation. These engines however are not designed for operation when flooded with water. Since colliding boats tend to splash considerable water, it is necessary to provide a ventilation system for the engine compartment which will admit air but which minimized the amount of water admitted to the engine compartment. Accordingly, it is still another object to provide such a ventilation system, and to provide adequate drain means within the compartment to drain off any water that does splash into the compartment.
The invention possess other objects and features of advantage, some of which, with the foregoing, will be apparent from the following description and the drawings. It is to be understood however that the invention is not limited to the embodiment illustrated and described, since it may be embodied in various forms within the scope of the appended claims.
BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION ing in its bottom so as to prevent the retention of flammable fumes or spilled gasoline within the engine compartment. Mounted within the engine compartment is a power unit comprising an internal combustion engine having a generally vertically extending drive shaft equipped at one end with an impeller adapted to be submerged in the water and when driven adapted to draw water through a propulsion housing and discharge it in a selected direction so as to propel the boat through the water. Also mounted on the drive shaft is an appropriate fan adapted to draw air from around the passenger compartment, through the engine compartment and discharge it into a housing having a discharge port for air which discharges into the turbulent splash area above the propulsion water being discharged from the propulsion housing. Means are also provided accessible to occupants of the boat for steering the boat in a'selected direction.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is an overhead perspective view of the boat illustrating the ventilation ports for drawing air from around the passenger compartment and directing it through the engine compartment.
FIG. 2 is an overhead rear perspective view of the boat, illustrating the sealed cowl for covering the engine compartment.
FIG. 3 is a bottom plan view illustrating the flat generally circular bottom of the boat and the propulsion unit projecting from the engine compartment.
FIG. 4 is a right side elevational view of the boat.
FIG. 5 is an overhead rear perspective view of the boat showing the engine compartment cowl open to expose the power unit therewithin.
FIG. 6 is a fragmentary exploded view in perspective illustrating the hull in relation to the shock-absorbing bumpers, and the engine compartment in relation to the engine.
FIG. 7 is a schematic view illustrating the relationship between bumper strips when in assembled form, but shown apart from the boat hull.
FIG. 8 is a fragmentary sectional view through the hull and bumper at the forward end of the boat.
FIG. 9 is a fragmentary perspective illustrating the design of the engine compartment floor and the well formed therein to receive the propulsion unit.
DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT In terms of greater detail, the amusement park boat of the invention comprises a generally cylindrical body designated generally by the numeral 2, and including a watertight hull portion 3 having a bottom 4 and sidewalls 6. As illustrated best in FIGS. 3 and 4, the bottom of the watertight hull is generally flat and circular in configuration, the sides 6 being generally perpendicular to provide a cylindrical configuration as shown in FIGS. 5 and 6. To facilitate passage of the boat through the water in a forward direction, a portion 7 of the boat bottom is slanted toward and forward periphery of the watertight hull so that the draft of the hull at its forward periphery is diminished.
To accommodate means for propelling the boat through the water, which will be explained in greater detail hereafter, the bottom of the hull is also provided with a recess or well 8 open at its bottom end coincident with the bottom 4 of the hull, and defined by vertically extending wall portins 9 and 9 which are parallel for a portion of their length extending generally toward the center of the boat bottom, where they are intercepted by a rear wall 10. The upper end of the well is partially closed by the bottom wall 12 of the engine compartment designated generally by the numeral 13. The hull thus formed is preferably fabricated in one integral unit from an appropriate tough synthetic resinous material, conveniently reinforced with fibreglass.
Mounted on the hull, is a superstructure formed from a second shell designated generally by the numeral 14, and including a side-wall portion 16, generally formed in the shape of a truncated cone, the large base of the cone being integrally united with the upper end 17 of the hull. The superstructure is formed to provide a passenger compartment 18 having a back wall 19 extending generally diametrically across the shell, the upper edge of the back wall merging smoothly with the side wall 16, to form an enclosure constituting the engine compartment 13. Formed in the upper edge of the forward wall 22 of the passenger compartment is a slot 23 through which projects -a steering lever 24, which the occupant of the boat may manipulate to selectively steer the boat. Moving the lever to the left causes the boat to move to the left, and moving the lever to the right causes the boat to move to the right. Centering the lever results in the boat going straight forward.
To give access to the engine compartment, the shell 14 is provided with an opening 26, normally covered by a hinged cowl 27, the hinges 28 being positioned adjacent the top edge of the back wall, while the lower edge of the cowl is positioned adjacent the union of the upper shell 14 and the hull 3, this arrangement being beneficial in that gravity helps to retain the cowl in a closed and sealed condition, and places the finger recess 29 for opening the cowl beyond the reach of the occupants of the boat, thus precluding the possibility of tampering with the power unit while it is being operated. This arrangement of the cowl is also beneficial in that it provides a water shed over the opening 26 into the engine compartment, insuring that water splashed up on the back of the boat will not enter the engine compartment.
Formed in the superstructure adjacent the rear wall of the passenger compartment are forwardly facing vent openings 31, 32 and 33, it being seen that the opening 32, forms the forward end of an access door 34 hinged to the cowl over an opening 36 therein. The access door is opened by an attendant to start the engine. The forward edge of the door forms a frame for the vent opening 32, thus permitting air from around the passenger compartment to pass down through the engine compartment, thus scavanging any fumes from fuel and any products of combustion from the engine compartment and discharging them into the well 8 formed in the bottom of the boat as will hereinafter be explained. A baffle 36 is mounted on the inside of the door 34 over the vent opening 32 to prevent flash-back of fire through the vent if fumes or gasoline are ignited. The vent opening 31 opens into the engine compartment above the gasoline tank 37, and it has been found that a small amount of water splashing through this vent is beneficial in that it washes down over the gasoline tank and washes away any residual traces of gasoline that might otherwise collect on the bottom wall 12 of the engine compartment.
Referring to FIG. 9 it will there be seen that the bottom 12 of the engine compartment is apertured by and is coincident with the upper end of well 8, the back wall 10 of which is seen to slant downwardly and rearwardly toward the rear perihery of the boat hull. Side walls 9 and 9' are flared as at 38, and merge with bottom wall 12, which is provided on the right side of the compartment with integral beads 39 and 41 between which the gasoline tank is confined, as shown in FIG. 5. Space 42 between the beads and at the edge of the well 8 is provided to permit spilled gasoline, if any, to be washed into the well by water that might splash through the vent opening 31. At the other side of the boat, the vent 33 is preferably baffled (not shown) interiorly of the shell 14 to prevent flash-back of fire or the washing of water over the engine.
Also mounted on the shell 14 are a pair of grab bars 43 for use by a passenger in entering and leaving the boat, and which function also as a means by which the boat may be hoisted out of or into the water or for shipment. It should be noted that one portion 44 of the grab bar is confined in a hollow 46 formed in the shell so as to provide lateral stability for the grab bar.
It will thus be seen-that because of the configuration of the hull, being substantially circular, and the placement of the seat structure in relation to the circular hull, the weight of the occupants is generally centered in relation to the hull, and is carried at a level close to the waterline, thus providing a low center of gravity for the boat when it is occupied, thus increasing the stability of the boat to the point where it is impossible to capsize during normal usage.
As indicated above, one of the thrills of operating a boat of this nature is to cause the boat to impact with other boats, thus jolting the unsuspecting occupants of the other boat, and causing the other boat to skid across the water and perhaps collide with a third boat. The possibility of such collisions enhances the fun of operation of the boat because it motivates the occupant of the boat to steer it in a manner to prevent or initiate such collisions, or recover from them. To insure that such impacts do not cause damage to the hull, the hull is provided with a plurality of laminated strips 47, 48, 49 and SI, superimposed one above the other as shown in FIGS. 5, 6, 7 and 8, and attached to the front end of the hull as shown in FIG. 6 to constitute a resilient bumper 52. The laminated strips are preferably fabricated from a closed-cell synthetic foam material and are arranged as shown so as to provide a relatively thick bumper section associated with the front end of the boat, which receives the greatest impact force, the lengths of the laminations being proportioned so that the outermost strip 51 is the longest and circumscribes the boat hull for its entire circumference. Successive laminations are shorter, and are adapted to lie within appropriate recesses 53 and 54 formed in the hull as shown in FIG. 6. As illustrated in FIG. 5, it is preferred that a fabric boot 56, formed by stitching appropriate portions together as at 57 and 58, be superimposed over the bumper, to prevent scuffing of the closed-cell foam and to enhance the appearance thereof.
Referring to FIGS. 5 and 6, it will there be seen that the engine compartment 13 completely houses a power unit designated generally by the numeral 61, and comprising an internal combustion engine 62 appropriately mounted on a bedplate 63, the bedplate being provided with a central opening through which the drive shaft (not shown) of the power unit may extend. Bolted to the bottom side of the bedplate is a two-compartment housing 64, the upper ventilation compartment 66 being defined by a bell housing 68 (FIG. 6) through which the drive shaft extends into the lower propulsion compartment 69. A fan 71, one blade of which is visible in FIG. 5, is mounted on the drive shaft in the ventilation compartment and is effective when rotated to draw air through the spaced and large apertures 72 formed in the bedplate to effect passage of air from the engine compartment 13 into the ventilation compartment 66, from whence the air is discharged rearwardly through a port 73 (FIG. 6). To effect this function, the fan is preferably a multi-blade fan mounted immediately below the bedplate, the angle of attack of the blades and the speed of rotation being such as to forcefully draw air through the apertures 72 in the bedplate so as to create a negative pressure within the engine compartment. Such negative pressure serves to draw air through the vent openings 31, 32 and 33 formed in the superstructure, thus causing the movement of fresh air through the engine compartment, in and around the engine for cooling purposes, and through the apertures 72 in the bedplate and into the ventilation compartment 66. It should be noted that discharge of air from the ventilation compartment is in a direction opposite to the direction of the movement of the boat.
The bottom portion of the housing 64 includes a propulsion-section 76 enclosing the propulsion compartment. A suitable wall between the ventilation compartment and propulsion compartment (not shown) serves to isolate the two compartments and form a journal for the drive shaft, the lower end of which extends into the propulsion compartment to be fitted with an impeller 77 (FIG. 3) adapted to be submerged within the water on which the boat is floating. Water is admitted to the propulsion compartment through the open end 78 of the housing 64.
The impeller is provided with a multiplicity of blades set to draw water into the lower portion of the housing and discharge it through the annular propulsion yoke 79 pivotally mounted in the propulsion port 81. For safety purposes, the opening associated with the impeller is provided with a hinged grate 82 so that even if a passenger falls from one of the boats into the water, he cannot be injured by the revolving impeller.
For guiding the boat, the propulsion port 81 formed in the bottom portion of the housing communicates with the propulsion compartment within which is mounted the impeller, and the propulsion yoke constitutes a pivotal sleeve connected by an appropriate operating lever 83 and cable (not shown) to the steering lever 24 pivoted in the top wall of the shell 14 and which is manipulated by one of the occupants of the boat for steering purposes.
It will thus be seen that once the power unit is activated, water is drawn by the impeller 77 into the lower portion of housing 64, and discharged through the propulsion port with considerable force. The reactive force generated by forceful discharge of the water constitutes the propulsive force applied to the hull, thus causing the hull to move through the water. At the same time, rotation of the air fan draws air from the engine compartment, reducing the pressure therein, and causing air to flow inwardly into the engine compartment through the ventilation ports adjacent the passenger compartment. It will thus be seen that the passengers are completely isolated from the power unit or any fumes or products of combustion that are generated by the power unit. In this respect, it should be noted that the exhaust pipe 84 associated with the internal combustion engine has its discharge end 86 positioned in the stream of air emunating from the discharge port 73 formed in the upper section of the housing unit 64.
To facilitate assembly of the power unit with the boat hull, the underside of the bedplate is provided at each corner with a downwardly depending rubber cone 87, each proportioned to snugly engage a complementary recess 88 formed in the bottom 12 of the engine compartment. After the engine is dropped in place as indicated in FIG. 6, the only connections that need be made is the supply hose 89 from the gasoline tank to the engine, and a cable between the lever 83 on the propulsion yoke and the steering lever 24.
A It has been found that because of the configuration of the boat and its low center of gravity, the boat may safely carry up to three adult occupants, permitting each of the occupants or any of them, to manipulate the steering lever and thus select the direction of movement of the boat in the water.
Having thus described the invention, what is claimed to be novel and sought to be protected by letters patent is as follows:
7 8 1. A boat construction for amusement park use cor-nshaped to receive its associated strip therein, prising: a superstructure mounted on said hull and cooperata substantially cylindrical shell constituting a hull, ing with said hull to define a passenger compartone peripheral portion of the hull constituting the ment and an engine compartment sealed one from front of the boat and a diametrically opposed porthe other, tion of the hull being formed to provide a well in an engine mounted in said engine compartment and its bottom and at the rear of the boat, including a propulsion unit extending into said well a bumper extending around the cylindrical surface of and effective to propel the boat through water supsaid hull, said bumper including an outermost strip porting said boat when said engine is activated, and of a resilient material extending once around said 0 hull and a plurality of resilient material strips posisteering means mounted on said superstructure and tioned interior of said outermost strip with each of selectively manipulable by occupants of the boat to said interior strips having a length shorter than its steer the boat in a selected direction. adjacent outer strip, said strips arranged with all of 2. The boat construction of claim 1 which additionsaid strips contributing to the thickness of the bumally comprises a fabric boot superimposed over said per at the front of the boat and only the outermost bumper.
strip contributing to the thickness of the bumper at 3. The boat construction of claim 1 wherein each of the rear of the boat, said strips is made of a closed-cell synthetic foam matesaid hull having one recess formed therein for each rial.
of said plurality of interior strips, each recess being