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Патент USA US3428984

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Feb. 25, 1969
R. A. JONES
3,428,977
SAFETY LATCH FOR A MESSENGER BUOY
Filed Aug. 29, 1967
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INVENTOR
ROBERT A. JONES
28
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BY
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1
1
United States Patent 0 'ice
3,428,977.
Patented Feb. 25, 1969
1
2
Summary
3,428,977
The general purpose of this invention is to provide a
messenger buoy which overcomes the aforesaid disadvan
tages of the prior art. To attain this, the present invention
SAFETY LATCH FOR A MESSENGER BUQY '
Robert Allen Jones, Hyattsville, Md, assignor to the
United States of America as represented by the Secre
tary of the Navy
Filed Aug. 29, 1967, Ser. No. 664,217
US. Cl. 9—8
.
5
4 Claims
Int. Cl. 1363b 21/52; B63c 11/26
ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE
A variable buoyancy messenger type buoy for recover
contemplates a buoy, which is initially neutrally buoyant
in sea water, which may be made positively buoyant by
varying the ballast when released at depth, which contains
its own messenger line and means for paying out the line
during its ascend to the surface of the sea, and which
10 provides a safety latch means attached to the portion of
the salvage system that remains upon the bottom of the
sea.
Accordingly, an object of the present invention is to
is taken down to the working depth by a diver. A lifting 15 provide a messenger buoy capable of being variably bal
lasted.
pad is attached to the sunken object. The buoy is then
Still another object is to provide a messenger buoy that
separated from the connector-plug, allowing the buoy
ing sunken objects. The buoy, being neutrally buoyant,
to ascend to the surface while paying out a messenger line.
may be variably ba'llasted to provide neutral buoyancy
when attached to various loads.
A further object is to provide a messenger buoy that
Background of the invention
20 may be rendered either neutrally or positively buoyant.
Yet another object is to provide a messenger buoy that
is easily handled by a diver.
The present invention relates generally to a safety latch
Still another object is to provide a safety latch that
for a buoy and more particularly to variable buoyancy
remains upon the bottom of the sea while the buoy as~
messenger type buoys which may be variably ballasted to 25 cends.
obtain neutral buoyancy to provide for easy handling by
Still a further object is to prevent accidental releasement
a diver at depth, and to obtain positive buoyancy for
of the buoy.
ascension to the surface, Variable ballasting may be ac
Other objects and features of the invention will become
complished by providing the buoy with a container for
apparent to those skilled in the art as the disclosure is
lead shot and a plug therefor.
made in the following detailed description of a preferred
Many varieties of such buoys have been suggested,
among them being types utilizing a deformable bladder
which is normally carried by a diver in a de?ated condi
tion and which may be ?lled with a gas, as from a high
embodiment of the invention as illustrated in the accom
panying sheet of drawing in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the messenger buoy and
pressure cartridge, and released on a messenger line 35 a “scuba” diver;
when desired by the diver. These have the obvious dis~
advantage in that the messenger line must be carried sep
arately from the buoy and the buoy will not support
much weight when submerged.
A still further disadvantage of the bladder type of
messenger buoy is that the amount of positive buoyancy
or lifting capability is inversely proportional to the releas
ing depth. That is, the greater the depth, the greater the
FIG. 2 is a perspective View, partly in section, of the
messenger buoy;
FIG. 3 is a side elevation view, partly in section, of
the safety latch means of FIG. 2; and
FIG. 4 is a side elevation of the buoy core of FIG. 2..
Referring now to the drawing, there is shown in FIG.
1 a messenger buoy 100 and a “scuba” diver 101. The
diver’s air hose 102 is shown in its natural, buoyant, out
wardly
extending, state. It is to be understood that while
static liquid pressure and the smaller the volume of liquid
displaced by the in?ated bladder, for a given pressure 45 the air hose 102 presents a readily apparent portion of the
diver’s equipment that may become entangled with the
cartridge. Other varieties of messenger buoys are known
buoy 100, other portions of the diver’s equipment are
which contain a coiled line within the buoy but these gen~
likewise ensnaringly dangerous to the diver.
erally are not capable of variable buoyancy.
The variable buoyancy messenger buoy has been suc
Salvaging of shipwrecks is attended with many prob
lerns, one of which is the attachment of lifting-pads which 50 cessfully tested at a depth of 200 feet. The buoy is ex—
pected to exceed a depth of 400 feet. At such depths it
may be done by either “hard-hat” or “scuba” divers.
becomes readily apparent that the diver must not ascend
Because fatigue to the diver occurs rapidly at the depths
with the rapidly ascending buoy.
involved, it is imperative to keep the man’s work-load
This is shown in FIG. 2 the messenger buoy 100 hav
as light as possible to prevent undue strain and permit
longer work-periods. It is therefore, desirable that tools 55 ing a hollow buoyant metal sphere 10 which may be ?lled
with air or, in the case of deep depth or high pressure
and other items that he is required to handle be neutrally
applications, it may be ?lled with gasoline or other low
buoyant. It is necessary, in particular with reference to
speci?c-gravity liquids.
messenger buoys, to have them neutrally buoyant while
Attached and sealed to the periphery of the sphere is
being handled around the submerged wreck, etc. by the
diver but also to be positively buoyant to permit it to 60 a compartment portion 11 having a ?rst hollow cone 14
truncated at both the top and the bottom. Attached sub
rise to the surface and pay out a messenger line while
jacent the ?rst truncated core is a second truncated hollow
rising. However, it is imperative that the diver not ascend
with the messenger buoy, especially by being accidentally
entangled with the buoy. Also, it is important that the
buoy be constructed to prevent accidental releasement of
the buoy from the lifting pad, to prevent the diver from
accidently ascending with the buoy. Such rapid ascension
cone 16 having a greater taper angle than the ?rst cone.
The bottom is open forming a narrow spout 18, the inner
surface of which is tapered upwardly and inwardly to
form a seat for the tapered section 22 of plug 20.
At the intersection of the ?rst and second truncated
cones, there is attached therein a drum or messenger line
could cause aeroembolism or the “bends” within the diver,
tub 32 which when ready for use will contain the messen
with fatal results. The prior art has not suggested a solu
70 ger line 34 attached at 33 to the tub and coiled in such
tion to the above problems.
3
8,428,977
a manner as to readily pay off the line from the center
4
merged wreck. The sphere 10 normally contains air, but
if deep depths are anticipated, the air may be replaced
of the coil. Attached subjacent the tub is a third hollow
truncated cone or line guide 36. It is to be understood
that the bottom of the line guide 36 and the bottom of
by a non-compressible, low speci?c-gravity ?uid such as
gasoline through a port (not shown). A length of mes
the second cone 16 are not attached.
senger line 34, depending on the depth anticipated, is
The space enclosed by the bottom of the tub 32, the
line guide 36, and the-second truncated cone 16 is a cham
coiled into the tub with the outer end secured to the tub
and the connector end Wound until the connector-plug
ber 38 which may be ?lled with steel or lead shot 40 or
20 may be placed in the spout 18 without any slack.
other particulate material heavier than water.
The safety-latch 52 is actuated to retain the connector
The connector-plug shown generally at 20 is multi
plug 26 in the cone 16 and thereby close the spout 18.
purpose. First, it provides for attachment between the l0 Now the spout 18 is closed, the plug 74 is removed and
buoy and a lifting pad. The cable 34 is connected to the
lead or steel shot is poured into the chamber 38. Sufficient
axial plug section 21, which is connected to the tapered
shot to render the messenger buoy neutrally buoyant is
section 22, which is connected to the shaft 23, which is
used, and the quantity depends on whether the buoy will
connected to the safety latch support 50, which is con 15 be handled by itself or with a lifting pad attached to the
pendant 28. The messenger buoy is now ready for deploy
nected to the shackle eye 26, which is connected to the
lift pendant 28, and which is connected to a lifting pad
ment. It may be lowered down a previously placed calbe
(not shown). Secondly, the tapered section 22, of the plug
20, effectively seals the spout 18 precluding the release
near the wreck or carried down with the diver. Because
the messenger buoy is neutrally buoyant, no impediment
of shot 40 from the shot chamber 38.
20 save inertia and water friction will occur, and the diver
may freely move it into place over the wreck to be sal
The connector-plug 20 is secured to the second trun
vaged using the handles 72 and make the attachment of
cated cone 16 by a safety-latch 52. The latch 52, as shown
in FIGS. 2 and 3, comprises locking pins 53, a spring 54
61 and a second elongated ?at ear 62. The ear 62 is at
the lift-pad. The diver may then pull, turn and pull the
safety-latch handles 56 and thereby disengage the con
nector-plug from the cone 16. It is to be noted that the
safety latch 52 necessitates that the diver use both hands
to release the buoy 100. Also, since the safety latch 52 is
located below the main portion of the buoy and since
the safety latch remains upon the bottom of the sea, the
tached, such as by welding, after the shaft 61 has passed
through the opening 63, since the ear is longitudinally
longer than the longitudinal opening 63. It is to be noted
danger of the ascending buoy ensnaring the diver is elim
inated. The shot 40 will spill out the spout 18, thereby
rendering the messenger buoy positively buoyant. The
that the longitudinal axes, of each ?at ear 60 and 62,
are 90 degrees offset relative to each other. This offset
necessitates, as will be more fully explained, the diver to
the messenger line 34.
pull outwardly on each handle, rotate each handle 90 de
grees, and additionally pull outwardly on each handle to
release the buoy 100.
hooked into the eye 12 and hoist it aboard. A female con_
nector attached to a lifting cable according to the dis
closure of US. patent application Ser. No. 483,908 may
be slid down the messenger line 34 and automatically grip
which is shown biased in FIGS. 2 and 3, and two identical
handles 56. The spring 54 requires the diver to simulta
neously extend outwardly both handles 56 to release the
buoy 100 from connector-plug 20. Each handle 56 com
prises a hand-hold 58, a ?rst elongated ?at ear 60, a shaft
buoy will then ascend to the surface while paying out
The salvage ship can pick up the buoy by a boat-hook
The second truncated cone 16 is provided with two
directly opposed L-shaped openings 64. The horizontal
opening 66, of opening 64, is slightly larger than the ear
40
the connector-plug 20.
The invention described herein may be manufactured
and used by or for the Government of the United States
of America for governmental purposes without the pay
through the opening 66. It is to be understood that both
ment of any royalities thereon or therefor.
vertical openings 68, of openings 64, are not diametrically
What is claimed is:
opposed to each other but are located to the same side 45
1. A messenger buoy for carrying a messenger line
from the diametrical axis of the horizontal openings 66.
from a position on a submerged wreck to the surface,
Also the opening 68 is smaller than the diameter of shaft
62, as shown in FIG. 4, to permit the ear 62 to pass
comprising:
61, to prevent the shaft 61 from passing through the
opening 68. The spring 54 is biased about shaft 23 so
that when the handles 56 are outwardly extended, as 50
shown in FIG. 2, the spring 54 will be biased into the
vertical openings 68 and release the cone 16 from the
safety latch 52. Thus, in operation, the diver will remove
the locking pins 53, pull outwardly on both handles 56,
turn each handle 90 degrees and additionally pull out
55
wardly on the handles 56 to move the ear 62 through the
opening 66. The spring 54, biased to the openings 68,
will then pass through the openings 68 and allow the cone
16 to ascend.
FIG. 1 also shows additional structure to facilitate
convenient handling by a diver at depth. The messenger
buoy is provided with at least two handles 72 attached to
the buoy by any well known means as by welding or
riveting. Attached at the top of the spherical ?oat por
tion is an eye 12 which may be used by the surface 65
salvage ship for engaging by a boat-hook and subsequent
attachment of a lifting rig. Additionally, at the side of the
second truncated cone there is a screw plut 74 that per
mits access to the shot chamber for ?lling when the con
a buoyant portion;
a messenger line;
a ?rst compartment portion for containing said mes
senger line attached to the buoyant portion;
a quantity of particulate material heavier than water;
a second compartment portion attached to the ‘buoyant
portion for containing said quantity of particulate
material;
a connector-plug attached to the submerged wreck and
to said messenger line and removably secured to
said second compartment for plugging said second
compartment to retain said particulate material with
in said second compartment;
a safety latch, attached to said connector plug, releasa
bly securing said connector plug to said second com
partment; and
said safety latch comprising two handles and a biased
spring therebetween so that both handles must be
simultaneously moved outwardly to release said con
nector-plug from said second compartment.
2. A messenger buoy for carrying a messenger line
nector-plug 20 is in place. The shot ballast may be varied 70 from a position on a submerged wreck to the surface, as
de?ned in claim 1, wherein each of said handles com
to obtain neutral buoyancy depending on whether the
prises:
buoy is to be handled by the diver by itself or attached
to a lifting pad.
a hand hold;
a ?rst ear attached to said hand hold;
In operation, the messenger buoy is prepared for use
a second ear; and
on board a surface vessel moored on station over a sub 75
5
3,428,977
a shaft attached to said ?rst and said second ear and
extending therebetween.
3. A messenger buoy for carrying a messenger line
from a position on a submerged wreck to the surface, as
de?ned in claim 2, wherein said second ‘compartment
comprises:
two ?rst openings diametrically opposed;
6
de?ned in claim 3, wherein said connector-plug com
prises:
a support; and
two support openings located within said support, said
support openings being smaller than said second ears
to prevent said second ears from passing through said
support openings.
said ?rst openings being larger than said second ears
to permit said second ears to pass therethrough; and
References Cited
UNITED STATES PATENTS
two second openings extending from said ?rst openings
to the lower edge of said second compartment, to
permit said spring to pass through said second open
ing to release said ‘buoyant portion from said con
hector-plug.
3,066,325
3,374,494
12/1962
3/1968
Hayes _______________ __ 9—8
Hunley ______________ __ 9—8
4. A messenger buoy for carrying a messenger line 15 TRYGVE M. BLIX, Primary Examiner.
from a position on a submerged wreck to the surface, as
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