Marine safety systems



Sept. 2 1 7 c. A. MNSL W 3,340,842 MARINE SAFETY SYSTEMS Filed April 6, 1966 1 T lulullum I llllllllllll INVENTOR. Mwm United States Patent ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A plurality of inflatable balloons which automatically are inflated upon the sinking of a vessel or a fire starting in the vessel. Check valves are employed in each connection to the balloons so that the balloons stay inflated. The present invention relates to a safety system for boats, ships, airplanes, helicopters, etc. and practically any types of small boats that would be used for conveying passengers over water. In fact, it can be used for any type of boat, ship, hydroplane or even airplanes used for transportation means subject to the hazards of fire, or sinking, explosion or a combination of any, whichever the case may be. The principal object of the invention is safety at sea from the principal hazards which are quite common with all types of boats, ships, hydroplanes etc., that is, the possibility of sinking, possibility of fire and combination of fire and sinking. .An explosive gas detector may be included in the automatic switch circuit which causes the system to operate. The present invention positively prevents the sinking of any vessel on which the invention is installed. It also prevents fire in combination with or separately from the prevention of sinking of the vessel. It can be operated automatically or manually whichever method is best suited for the occasion of the fire or sinking hazard. Another important feature of the invention is that in case of collision for instance, wherein a fire is started, the vessel is still protected against both sinking and fire by same fluid and mechanical means which are operated either manually or by an undue increase in temperature within the vessel or from excess water or explosive gas in the bilge of said vessel. Another important feature of the invention is that it is completely automatic and foolproof even if no one was aboard the ship or boat, etc., when fire occurred or sinking was possible. The invention automatically operates to prevent either a fire or sinking or both from any cause whatsoever. In operation a conventional high pressure vessel or. tank is provided to contain carbon dioxide gas under relatively high pressure and mounted in a convenient storage space such as in the bow of the boat or other convenient storage space. An electrically operated valve and a manually operated valve are provided on the outlet of the tank under pressure, In the event that either or both of these valves are opened, gas under pressure is liberated from a pressure release valve and to a pressure regulating valve wherein the high pressure gas from the tank is reduced, for instance, to a relatively low pressure such as 2 to 5 lbs. used to inflate a multiplicity of plastic bags or balloons strategically located up under the deck, cowling or other convenient place not used or occupied for other purposes. This multiplicity of plastic bags when not inflated are understood to be rolled up in a relatively small neat package with each bag neck attached to a pipe line under pressure from the gas tank. In operation gas is passed through a pressure operated check valve .which maintains a low pressure on the balloons after they are completely inflated and which is governed by the pressure released by the pressure regulating 3,340,842 Patented Sept. 12, 1967 valve at the outlet of the before mentioned CO storage tank under relatively high pressure. As the balloons are blown up they naturally occupy a considerable space under the deck of the boat, ship, etc. and provide floating means equal to about 62 lbs. per cubic foot of balloon capacity for support to the vessel to which the invention is attached. In other words, the float means is equal to a lift of approximately 62 lbs. per cubic foot as provided by the inflated plastic balloons. The float valve in the bilge is governed by the amount of water in the bilge and provides an automatic switch means to operate the device when the bilge water reaches a predetermined level from any cause whatsoever. Thus it is understood that an automatic means is provided for preventing a vessel from sinking by simply supporting it with enough flotation to prevent it sinking from any cause. Another important feature of the invention is that even though the flotation device is operated manually or otherwise automatically, all of the balloons are properly inflated (for instance to 2 lbs. pressure). Instantly the boat is supported by the balloons when the water in the hull is up to the level of the inflated balloons. Thus a primary safety feature is provided wherein the boats hull may be punctured and swamped but it cannot sink. In this case should a fire break out in the swamped boat, excess temperature in any compartment in which a thermostatic switch or switches are installed provides a third means of inflating the balloons if they were not already inflated by the manual or float switch, therefore a third means is provided wherein the thermostatic switch takes over to insure that the balloons are properly inflated and that any temperature that might be generated in the hull in any compartment above the melting point of the balloons will cause the balloons to break and liberate carbon dioxide gas into that particular compartment where the melted balloon is installed. After the balloons surface has been melted and the CO gas is liberated, additional CO gas is continually provided in this particular hot compartment for the reason that the check valve in the outlet fitting to the balloons is operated by the released gas from a pressure regulator valve and a continuous stream of carbon monoxide gas is thus provided in that or any other compartment in which the balloons have been melted or the surface been ruptured thus liberating the CO gas into the excessively heated spot in the hull, thus conserving and concentrating the CO gas on the fire zone only. Thus a positive fire protection means is insured in addition to the positive nonsinking means and therefore providing a triple safety means against sinking and against fire by the same novel invention. As an example, of possible use in the saving of lives, -the invention could be applied to any Navy type small boat, landing craft, helicopter etc. to which might be subject to the hazard of gun fire. The small craft to which the invention is attached would be prevented not only from sinking and also from burning due to a punctured hull or fuel tank. A most important feature is that the device would operate automatically without any human attention whatsoever. In other words, the float valve in the bilges could by electric current means turn on the pressure or a hot spot in the boat would also by electrically operated valve means turn on the pressure which would liberate gas to a pipe line through a check valve and first blow up all of the balloons stowed up under the deck which would prevent the vessel from sinking, also any punctured or melted balloon under the deck would liberate and concentrate CO gas to put out a fire in that particular compartment or any part of the boat. Referring to the figures in the drawings, FIGURE 1 is a plan or top view of a conventional boat in which the invention is installed, indicating the high pressure vessel in the bow connected with a pipe line completely encircling the entire inside of the hull and indicating automatic and manually operated control means on the gas tank. An extra balloon is shown in the engine compartment and a theromstatic switch which would automatically operate to put out a fire in the hazardous engine compartment from any cause. FIGURE 2 shows a section through a conventional hull indicating the pressure vessel in the bow and a multiplicity of balloons located throughout the hull and also a manual and thermostatic switch conveniently located in the cabin in reach of the operator. It also shows the float switch in the bilge which would automatically operate it to put the system into operation if for some reason the vessel took on enough water to operate the said float switch whether or not the operator of the vessel knew that the water was at a dangerous level within the hull. FIGURE 3 is a partly sectional view of the hull indicating the engine compartment and the location of the thermostatic switch in the engine compartment and the balloon which would be operated to liberate CO gas in case of fire. FIGURE 4 illustrates the CO high pressure tank connected with both a manually operated outlet valve and an electrically operated outlet valve to a pressure regulating valve with an outlet to a pipe line connecting all of the balloons in parallel to the pipe line outlet then through check valves which permit air under a governed low pressure to escape into the balloons and to retain and hold what the balloons have received even in the event of complete exhaustion of the high pressure CO tank from use, accident etc. In other words, the balloons under the charged low pressure remain charged unless they are punctured by the heat or accident in which case they liberate the CO into the compartment into which they are placed which prevents or extinguishes a fire, otherwise they are simply floats to hold up the hull in case it should fill with water or any other reason that could cause it to sink. Referring to the details of the drawings; FIGURE 1 is a top view of a boat equipped with the invention wherein indicates a pressure vessel in the form of a conventional high pressure CO tank commercially available where ever fire prevention equipment is handled. 11 indicates a pipe line which at predetermined intervals has a T and special outlet check valve 30, 32, FIGURE 4, connected to a multiplicity of balloons at 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17, etc. in FIGURES 1, 2 and 3. A float operated valve 20 in FIGURES l and 2 is provided in the lower most part of the bilge and connected to the electrically operated valve 21 on the top of the tank 10. A manually operated pull 22 in FIGURES 1 and 2 with a cord 9 is provided to operate the lever 23 which in turn opens the valve in housing 24, FIGURE 4 thus permitting high pressure CO gas to escape through the outlet 25, FIGURE 4 and enter pressure regulating valve 29 where the pressure is reduced and sent through the outlet pipe 11, to which a series of balloons 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 33 and 34 etc. are connected through the previously mentioned special check 30 and 32, FIGURE 4 and outlet valve fitting 24, described later in the description of FIGURE 4. Thermostatic valves 26, for operation of the device are also provided so that an electric circuit can be closed at any of the thermostatic control valve locations 26 or the circuit can be also closed by the combination push button and thermostatic control devices indicated at 27, the outlet valve in the housing 24, will permit carbon dioxide gas under relatively high pressure to enter the pressure regulating valve 29 and at relatively low pressure charge the system which includes all of the floatation balloons around the strategic locations which are understood to be made out of very tough plastic that will stand many times the normal working pressure and on the other hand are sensitive to temperature beyond the normal limit that may be safely found in the boat. If ruptured they in turn operate to automatically release carbon dioxide where ever the temperature above a certain limit is encountered. Referring to FIGURE 2, similar reference characters are used in description of FIGURE 1. The operation of the device is therefore similar. The location of the thermostatic float or button switches, float balloons etc. can be arranged to suit any particular construction, size and shape of the hull to which they are applied. The same is true of FIGURE 3 wherein the pressure, temperature sensitive units are shown as a combination temperature and press switch manually operated at 27 and a temperature operated switch on the electric circuit 26 is shown in the engine compartment and also the balloon 15 in which the charged carbon dioxide gas is stored in the event of an emergency and liberated if excess temperature develops in that compartment. Referring to FIGURE 4, the tank 10 under pressure can be recharged when empty as indicated by the refill button 28 on which case the tank 10 is unscrewed from the valve housing 24 and simply replaced or recharged whichever is more convenient. In operation when the gas is liberated from the pressure regulating valve 29 and delivered through outlet pipe 11 to special fitting 30 through spring pressed ball 32 and into the neck of the balloon 33 which in normal disuse is compressed into a small compact roll and when blown up with pressure is as indicated at 34. The size of the balloon is dependent on the size of the vessel in which the equipment is installed and the number of balloons is in proportion to the load they must sustain. A rough figure of the ability to support the vessel, is that each cubic foot of gas space in the expanded balloons will displace one cubic foot of water which weighs approximately 62 /2 pounds, therefore each cubic foot of balloon occupied space will support the weight of the vessel to the extent of the water weight which the balloons displace. The other purpose of the balloon as previously explained is that it contains a fire extinguishing material, carbon monoxide gas and if the temperature is hot enough to melt the balloon, the carbon monoxide gas is liberated into the compartment previously occupied by the balloon under pressure and a continuous supply is also maintained through the ball check 32 into the broken balloon and then into the hot compartment which is supplied with carbon dioxide gas to quench the fire that heated the balloon to its explosion or bursting point. It is to be further understood that the plastic balloons are replaceable by simply removing a screw from the clamp 35 which clamps the neck of the balloon onto the fitting 31 and maintains it securely until replaced or removed for deflation purposes etc. In further explanation of the above statements it is to be understood that the balloons are made of very strong plastic or other suitable material that can be replaced or deflated for reuse whichever seems most appropriate in the matter of continued use of balloons that have been charged. It is only necessary as previously stated to remove a single clamp screw and pull the balloon off, roll it back to its original roll form and replace it on the fitting 31. After a certain length of time it may be that the Coast Guard or insurance companies may require replacement of the balloons and therefore it is only necessary to remove the screw from the clamp 35, slip off the balloon and slip on new ones for continued use. Other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent from a further study of the drawings and detailed description of the preferred embodiment as selected to illustrate the invention. It is to be understood therefore, that various changes and modifications may be made in this invention without departing from the spirit, intent and scope of the invention which consists primarily of dual safety means. First, consideration is the vessel on which the invention is installed cannot be sunk, if the device is properly installed and in proportion to the size and Weight of the hull; second, the vessel cannot be burned because any abnormal temperature within the vessel wherein the device is properly installed will liberate carbon monoxide gas into that particular hot spot in the hull where the temperature is above the balloon melting temperature. Also operation will not waste carbon dioxide gas in other parts of the hull that do not require it. If operation of the invention is caused by an explosive gas detection system the invention will provide a trapped barrier of low pressure fire-prevention as to prevent or cushion any dangerous gas explosion. Further safety is provided by manually charging the balloons which prevent the vessel from burning or sinking regardless of any other consideration. What I claim is: 1. A safety system for vessels, aircraft etc., comprising a primary high pressure gas storage tank containing pressurized fire extinguishing gas, a shut off valve on the outlet of said storage tank, the outlet of said valve connected by pipe lines to the inlet of a pressure reducing valve, the outlet of said pressure reducing valve connected by pipe line to a pipe line manifold located within the hull or structure of said vessel or aircraft, said pipe line manifold being provided with a multiplicity of spring pressed outlet check valves, said check valve outlets being provided with normally compressed expandable plastic balloons, a manual and automatically operated means being provided to cause said shut off valve on the outlet of said primary high pressure gas storage tank to open and provide, through the pressure reducing valve a low pressure gas to safely inflate said flexible expandable balloons. 2. Claim 1, including, said flexible expandable balloons comprising emergency means of safe floatation for vessels or aircraft when expanded. 3. Claim 1, including, said expandable flexible balloons comprising a fire prevention means when the exterior of said gas filled expandable plastic balloons are caused to rupture by abnormal temperature. 4. Claim 1, wherein, when said shutoff valve on the outlet of said primary high pressure gas storage tank is caused to open, two volumes of gas under pressure are provided and impounded, one at lower pressure in said balloons and one at higher pressure in said primary gas storage tan-k. 5. Claim 1, wherein, when said safety system is in operation and when said valve on the outlet of said high pressure storage tank is open, all of said manifolded spring pressed, pressure opened check valves cause all intact balloons to remain fully charged even though some of said balloons have been used for fire protection and are broken or burned. 6. Claim 1, wherein, when said safety system is in operation and said outlet valve on said high pressure gas storage tank is in open position said high pressure gas is reduced to low pressure gas for safe inflation of said expandable flexible balloons, provided for emergency floatation purposes. 7. Claim 1, including, a temperature controlled means to cause said fire extinguishing means to operate. 8. Claim 1, including, a water level operated electric switch means to cause said safety system to operate. 9. Claim 1, including a temperature controlled electric switch means to cause said safety system to operate. 10. Claim 1, including, a manually operated means for causing said safety system to operate. References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,320,012 10/1919 Lee et a1. 114-68 2,403,806 7/ 1946 Langdon 114-6-8 2,924,192 2/ 1960 Salvage 114-68 3,019,754 2/ 1962 Welshausen 11468 X 3,092,853 6/1963 Owen 144-68 MILTON BUCHLER, Primary Examiner. T. M. BLIX, Assistant Examiner.



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    EP-2045182-A2April 08, 2009Jörg HeinermannFluidverdrängungskörper für ein Notschwimmwerk eines Wasserahrzeugs
    JP-S50120197-UOctober 01, 1975
    US-2004040489-A1March 04, 2004Martin Calford S.Combination boat and distressed boat flotation apparatus and related methods
    US-2008141917-A1June 19, 2008Van Derryt Steven PEmergency buoyancy system
    US-2008257248-A1October 23, 2008Save-A-Life, Inc.Portable Emergency Floatation System For a Vessel
    US-2009078183-A1March 26, 2009Joerg HeinermannFluid displacement body for emergency floatation of marine craft
    US-3834337-ASeptember 10, 1974Europ PropulsionSubmarine reservoirs
    US-4458618-AJuly 10, 1984Rosa Tuffier nee BoubisSafety device for rendering a boat unsinkable
    US-4887541-ADecember 19, 1989Rodemann Will BDeployable flotation device
    US-5150662-ASeptember 29, 1992Boyd James A, Dan MelansonSnowmobile flotation system
    US-6070546-AJune 06, 2000Downey; Hugh, Polon; Jay, Morrison; Max E.Snowmobile flotation device
    US-6431108-B1August 13, 2002Vicente Lopez-Perea Lloveres, GOMEZ PORTELA CéSARSystem for keeping afloat any type of boat in case of a leak
    US-6550415-B2April 22, 2003Vicente Lopez-Perea Lloveres, Portela Cesar GomezSystem to keep any type of vessel afloat in case of a leak
    US-6612256-B1September 02, 2003Calford S. MartinCombination boat and distressed boat flotation apparatus and related methods
    US-7412939-B2August 19, 2008Lockheed Martin CorporationEmergency buoyancy system
    WO-9117915-A1November 28, 1991Bruce Mervyn WebsterAppareil de flottaison