US20070012236A1 - Motorized kayak - Google Patents

Motorized kayak Download PDF

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Publication number
US20070012236A1
US20070012236A1 US11/520,167 US52016706A US2007012236A1 US 20070012236 A1 US20070012236 A1 US 20070012236A1 US 52016706 A US52016706 A US 52016706A US 2007012236 A1 US2007012236 A1 US 2007012236A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
kayak
enclosure
cover
recited
hatch
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Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
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US11/520,167
Inventor
Sean Caples
Original Assignee
Caples Sean G
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Publication date
Priority to US11/183,150 priority Critical patent/US7032531B1/en
Priority to US11/313,088 priority patent/US7121225B1/en
Application filed by Caples Sean G filed Critical Caples Sean G
Priority to US11/520,167 priority patent/US20070012236A1/en
Publication of US20070012236A1 publication Critical patent/US20070012236A1/en
Abandoned legal-status Critical Current

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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B63SHIPS OR OTHER WATERBORNE VESSELS; RELATED EQUIPMENT
    • B63BSHIPS OR OTHER WATERBORNE VESSELS; EQUIPMENT FOR SHIPPING 
    • B63B19/00Arrangements or adaptations of ports, doors, windows, port-holes, or other openings or covers
    • B63B19/12Hatches; Hatchways
    • B63B19/14Hatch covers
    • B63B19/16Hatch covers with detachable boards
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A01AGRICULTURE; FORESTRY; ANIMAL HUSBANDRY; HUNTING; TRAPPING; FISHING
    • A01KANIMAL HUSBANDRY; CARE OF BIRDS, FISHES, INSECTS; FISHING; REARING OR BREEDING ANIMALS, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; NEW BREEDS OF ANIMALS
    • A01K97/00Accessories for angling ; fish finder G01S15/96
    • A01K97/04Containers for bait; Preparation of bait
    • A01K97/05Containers for live bait kept in water, e.g. for minnows or shrimps
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B63SHIPS OR OTHER WATERBORNE VESSELS; RELATED EQUIPMENT
    • B63BSHIPS OR OTHER WATERBORNE VESSELS; EQUIPMENT FOR SHIPPING 
    • B63B29/00Accommodation for crew or passengers not otherwise provided for
    • B63B29/02Cabins or other living spaces; Construction or arrangement thereof
    • B63B29/04Furniture peculiar to vessels
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B63SHIPS OR OTHER WATERBORNE VESSELS; RELATED EQUIPMENT
    • B63BSHIPS OR OTHER WATERBORNE VESSELS; EQUIPMENT FOR SHIPPING 
    • B63B34/00Vessels specially adapted for water sports or leisure; Body-supporting devices specially adapted for water sports or leisure
    • B63B34/20Canoes, kayaks or the like

Abstract

The motorized kayak includes foot pedal operated steering, and a selective lever that controls the polarity and speed of an electric motor, which can be retracted when not in use, as can the aft rudder. The kayak preferably has a topside axial enclosure, which may be rendered watertight and used as a bait tank or other liquid container, and typically at least one additional enclosure positioned transversely to the axial enclosure, which may or may not be watertight. These enclosures are preferably configured with the upper surfaces of their covers at a single level, for use collectively as an extended, relatively flat fishing seat.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
  • This is a continuation-in-part of patent application Ser. No. 11/313,088, filed Dec. 20, 2005, now allowed for issuance, which, in turn, is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 11/183,150, filed Jul. 15, 2005 and issued as U.S. Pat. No. 7,032,531.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Invention
  • This invention relates to the field of kayaks for use in water sport activities and particularly to those incorporating motorized propulsion means.
  • 2. Description of Prior Art
  • At some time in the mists of prehistory, the Inuit discovered that a durable, lightweight, waterproof boat could be constructed from sealskins stretched tightly over a seal bone frame. Various improvements were made in these small, portable boats, over the years. One of the best known is version in which the user, dressed in warm, waterproof clothing, slides himself into the interior of the boat through a small opening at the top, forming a watertight seal between his clothing and the opening, in a sense becoming one with the boat. With half of the combined weight of his body, clothing and the boat below the waterline, he can easily roll the boat through a 360° circuit and emerge upright, after having been submerged in the icy waters for a very short time. While he might, at worst, experience a mouthful of salt water, his boat cannot be permanently capsized, and he will not drown, even if he, like many Inuit, cannot swim.
  • These skin boats were called qayaq in the Inuit language, from which we derive the word kayak. Sports enthusiasts—and ordinary people who just enjoy being in the sun and cruising along in the water—have discovered the utility and simplicity of kayaks. They are now popular everywhere that aquatic activities are practiced. Naturally, man's ingenuity continues to add refinements to the basic Inuit concept. But its fundamental features have remained the same.
  • For example, while many kayaks, following the original qayaq design, are rigid, others are inflatable. One of many such designs is shown and described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,065,421, which is fully incorporated herein by reference. Such a design has the advantage of being collapsible, for easy storage and transportation. However, like all collapsible devices, some means must be provided to re-inflate or otherwise re-assemble such a kayak for use. This may prove difficult, or at least inconvenient. Accordingly, most sporting kayaks, today, are of rigid construction, which not only obviates the need for re-assembly at the location of usage, but also provides increased structural integrity. In that respect, among others, the Inuit were correct.
  • Those who enjoy kayaking also seek to augment their experience by integrating the basic sport of kayaking with other activities. In a sense, they are simply following the original Inuit concept. Just as the Inuit, modern kayakers also use them for fishing, for example. The problem has been in what to do with the fishing gear. Of course, it can be strapped to the top of the kayak, in transverse orientation, as shown in U.S. Pat. No. 5,996,527, which is fully incorporated herein by reference. Indeed, even the paddle can be transversely mounted, as shown in U.S. Pat. No. 6,755,145, which is likewise fully incorporated herein by reference. While there is nothing particularly wrong with transverse mounting of fishing poles or paddles, in a utilitarian sense, the overall configuration appears clumsy and awkward. After all, one of the pleasant aspects of water sports, generally, is the feeling of smoothly gliding through the water, like a fish or dolphin. These designs would appear to interfere with that aesthetic sense.
  • Similarly, kayakers enjoy bringing along refreshments and other items, such as beverage coolers, radios, TV sets, CD or DVD players, additional fishing gear, books . . . whatever their individual interests dictate. Many inventors have provided means to store such items in kayaks, in various ways. Exemplary are those shown and described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,739,720; 5,605,112; 6,050,213; and 6,840,190; and in Published U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/280,300 (Publication No. US 2004/0079273 A1)—all of these fully incorporated herein by reference. But the problem with these and the other conceptually similar designs is that the storage means are awkward, even ugly, and, perhaps even worse, seem to integrate poorly into the overall kayak design. As has been said previously, kayaking is, after all, an aesthetic experience. Bulky, projecting items detract from that sense of joining the other aquatic creatures.
  • A corollary problem is that of passengers. Of course, it is possible to enjoy a day in the water alone. But there are few activities that are best enjoyed alone. Man is a social creature. People need to share their fun with others. So the question arises: Where do you place your kayak passenger . . . or passengers?
  • U.S. Pat. No. 5,460,551 (“Beres”), which is fully incorporated herein by reference, seeks to answer that question. In that patent, hatch covers 28 and/or 30 can be removed and replaced with utility receptacles 96 and/or 98, respectively. Beres suggests that these can be used as a child's seat (see, description of his FIG. 7 and reference to element 104).
  • In the particular configuration chosen by Beres, whose motive power is provided by pedals operated by the driver, spinning a propeller at the rear extremity of a drive shaft, there is little space within the kayak for storage. Because of the manner in which the kayak is driven, it is necessary for the driver to sit within the kayak, with legs essentially extended, or at least bent with knees upward. In practical reality, the design of such a kayak would almost necessitate there being a relatively long distance between the back of the seat 22 and the pedals 10, so that the driver can provide strong thrust without cramping his or her legs. This would mean that the forward utility receptacle 96 would have to be quite shallow, or otherwise near the forward end of the kayak. This, in turn, means that if a child's seat were installed in one of the spaces 58 left by a removed utility receptacle, it would most like have to be the aft one. But this would mean that the driver could not constantly monitor the activities of the child passenger, who would probably be quite small, due to the apparently small size of the available seating. The fact that the drive shaft is in the aft portion of the kayak further contributes to the small size of the seat.
  • Furthermore, since the Beres utility receptacles fit through large, horizontal openings in the top of his kayak and extend far downward into the space 58, there would be little room for anything else to be stored in the interior of his kayak, even if ordinary paddles were used instead of the peddle mechanism taught there. Where, for example, would the fishing pole and other fishing gear, or radio, or TV set, or beverage cooler be stored? In the Beres design, a few small things might be storable in one or both of the utility receptacles, but certainly nothing very long, such as a fishing pole or extra paddle. Beres' large, horizontal hatches also reduce the structural integrity of the kayak, necessitating structural reinforcement or considerable risk of collapse.
  • More efficient kayak designs have recently been developed, with increased interior space usable as a storage hold. In such designs, a superficial hatch cover may be provided to seal off hatch access to the hold to prevent water intrusion into the hold. While some of these designs may provide increased storage space, none provides easy access for storage and retrieval of long items, such as fishing poles. Furthermore, none of these designs provides passenger seating at or near a forward hatch that does not materially reduce the storage volume of the hold.
  • Recently, thought has been given to providing motor propulsion, to relieve the operator of the chore of having to paddle the kayak through the water. One example of a motorized kayak is shown in the website of Kirk Becraft, whose design is designated “Electriak Powered Kayak” and shown at http://foxxaero.homestead.com/indun001.html, which states that it was last modified on Feb. 5, 2004. This design might provide motive power for a kayaker whose physical handicap precludes paddling, as suggested in the website. However, for fishing applications it would be desirable for the operator's hands to be free. Although pedal operated kayaks have been offered for sale, these have incorporated simple rudder control pedals intended to be used with paddles for coordinated steering. No motorized kayak with pedal operated steering has been seen by the inventor in the art or on sale. Thus, without hands-free steering, the motorized kayak design suggested in the Becraft website would be essentially useless for trolling, being perhaps suitable for stationary fishing, but little else. For the latter applications, it would seem that paddles would suffice for operators who are fit enough to handle a fishing pole.
  • Additionally, no kayak has been provided with a secured or integral topside enclosure that can be rendered watertight, for use as a bait tank or other liquid-containing device, with a cover upon which a person may sit while fishing, together with one or more additional storage enclosures, transverse to the first enclosure, where, preferably, the covers of these additional storage enclosures may essentially be at the plane of the first enclosure for expanded seating.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The invention is a buoyant, substantially waterproof kayak in which the operator sits atop or partially within the kayak, with perhaps the lower legs extending into a forward recess in the top of the vehicle. The kayak is provided with a hold for storage even of relatively large and long items. Scupper drains may be provided, through which water entering the upper external portion of the kayak may drain into the ambient. A forward hatch is provided for access to the storage hold, with a watertight forward hatch cover. In some embodiments, an aft hatch is provided, with a watertight aft hatch cover. In the latter embodiments, the aft hatch plane is substantially angled in respect to the upper surface of the kayak, so that long items may easily be inserted forward into the hold from the aft hatch. Near the forward hatch may be a forward passenger seat, which may be incorporated into the forward hatch cover or may replace it as a separate element. In embodiments where the forward passenger seat is a separate element, it may be attached to the kayak by the same attachment mechanism as the forward hatch cover, and be likewise secured to the kayak body to provide a waterproof seal. Like the forward hatch cover, such a separate forward passenger seat does not extend into the body of the kayak, and thus does not materially decrease the storage volume. A second passenger seat may be provided aft of the operator, e.g., by molding a seat-shaped indentation into the upper surface of the kayak. In further embodiments, a rounded tank is secured to the kayak, e.g., by molding it centrally, forward of the operator seat. The tank may be used as a bait tank or perhaps as a beverage cooler. If such a tank is provided, a fishing seat may be cinched down atop the tank cover or adhesively attached atop the tank cover. While fishing, the operator can sit on the tank cover or fishing seat transversely to the axis of the kayak, with the feet dangling off one side of the kayak. Overflow means are provided to direct any tank contents that might splash out of the tank into one or more scupper drains for drainage away from the kayak.
  • The first topside enclosure (e.g., a bait tank or beverage cooler) may be axially-positioned, with one additional, transversely positioned storage enclosure on one side of the first enclosure, or two additional, transversely positioned storage enclosures, one on either side of the first enclosure, either or both of which may be rendered watertight if desired Such additional enclosure(s) may be used for any handy purpose, such as storage of additional equipment, a battery and/or switch assembly or any other desired item(s). Preferably, such enclosure(s) may (each) be fitted with a selectively detachable or otherwise operable cover, to expose its interior as desired. Any of the two or three enclosures may be detachable from the kayak, or all may be integral with the kayak. The interior of such additional storage enclosure(s), particularly if integral with the hull, may be provided with an opening for access to the kayak's storage hold. Alternatively, if such additional enclosure(s) is/are detachable from the kayak, an access opening to the hold may be provided, for exposure when the respective storage enclosure is removed. These enclosures and their respective covers may be configured so that when closed their covers may be essentially coplanar and thus, together, provide expansive seating, usable, for example, as a relatively comfortable fishing seat.
  • Additionally, the kayak of the present invention is provided with a motor that the operator may engage and disengage as desired. Forward and backward speed control may also be provided. Hands-free rudder operation is provided, preferably controlled by use of foot pedals.
  • Other aspects of the invention will be seen in reference to the Drawing and the ensuing discussion of the preferred embodiments in reference thereto.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING
  • FIG. 1 is a side elevation view of a kayak according to an embodiment of the invention without motor-related features.
  • FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the forward portion of the kayak of FIG. 1, showing details of the seat in which the child shown in FIG. 1 is seated.
  • FIG. 3 is a plan view of the forward portion of the kayak shown in FIG. 1, with an attached forward hatch cover that may be replaced by the seat shown in FIGS. 1 and 2.
  • FIG. 4 is a plan view of the forward portion of the kayak shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, with the seat shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 replacing the hatch cover shown in FIG. 3.
  • FIG. 5 is a plan view of the forward portion of the kayak shown in FIGS. 1 to 4, without a hatch cover, as shown in FIG. 3, or seat, as shown in FIG. 4, in position.
  • FIG. 6 is an exploded perspective view of the forward portion of the kayak shown in FIG. 1, with the seat shown in FIG. 4 being removed.
  • FIG. 7 is a detailed view of a snap buckle by which the hatch cover of FIG. 3 or seat of FIG. 4 may be attached to the kayak shown in FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 8 is a side elevation view of an embodiment of the kayak with forward and aft seats, without the motor features of the principal embodiment of the present invention.
  • FIG. 9 is a plan view of the kayak in the embodiment shown in FIG. 8 FIG. 10 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the kayak in which an integral tank and aft hatch are provided, with exploded views of the tank cover and fishing seat, and the aft hatch cover, without the motor-related features herein disclosed.
  • FIG. 11 is a perspective view of an embodiment having an integral tank, of the embodiment shown in FIG. 10, with the operator shown in phantom in position for fishing.
  • FIG. 12 is a cutaway side elevation view of the tank through Section 12-12 of FIG. 9.
  • FIG. 13 is a plan detail view of the bottom of the kayak from 13-13 of FIG. 12.
  • FIG. 14 is a perspective plan view of the top of a kayak according to a multiple-enclosure embodiment of the invention, without a motor, with each cover shown in closed position.
  • FIG. 15 is a detail plan perspective view of the circular region 400 shown in FIG. 14, with the three enclosure covers shown in FIG. 14 likewise in closed configuration.
  • FIG. 16 is similar to FIG. 15, but with the covers shown in open configuration.
  • FIG. 17 is an elevation view of a securing bar in the axial enclosure of FIG. 16.
  • FIG. 18 is a plan view of the kayak showing three enclosures in closed configuration.
  • FIG. 19 is a detailed depiction of the plan view of FIG. 18.
  • FIG. 20 is a cutaway elevation through section 20-20 of FIG. 19.
  • FIG. 21 is a detail plan view of the lower surface of a kayak according to an embodiment of the invention without a motor.
  • FIG. 22 is an elevation of an alternative embodiment of the securing bar of FIG. 17.
  • FIG. 23 is a detail plan perspective view of the circular region 490 of FIG. 16.
  • FIG. 24 is a cutaway perspective view of an axial enclosure according to an embodiment of the invention without a motor.
  • FIG. 25 is an exploded perspective, similar to FIG. 15, but in reverse orientation, showing a removed side container.
  • FIG. 26 is a detail perspective view of a motorized kayak according to an embodiment of the invention, showing rudder-control foot pedals in position.
  • FIG. 27 is a cutaway detail plan view of the foot pedal assembly shown in FIG. 26.
  • FIG. 28 is a section through FIG. 27 showing details of the foot pedal assembly.
  • FIG. 29 is a perspective view of the kayak of an embodiment of the invention, showing the rudder assembly, the motor (in phantom), the foot pedal assemblies and, partially in phantom, the cables connecting the foot pedal assemblies to the rudder.
  • FIG. 30 is a side elevation view of an embodiment of the kayak of the present invention, showing the rudder and the motor in engaged position.
  • FIG. 31 is a side elevation view of details of the motor shaft, showing a detent assembly engaged while the motor is in disengaged position.
  • FIG. 32 is a plan view of the kayak of the preferred embodiment of the present invention with many features similar to those shown in FIG. 9.
  • FIG. 33 is a detail, partially phantom view of the kayak of the preferred embodiment, showing the motor in engaged position, together with the battery, speed control mechanism and foot-pedal rudder operation assemblies.
  • FIG. 34 is a simplified perspective plan view of an embodiment of the kayak of the present invention, showing the rudder assembly in the aft portion of the kayak, in engaged position, with a phantom view of the cables connecting the foot pedal assemblies with the rudder.
  • FIG. 35 is a detail perspective view of the rudder of the kayak shown in FIG. 34 in disengaged position, but not quite in rest position.
  • FIG. 36 is a detail perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the kayak rudder in disengaged and rest position.
  • FIG. 37 is a detail perspective view of the embodiment of the kayak rudder assembly in engaged position and associated structures shown in FIG. 36.
  • FIG. 38 is a detail plan perspective view of the lower surface of a kayak according to the preferred embodiment of the invention, with the motor shown in engaged position.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • In the ensuing discussion, initial emphasis will be placed on features of the invention not relating to the motor, rudder and associated assemblies that are important features of the present kayak design. Once the features shown in FIGS. 1 to 25 have been discussed, attention will be directed to the features of the present preferred embodiment relating to motorized propulsion.
  • Referring now to FIG. 1, the kayak 10 of the preferred embodiment of the present invention comprises a hull 20 with a forward portion 30 and aft portion 40. The hull may be constructed of any convenient material that is lightweight, structurally sound and easily formed as desired. I have found that polyethylene provides sufficient strength, and is also inexpensive and easily molded. But there are doubtless other materials that could be substituted, such as other plastics or fiberglass. Those of ordinary skill in kayak building and molding can doubtless apply their expertise to this task, without departing from the essential features and scope of the invention.
  • As shown, e.g., in FIG. 9, the kayak is provided with a forward carrying handle 32, and aft carrying handle 42, a left center carrying handle 45 a and a right carrying handle 45 b.
  • In the embodiment shown, e.g., in FIG. 1, the operator 50 and forward passenger 60 are seated facing one another, while the operator propels the kayak 10 by means of a paddle 70. It will be noted, from FIG. 1, that the operator is seated in an operator seat 80 (see, e.g., FIG. 9), which, in the preferred embodiment, is the stepped-up rearward extension of a forward recess 82 integrally molded into the top 90 of the kayak 10 itself. The particular shape of the operator seat and of the forward recess in general are not precisely shown, as this overall element of the kayak can be configured as desired, well within the basic concept and scope of this invention. However, the operator seat pad 83 is shown in position in, e.g., FIGS. 1, 8 and 11, as it would be in embodiments where such a pad is provided. In such embodiments, the operator seat pad may be attached to the kayak, in position, by clipping the outer end of left operator seat pad strap 183 a to one of the left forward seat loops 212 a or 212 c, and by clipping the outer end of right operator seat pad strap 183 b to one of the right forward seat loops 212 b or 212 d. The back of the operator seat pad may likewise be connected, by straps (not shown) to left rear seat back loop 214 a and right rear seat back loop 214 b. The actual connection means is left to the practitioner's choice, although it could be an ordinary clip, as shown, e.g., in FIG. 11, or a toggle clip, as almost universally used to connect a leash to a dog's collar. When not in use, the operator seat pad may be stored in the hold.
  • The operator's legs 52 may extend into the forward portion 84 of the forward recess 82 (see, e.g., FIG. 9). This forward portion may be divided, as shown, into two separate sub-portions, or may be a single recessed space. However, if divided, as shown, the resulting kayak structure may be more rigid and structurally sound.
  • The forward passenger 60 sits in the forward passenger seat 100. Referring to FIG. 2, the forward passenger sits in the forward passenger space 102 in the forward passenger seat, comprising a forward passenger seat back 104 and forward passenger hip support 106. The forward passenger's legs 62 may also be extended into the forward portion 84 of the forward recess 82, or the feet may be positioned into the forward passenger foot stops 86 a and 86 b.
  • The forward passenger seat 100 is secured to the kayak 10 by means of a forward strap 110, comprising a forward strap kayak segment 111 and a forward strap seat segment 112 s. The forward strap kayak segment and forward strap seat segment are connected by means of a snap buckle 114, as described below. The forward strap seat segment is secured to the forward passenger seat 100 preferably by means of a forward seat rivet 116. Other means of attachment are doubtless possible. However, it will be understood by those or ordinary skill in the art that all means of attachment utilized in the kayak according to the present invention must be sealed to prevent water intrusion. This can be done in any conventional way, and need not be described in detail.
  • Two pairs of additional securing straps are used to provide secure, waterproof attachment of the forward passenger seat 100 to the kayak 10. As shown, e.g., in FIG. 2, the second seat straps 120 a and 120 b are located aft of the forward strap 110. It can be seen from FIG. 2 and other figures in the Drawing, that these are constructed and secured similarly to the forward strap 110. Therefore, since there is nothing novel in these configurations, which are well within the level of ordinary skill in the art, no specific details will be given. Suffice to say that all seat straps must cause the forward passenger seat to be secured firmly to the kayak, providing a waterproof seal (see, below), and be detachable. The third seat straps 130 a and 130 b are positioned aft of the second seat straps 120 a and 120 b and are constructed and secured similarly to the latter. By properly positioning these three sets of straps, 110, 120 and 130, a tight, waterproof seal may be provided at or near the periphery 140 of the junction between the passenger seat 100 and kayak 10.
  • Within the top of the forward passenger seat 100, forward of the forward passenger space 102, an external forward storage space 150 is provided. Articles may be secured into this storage space by means of ropes or webbing (not shown), which may be strung through retaining loops. 152 a, 152 b, 152 c, 152 d, 152 d and 152 f. Of course, a flexible, perhaps waterproof, covering could alternatively or additionally be used, with its corners clipped or otherwise conveniently attached to these retaining loops.
  • Forward passenger fishing pole retainers 160 a and 160 b may also be provided in the passenger seat 100, if desired. There is nothing particularly novel about these forward passenger seat fishing pole retainers. Therefore, they will not be described in detail, except to show right aft fishing pole retainer 175 b in FIG. 10, where it is seen to comprise an essentially cylindrical holding portion 179 with a stopped lower end 181. Likewise, the pair of forward center fishing pole retainers 165 a and 165 b will not be described in detail, except as shown in the Drawing (see, e.g., aft fishing pole retainers 175 a and 175 b in FIG. 9). These are entirely conventional and, like the passenger seat fishing pole retainers, are inserted into recesses provided in the top 90 of the kayak, and secured to the kayak by means of some convenient secure, waterproof junction, appropriate to the type of material selected for construction of the kayak 10.
  • Referring to FIG. 6, it can be seen that the forward passenger seat 100 is removed from the kayak 10 by disconnecting the forward strap kayak segment 111 from the forward strap seat segment 112 s, and similarly disconnecting the second seat straps 120 a and 120 b and the third seat straps 130 a and 130 b, and lifting it out. It is secured to the kayak by connecting these five straps. When secured to the kayak 10, the forward passenger seat 100 is sealed tightly and in waterproof fashion. To accomplish this, the entire lower bearing surface 142 of the forward passenger seat is brought into firm contact with the forward seat reception portion 144 of the top 90 of the kayak, near the periphery 140, while the forward seat insertion plug 146 is slid downward along the forward cargo hatch wall 148. It can easily be seen and appreciated that the various contacting elements of the passenger seat and kayak top are dimensioned for a close fit. Inserting the forward passenger seat into the kayak in this manner brings the lower bearing portion of the forward passenger seat into firm contact with the cargo hold O-ring 149. When all five of the straps 110, 120 and 130 are connected—having been previously adjusted for proper relative length in a conventional manner—a tight, waterproof seal is provided between the forward passenger seat and the kayak, preventing seepage of water into the cargo hold 170. See, FIG. 5. This protects the contents of the hold, e.g., a fishing pole 172, a radio (for entertainment or navigation) 174 or any other contents, from water damage.
  • If it is not desired to accommodate a passenger, the forward hatch cover 180 can replace the forward passenger seat 100, as shown in FIG. 3. When a passenger accompanies the operator, the forward hatch cover can be stored in the cargo hold 170. The forward hatch cover is secured to the kayak in the same manner as the forward passenger seat, and all corresponding connections and positioning are identical, with the same effect. Thus, the lower bearing surfaces of the forward hatch cover are not shown, as they merely duplicate those of the forward passenger seat, as shown.
  • For example, the forward passenger seat 100 and the forward hatch cover 180 are provided with insertion plugs 146, so that positioning, support and seal are virtually identical regardless of which device covers the cargo hold 170 at that position. It will be noted, in particular, that neither the forward passenger seat insertion plug nor forward hatch cover insertion plug projects materially into the cargo hold, itself. Either device need project only far enough into the top 90 of the kayak to form a secure bearing surface with the cargo hatch wall 148. Thus, if this downward projection is kept to a minimum, as in the preferred embodiment of the invention, none, or virtually none, of the volume of the cargo hold will be used by the forward passenger seat or forward hatch cover. This preservation of maximum cargo hold volume is an important feature of the present invention.
  • While the connectors incorporated into the straps can be of many types or configurations, the presently most inexpensive yet effective type of connector for the present purposes appears to be a familiar snap buckle 114, as shown, e.g., in FIG. 7. Assuming that the strap there illustrated is a forward strap 110—it could equally be any of the straps—the snap buckle there illustrated would connect the forward strap kayak segment 111 with the forward strap seat segment 112 s. As will be easily understood, due to the widespread use of snap buckles, the male portion 116 of the snap buckle is inserted into the female portion 115. When this occurs, the outer tines 117 a and 117 b are forced toward the center tine 118 when the male portion is inserted into the opening 119 of the female portion. These outer tines snap back to expanded position when further insertion brings their barbs 121 a and 121 b, respectively, into the cutaways 122 a and 122 b, respectively, of the female portion 115. Once there, the male portion is held securely within the female portion.
  • Certainly other connector types could be used, and even Velcro® might be used. However, it is believed that snap buckles 114, as shown, provide the best, cost effective means of securing the passenger seat 100 or the forward hatch cover 180 to the kayak 10 in a secure, waterproof manner.
  • It will be noted that straps 110, 120 and 130 are conceptually similar, whether in reference to the forward passenger seat 100 or the forward hatch cover 180, and are intentionally shown as such in the Drawing.
  • However, there is a difference in the case of snap buckles. As shown in FIG. 4, attached to the forward passenger seat 100 are segments of five straps (e.g., forward strap seat segment 112 s), each of which terminates in a snap buckle portion connectable with a corresponding snap buckle portion at the end of a strap segment whose opposite end is attached to the upper surface 90 of the kayak hull 20. However, the forward hatch cover has only one attached strap segment 112 hc, which is secured by a rivet 182 in the forward apex 184 of the forward hatch cover.
  • Thus, the snap buckle terminus of each of the five straps attached to the upper surface 90 of the hull 20 may be connected to the snap buckle terminus of the corresponding strap segment attached to the forward passenger seat. However, in the case of the forward hatch cover, as shown in FIG. 3, only the forward strap 110 joins the forward hatch cover to the hull, while the hull-attached segments of the second seat straps 120 a and 120 b are brought across the forward hatch cover and snapped together. Likewise, the hull-attached segments of the third seat straps 130 a and 130 b are brought across the forward hatch cover and snapped together.
  • Thus, with proper selection of the respective snap buckle termini and provision of necessary length adjustment in the segments of the second seat straps 120 a and 120 b and of the third seat straps 130 a and 130 b that attach to the upper surface 90 of the hull 20—certainly within the level of skill of the ordinary practitioner—the forward passenger seat 100 and forward hatch cover 180 may easily be interchanged, providing a secure, waterproof hatch covering in either case, even with snap buckle connections. This interchangeability, with or without snap buckle connections, promoted by selection of the type and dimensions of the various elements of the forward passenger seat and the forward hatch cover, and their respective straps, is a fundamental aspect of this invention.
  • There are many alternatives to the foregoing forward passenger seat design, and its suggested variations, that would be well within the level of ordinary skill in the art. For example, the forward passenger seat might be incorporated into the forward hatch cover, itself, perhaps as an indentation molded into the upper surface of the hatch cover, or as a flip-up seat that pivots into position from a recess in the upper surface of the hatch cover. Those and all designs providing a forward seat at or near the forward hatch that does not intrude substantially into the hold through the forward hatch are well within the scope of the invention as described and claimed.
  • In other embodiments of the invention, as shown in FIGS. 8, 9 and 10, an aft seat 176 may be provided within the aft portion 40 of the kayak 10, behind the operator seat 80, to allow an aft passenger 180 to accompany the operator 50, whether or not a forward passenger seat 100 (see FIG. 10) is provided. In those embodiments that provide it, the aft seat is preferably integral with the kayak, as perhaps a recess molded into it. Forward of the aft seat, is a deeper aft drain recess 171 provided with aft scupper drains 177 a and 177 b, for drainage of water taken on. These aft scupper drains are thus similar in design and function to the forward scupper drains 173 a and 173 b.
  • Alternatively, the aft seat could be a selectively insertable assembly corresponding to the passenger seat 100, together with its associated elements. However, for the sake of structural integrity and other reasons, such as cost-effectiveness, it is not believed to be particularly desirable to provide such a complex, removable second seat, although provision of such an element would not fall outside the scope of the invention as described and claimed.
  • With particular reference to FIG. 9, as in the case of the additional forward storage space 150 in the forward passenger seat 100, tie-down webbing 190 may be provided over the aft seat 176, for hold-down storage of additional articles topside when a passenger 180 is not present. This webbing could be elastic, e.g., a bungee cord, or rigid, e.g., ordinary nylon rope. Whatever the material chosen, it may be strung through holding loops 192 a, 192 b, 192 c, 192 d, 192 e and 192 f, or otherwise, in any convenient manner. As with the forward counterpart, a perhaps waterproof, flexible covering could alternatively or additionally be provided, with its corners clipped or otherwise conveniently attached to these holding loops. These and other alternatives, such as selection of the webbing material, if employed, are well within the level of ordinary skill in the art.
  • If the webbing or covering is not being exclusively used for topside storage, the aft passenger 180 could sit atop the tie-down webbing. Obviously, no passenger would be placed beneath any portion of the tie-down webbing or flexible covering, forward or aft, because if the kayak capsizes, everyone must be able to jump free of the kayak easily and without entanglement. FIG. 9 illustrates the operator drain channel 200, which directs excess water forward into the operator scupper drain 202. Similarly, an aft drain channel 210 channels excess water into the aft drain recess 171 and thus into the aft scupper drains 177 a and 177 b.
  • Attention will now be drawn to the aft hatch cover 220 (see FIGS. 9 and 10), which, in embodiments of the invention in which an aft hatch 222 is provided, covers that aft hatch. As in the case of the forward passenger seat 100, for example, the aft hatch cover is sealed tightly and in waterproof fashion to the aft hatch. To accomplish this, the entire lower bearing surface 223 of the aft hatch cover is brought into firm contact with the aft hatch reception lip 226 of the top 90 of the kayak, while the aft hatch cover insertion plug 224 is slid downward along the aft cargo hatch wall 228. It can easily be seen that the various contacting elements of the aft hatch cover and kayak top must be dimensioned for a close fit. As in the case of, and in similar manner to, the forward passenger seat 100 and forward hatch cover 180, the attachment of the aft hatch cover is made to be waterproof. Also, because the aft hatch insertion plug does not intrude into the aft hatch beyond the bottom of the aft cargo hatch wall, no space in the hold 170 is taken by the aft hatch cover.
  • Attachment of the aft hatch cover 220 to the kayak 10 may be accomplished by any means that will ensure a tight, waterproof fit. In the preferred design of the present embodiment of the invention, attachment is by means of four aft hatch cover T-handles 230 a, 230 b, 230 c and 230 d, as shown in FIGS. 9 and 10. As is well known in the art, and as shown in a summary fashion in FIG. 10, each T-handle initially rests in its respective cradle 231 a, 231 b, 231 c and 231 d. To remove the aft hatch cover 220, each of the T-handles is pivoted upward and then twisted, as shown in FIG. 10. The twisting motion causes a tongue of each T-handle (not shown), originally in tight bearing relationship with the underside 229 of the reception lip 226 and thus holding the aft hatch cover firmly in place, to revolve outward from the reception portion into the open space of the hatch 222, releasing the aft hatch cover for removal.
  • An important aspect of this invention is the fact that the plane of the aft hatch 222 and, therefore, of the aft hatch cover 220, lies at a substantial slope in respect to the top 90 of the kayak 10. Those few prior designs that have provided an aft hatch (see, e.g., the Beres patent identified above) invariably orient them essentially parallel to the surface, so that hatch access through such hatches must be downward. However, in that case, it is very difficult to insert elongated items, such as fishing poles, into the hold from the aft portion forward. Of course, the operator may try to bend them to do so, or the aft hatch can be made so large (thus compromising structural integrity) that an item can be slid in at an angle. However, in the case of this embodiment of the present invention, where the orientation of the aft hatch and hatch cover is preferably at an angle of about 45° to the kayak top, insertion of an elongated item such as a fishing pole is trivially simple. While the advantage of such an angled aft hatch is clear with the present discussion and Drawing, no one appears ever to have introduced such an innovation. It is thus believed to be novel and unobvious.
  • In other embodiments of the invention, an integral tank 240 is provided, as shown, e.g., in FIG. 10. Such a tank may be used as a bait tank (as shown in FIG. 12), or perhaps filled with ice or ice water, as a beverage cooler. In the latter regard, it will be noted that the operator 50 is provided with a beverage holder 242, forward of the operator seat 80, as shown in FIGS. 9 to 11. Whatever its desired use, in the preferred design of this embodiment, the tank is molded into the kayak 10. Presumably, a cavity could be molded into the kayak at the position shown, with the tank, as a separate element securely inserted into the cavity. But no advantage is seen in such a design, although it would not depart from the scope of the invention as described and claimed.
  • The tank cover 250 may be secured to the tank 240 in any convenient manner, the particular means being left to the practitioner within the present teachings. In the preferred design of this embodiment of the invention, attachment is by means of four tank cover straps 302 a, 302 b, 302 c and 302 d, fastened, respectively, to forward seat loops 212 a, 212 b, 212 c and 212 d, as shown in FIG. 10. Each of these illustrated straps terminates in a connector, shown generically, by which it is fastened to its respective forward seat loop. The connector might, for example, be a toggle clip, with a snap buckle 310 a, 310 b, 310 c and 310 d, as shown, at some position in each respective strap for detachment of the tank cover from the kayak. Alternatively, for example, attachment might employ T-handles, as in the case of the aft hatch cover 220. These attachment means are merely suggestive of the many ways the tank cover might be secured to, and detached from, the kayak.
  • Unlike the aft hatch cover 220, the forward hatch cover 180 or the forward passenger seat 100 (if provided as a separate element, interchangeable with the forward hatch cover), the tank cover 250 needn't be waterproof, as its purpose is merely to retain a level of water or other fluid within the tank 240. It is of no consequence if some of the fluid spills out into the forward recess 82 of the kayak 10 and drains through the forward scupper drains 173 a and 173 b. This spilled fluid, together with water that happens to be taken on, will be sucked away through the underside 280 of the kayak by the forward motion of the kayak through the water, in a manner well understood by boat designers. Essentially, the shape of the tapered indents 280, narrowing aft from the bottom of the respective scupper drain (see FIG. 13), pulls water from the scupper drains as the kayak moves forward. Gravity draws additional water from the forward recess of the kayak by gravity, to be likewise sucked away. These tapered indents are provided for all of the scupper drains in the kayak for essentially the same drainage purpose, operating similarly. In all cases, like the scupper drains themselves, they may merely be molded into the underside of the kayak.
  • Accordingly, an O-ring seal 246, which may be secured either to the tank top insertion plug 245 or to the interior side of the upper tank rim 249, is shown in FIG. 10, but it is not shown in FIG. 12, as use of such a sealing device, other conventional sealing means, is purely optional.
  • In FIGS. 9-11, the tank 240 and the tank cover 250, in plan view, are oval in configuration (perhaps with a proportionately longer aspect ratio than shown). In general, the tank and tank cover of this embodiment of the invention are of “rounded shape,” i.e., in plan view they do not display angular corners. Such a rounded shape may, e.g., be circular, oval (as generally shown) or perhaps egg-shaped (i.e., an oval with unequal halves). This is an important aspect of the invention, for reasons that will quickly become apparent.
  • Initially, it is to be noted that prior kayak tank designs, in the few kayaks that have provided them, are square or rectangular in plan configuration, i.e., not of a rounded shape. However, since kayaking is supposed to be a pleasurable endeavor, such a shape is inconvenient for two important reasons, each of which appears to have escaped the designers of these prior tan-equipped kayaks.
  • First, it is inconvenient for the operator to straddle a sharp-cornered square or rectangular tank that is large enough to contain a substantial quantity of live bait, for example. Secondly, it is also uncomfortable for the operator to sit on the tank, transversely with respect to the axis of the kayak, while engaged in fishing. Merely glancing, for a moment, at the tank cover shown in FIGS. 9 and 10, and considering the circumstances in which the kayak 10 might be used during a fishing expedition, the clear superiority of a rounded shape may readily be appreciated. Yet no one appears to have prospectively considered the advantages of the rounded shape, as now shown.
  • For further comfort, a fishing seat pad 300 may be provided to soften bodily contact with the tank cover 250 during fishing, as shown in FIG. 11. Like the operator seat pad 83, the fishing seat pad may be constructed of any material that provides a degree of comfort, yet does not rapidly deteriorate upon water contact. The exact choice of materials and other aspects of design are left to the practitioner, in view of the present teachings. Likewise, it is left to the practitioner to provide the exact attachment mechanism whereby the fishing seat pad is secured atop the tank cover. I prefer to adhesively attach the fishing seat pad atop the tank cover, so that, by means of the four tank cover straps 302 a, 302 b, 302 c and 302 d, perhaps sewn onto the fishing seat pad at appropriate points, the combined assembly may be secured to, and detached from, the kayak as a unit.
  • When not in use, the fishing seat pad 300 (or the combined fishing seat pad and tank cover), like the operator seat pad 83, can be stowed in the hold 170, along with whatever else the operator finds it convenient to store there, such as a spare paddle.
  • It is anticipated that the tank 240 would likely be used as a bait tank, as shown in FIG. 12. In that case, a pump would be provided to circulate water into the tank for the benefit of the live bait. Since water would normally be continuously pumped into the bait tank, it would overflow the tank and drain through the tank overflow conduits 260 a and 260 b. The details of such a pump and its associated electrical and conduit means are not here described, as being entirely conventional.
  • The tank overflow conduits 260 a and 260 b may be described in reference to FIGS. 10, 11 and 12. Assuming the tank 240 is being used as a bait tank, as shown in FIG. 12, if water sloshes or progressively overflows from the region storing the live bait, it can exit through one of the overflow conduits into its respective scupper drain. As shown in FIG. 12, this would be left tank overflow conduit 260 a, directing water into left forward scupper drain 173 a. Egress from the tank is, in FIG. 12, behind the tank cover insertion plug 245 and upper tank rim 249, just beneath the kayak top 90. Obviously, to prevent the live bait from escaping, the cross-section of the overflow conduit 260 a must be fairly small, as is shown in FIGS. 10, 11 and 12. Further details of overflow from the tank are left to the practitioner, in view of the present teachings.
  • Referring to FIGS. 14-25, alternative embodiments of the invention, wherein one or two additional, transversely-positioned enclosures are provided, will now be described. In these embodiments, the central tank 240 of, e.g., FIG. 10, becomes the axial enclosure 450 of, e.g., FIG. 16, and, as in the embodiment described above, the axial enclosure and (each) additional, side enclosure is “topside,” i.e., part of or in proximity with the deck of the kayak 10. Thus, by their topside positioning, these enclosures are readily distinguishable from the cargo hold 170, which is within the kayak.
  • In most configurations of this basic embodiment, there are two additional enclosures, as shown, e.g., in FIG. 14, each of which is transversely-positioned in respect to the axial enclosure 450. Of course, one of the transverse enclosures could be omitted if desired, or replaced with some other structure, without departing from the essence of this embodiment of the invention. Likewise, one or both of such transversely-positioned enclosures may be provided without some of the other preferred or discretionary features of the kayak described above, such as the forward passenger seat 100, the sloping aft hatch cover 220, etc.
  • In the embodiment shown within circular region 400 in FIG. 14, the axial enclosure and two additional, transversely-positioned enclosures are depicted in a closed-cover configuration (in contrast, e.g., with FIG. 16, where they are in open-cover configuration), where the axial enclosure cover 405 covers the axial enclosure 450, while the left enclosure cover 410 a covers the left enclosure 430 a and the right enclosure cover 410 b covers the right enclosure 430 b. It will be noted, from the Drawing, that “left” and “right” refer to respective positions when viewed in a forward direction. As in the case of the integral tank 240, the axial enclosure may be used as a bait tank, beverage cooler, storage container, or for any other desired purpose. Preferably, if it is used for a liquid-containing purpose, it may be rendered essentially watertight by use of an O-ring 465 (see, e.g., FIG. 20), or by any other means conventionally understood or used, or which might, in the future, be devised to render an enclosure watertight when its cover is in a closed position. In the ensuing discussion, it will be assumed that the axial enclosure is, indeed, to be used to contain a liquid such as seawater (e.g., for use as a bait tank and/or catch tank), it being understood that this is not necessarily the case, nor is this essential to the invention as described and claimed herein.
  • Referring first to FIG. 15, it is seen that, in this embodiment, the axial enclosure cover 405 incorporates a central window 420, which may be hand-threaded into and out of central window threads 424 of the axial enclosure cover by use of the finger inserts 422 a, 422 b. The central window is preferably transparent, so that the operator may, at any desired time, observe the contents of the axial enclosure 450, e.g., the live bait if it is employed as a bait tank. Of course, it may alternatively be opaque or translucent, if such visual monitoring is not necessary or desired.
  • The axial enclosure 450 is opened by operating the axial enclosure T-handle 407 as described above in respect to, e.g., T-handle 230 a. When opened, the axial enclosure cover 405 rotates upward (see, e.g., FIG. 16), pivoting around the pivot pin 406 (shown extended outward in FIGS. 16 and 23 for clarity only), which runs through the pivot pin receiver 409, which is attached to or integral with the axial enclosure cover. The pivot pin also runs through the cover rotation projection 411, which is attached to or integral with the upper surface 90 of the kayak 10. With reference, e.g., to FIG. 16, it can be seen that, in this embodiment, the axial enclosure cover is strengthened with integral axial enclosure cover reinforcement webbing 435. This provides extra structural integrity to facilitate support of the operator or other individual atop the axial enclosure cover while fishing or otherwise seated upon or standing atop the axial enclosure cover.
  • In the preferred configuration of this embodiment of the invention, the axial enclosure 450 is integral with the kayak 10, i.e., the axial enclosure wall 452 is actually part of the structure of the kayak. Accordingly, in this embodiment, a means must be provided whereby the axial enclosure cover 405 may be firmly cinched down, so that it can, if desired, render the axial enclosure essentially watertight. One of many obvious ways to accomplish this is to provide a securing bar 453 at the axial enclosure wall on the opposite side from the pivot pin receiver 409, as shown in FIGS. 17 and 22. In these depictions, the securing bar is integral with a securing plate 462, which is attached to the axial enclosure wall by means of securing plate pins 464 (see, e.g., FIG. 22). Of course, it could alternatively be integral with the axial enclosure wall at that position, e.g., by being molded into the axial enclosure wall structure. Using the configuration shown in FIG. 16 as an example, the axial enclosure cover T-handle prong 408 would be rotated, by rotation of the axial enclosure cover T-handle 407 (see, e.g., FIG. 15), to slide along the underside of the securing bar, from right to left in the configuration shown in FIGS. 17 and 22. FIG. 22 shows, in phantom, the final configuration of the axial enclosure cover T-handle prong against the securing bar stop 453 (see, FIG. 17) when the cover is secured. It will be seen, in FIG. 20, that the axial enclosure cover T-handle prong may be laterally restrained by a T-handle flange 460, attached to the underside of the axial enclosure cover, through which the prong projects.
  • The left enclosure cover 410 a and right enclosure cover 410 b may be secured, respectively, to the left enclosure 430 a and right enclosure 430 b by using, respectively, T-handles 412 a, 412 b and T-handles 414 a, 414 b. In the configuration shown in FIG. 16, where the left enclosure 430 a and right enclosure 430 b are not necessarily watertight when their respective covers are secured to them, there is no need for a watertight sealing mechanism. As shown, the right enclosure T-handle prongs 424 a, 424 b, which append, respectively, from right enclosure T-handles 414 a, 414 b, simply slide, by rotation, into the groove 425 b in the upper portion of the interior wall of the right enclosure. Of course, more sophisticated securing means may be provided for the left enclosure cover and right enclosure cover, e.g., to selectively render these enclosures watertight, and these would be well within the skill of the ordinary practitioner in light of the present teachings. Thus, no such means are shown, the present teachings believed sufficient to fully present these principles.
  • As in the case of the axial enclosure cover 405, the left enclosure cover 41 0 a and right enclosure cover 410 b are, in the illustrated embodiment, strengthened, respectively, with integral left enclosure cover reinforcement webbing (440 a, not shown) and integral right enclosure cover reinforcement webbing 440 b. This strengthening is provided for the same reasons as in the case of the axial enclosure cover, as described above.
  • It can readily be seen, e.g., from FIG. 14, that when the three covers are secured in place, particularly where, as here illustrated, the upper surfaces of the covers are essentially coplanar, there is provided an expansive area, which can easily be configured to be essentially flush with the upper surface 90 of the kayak 10, on which the operator or other person may sit or stand as desired.
  • Also, although not shown, this area may, if desired, be provided with an integral or attachable/detachable cushion, as a fairly simple extension of the concepts described above in respect to the tank 240, as shown, e.g., in FIGS. 10 and 11. It is believed that the practitioner of ordinary skill would be able readily to extend those teachings to provide an appropriate covering for the present three-enclosure embodiment or for a two-enclosure embodiment (i.e., lacking either the right or left enclosure, or replacement thereof with some other structure) without the need for more than ordinary mechanical design skill. Of course, provision of such a cushion for the present three-enclosure or two-enclosure embodiment is not fundamental to the invention, but merely optional.
  • Within the axial enclosure 450, as shown in FIG. 16, but perhaps more clearly in FIGS. 20 and 24, is a pump 455, which may be useful in embodiments where the axial enclosure is intended to be liquid-containing, e.g., where it is used for a bait tank or catch tank. As shown in FIG. 20, where the liquid within the axial enclosure is ambient water (e.g., seawater), the water is sucked from beneath the kayak 10 through a pump inlet orifice 475, into whose pump inlet orifice threads 476 the pump conduit 459 is threaded, for a more-or-less watertight fit (perhaps employing a sealing mechanism, not shown but may readily be provided by an ordinary practitioner). The liquid is then expelled into the interior of the axial enclosure through a spout 456, and excess liquid can overflow and drain away similarly to the manner described in connection with FIG. 12. The pump is electrically powered in most embodiments, the power being supplied through electrical lines 457 (see, e.g., FIG. 16), leading to a storage battery 470 contained in the left enclosure 430 a, the right enclosure 430 b, the cargo hold 170 or in any other convenient or desired location. The switching mechanism 458, shown as a toggle switch, which intervenes between the pump and the battery, may similarly be positioned wherever desired. The powering features of this configuration are conventional and well within the skill of the ordinary practitioner in view of these teachings. Accordingly, it is not believed that they need to be describe or shown in further detail.
  • As also shown in FIG. 20, a drainage plug 480 may selectively be inserted into the base of axial enclosure 450, by threading into the drainage plug threads 486 of the drainage orifice 485. Its purpose, of course, is to selectively admit and expel the liquid contents of the axial enclosure to the ambient at the lower surface 290 of the kayak 10. It can be rendered essentially watertight by conventional sealing means, as desired, but such sealing is not believed to be absolutely necessary.
  • It will be noted, from FIG. 21, that the pump inlet orifice 475 meets the lower surface 290 of the kayak 10 in the aft region of a pump inlet depression 477 in the lower surface of the kayak. It will be seen that the transverse dimension of the pump inlet depression tends generally to increase in an aft direction. This configuration may be designated “aft-expanding.” Conversely, the drainage plug orifice 485 meets the lower surface of the kayak in the forward region of the drainage orifice depression 487, whose transverse dimension generally tends to decrease in an aft direction. This configuration may be designated “aft-contracting.” In this embodiment, when the pump 455 is operating and the drainage plug 480 is removed, the aft-expanding configuration of the pump inlet depression tends to direct ambient water into the pump inlet orifice, in streamlined fashion, as the kayak moves forward, while the aft-contracting configuration of the drainage orifice depression tends to direct drained liquid away from the kayak, likewise in streamlined fashion.
  • It should be noted that, whereas the axial enclosure 450 is shown in the Drawing as having a “rounded shape” (i.e., oval in plan view or otherwise “rounded” as hereinabove described in connection with the similar central tank 240), this is not entirely necessary. In the “three-enclosure” or “two-enclosure” embodiments just described, the axial enclosure and each of the one or two additional, transversely-positioned, enclosures could be essentially rectangular in plan shape. However, a rounded configuration of the axial enclosure is preferred, because I have found that when it is used, e.g., as a bait tank, the live bait stored therein appear to survive longer than if they are stored in a tank with relatively sharp corners. That favorable characteristic of a rounded shape axial tank is in addition to the convenience of this shape in embodiments without transversely positioned enclosures, as described above. Thus, the axial enclosure is preferably of rounded plan shape, and the side enclosures are preferably of mating plan shape, as shown in the Drawing. But they may individually be of any convenient shape to suit the desires of the particular practitioner.
  • In the preferred embodiment, the axial enclosure 450 and each side enclosure 430 a, 430 b, is integral with the kayak 10. In other words, each is part of the kayak structure, itself. However, as in the alternative embodiment shown in FIG. 25, any of these three enclosures may be configured to be removable from the kayak. However, the axial enclosure is preferably integral with the kayak structure, because of the preferred pumping and associated elements, described above, which are typically desirable. If any of these enclosures is configured to be removable, it may be attached to the kayak in any conventional manner, such as bolting, adhesive attachment or simply by being forced into a position that is sized properly to hold it securely in place. The manner in which it is actually attached to the kayak is left to the ordinary practitioner as being well within the ability of such an individual to devise, in light of the present teachings. As in the case of the axial enclosure, a side enclosure that is integral (e.g., molded within the kayak) may be provided with a structure similar to the securing bar 453 described above in respect to an embodiment of the axial enclosure.
  • In the embodiment shown in FIG. 25 (noting that here the kayak 10 aft direction is toward the left and its forward direction is toward the right), the battery 470 and switch 458, shown in the left enclosure 430 a in FIG. 16, would, in the FIG. 25 embodiment, more likely be contained in the right enclosure 430 b, since the left enclosure is here shown to be selectively removable. It will be recalled, from the above discussion, that this is a suggested alternative. Indeed, this may perhaps be a preferable configuration, as most individuals are right-handed.
  • Again, with reference to FIG. 25, it is seen that when the left compartment 530 a is removed from its left nesting space 540 a in the kayak 10, access is provided to the cargo hold 170, for easy retrieval of items stored therein. As shown in FIG. 25, the left compartment in this embodiment corresponds to the left enclosure 430 a and its associated structures, as described above. Indeed, the chief difference between this embodiment and others previously described is that the storage compartment is here selectively removable, and its removal exposes the cargo hold. In the preferred implementation of this embodiment, all of the associated structures are the same as the corresponding ones associated with the earlier described left enclosure. Accordingly, they have not been separately numbered and identified in FIG. 25, for efficiency, as it is assumed that one of ordinary skill would be able to implement such a perfectly-functional removable left compartment from the teachings herein given. It is also believed that such an individual could, using ordinary skill, implement the kayak design taught herein with a removable right compartment and/or a removable tank or other axial enclosure. This might include the need to reconfigure or reposition the pump 455, the battery 470 and/or the switch 458. But this is believed to be a trivial design matter, as is the manner in which the removable compartments may be secured to the kayak.
  • Having now discussed, in some detail, the construction and operation of a kayak according to embodiments of the invention not including motorized propulsion, attention will now be drawn to the principal embodiment of the present invention, in which a motor and hands-free rudder steering are provided. Reference will now be made to FIGS. 26, et. seq., of the Drawing.
  • Initially, it should be noted that FIGS. 26, et. seq., are purposely simplified to show details of the motorized embodiments of the disclosed kayak. For example, FIG. 34 does not clearly show the front passenger seat, as shown, e.g., in FIG. 32. Such omissions are merely for the purpose of drawing particular attention to the motor-related features of the present invention. It is to be understood that any of the features shown in any of FIGS. 1-38, inclusive, or otherwise described, may be incorporated into any embodiment of the invention.
  • The preferred embodiment of the present invention is shown in FIGS. 30 and 32, and is essentially an extension of the embodiment shown principally in FIGS. 14 to 25 of the Drawing, with the addition of motor and steering related assemblies that characterize the present invention.
  • Accordingly, in FIGS. 26, et. seq., few of the structures that are essentially identical to those shown in FIGS. 1 to 25 will be specifically marked in the Drawing, to permit attention to be drawn to the particular features of the present preferred embodiment without distraction. Accordingly, FIG. 26 shows the kayak 10 depicted, e.g., in FIGS. 16 and 18, with axial enclosure cover 405 covering the axial enclosure 450 (or bait tank 240: see, e.g., FIG. 10), left enclosure cover 410 a covering the left enclosure 430 a (see, e.g., Figure and right enclosure cover 410 b covering the right enclosure 430 b. Forward of the axial enclosure and the operator seat 80 are the right and left sides of the forward portion 84 of the forward recess 82. Along the interior sides of the kayak, adjacent to the left and right portions of the forward portion of the forward recess, are left foot pedal assembly 550 a and right foot pedal assembly 550 b. The right foot pedal assembly is removably attached to the right rudder control track 555 b, as described shortly. The mirror-image left rudder control track 555 a is shown, e.g., in FIG. 32.
  • As shown more particularly in FIGS. 27 and 28, each rudder control track 555 a, 555 b is slidably engaged with a corresponding rudder control rail 558 a, 558 b. Each rudder control rail is attached to the corresponding side of the kayak by means of one or more (e.g., two are shown in FIG. 27) rail fastener assemblies 561 a, 561 b. Each rail fastener assembly includes a rail rivet 556 a, 556 b, which projects through the central rail fastener spacer 559 a, 559 b, which is axially concentric with a support spacer 557 a, 557 b, as shown in FIG. 28. Other types of rail fasteners may be utilized to secure the rudder control rail to the corresponding side of the kayak. Use of a simple rivet and associated spacers for this purpose is merely an example of means for configuring the rudder control track and corresponding rudder control rail. Other differential movement means are doubtless possible, in light of the present teachings.
  • In operation, using the right foot pedal assembly 550 b as our example—the operation of the left foot pedal assembly 550 a being identical—the position of the right foot pedal 562 b is adjusted to compensate for the lengths of the operator's legs by locking the right foot pedal assembly into a particular retaining slot 560 b within the right rudder control track 555 b, to compensate for the length of the particular operator's leg. This is accomplished by squeezing the right foot pedal control handle 551 b, which compresses the right foot pedal spring 552 b, which is secured to the right foot pedal assembly by means of the right spring rivet 553 b. This causes the right adjustment prong 554 b to disengage from the retaining slot, as shown in FIG. 27. By then sliding the right foot pedal assembly, specifically the right foot assembly guide 540 b, longitudinally along the right rudder control track, while continuing to squeeze the control handle, the right adjustment prong may be re-engaged to another retaining slot by releasing the grip. Other adjustment means may be devised by those of ordinary skill, in view of the present disclosure, although the present design appears quite convenient.
  • Having thus adjusted the positioning of the two foot pedal assemblies 550 a and 550 b, the operator controls the rotational orientation of the rudder 572, which is part of the rudder assembly 570 (see, e.g., FIGS. 34 and 37), by differential foot pressure on the respective foot pedals 562 a, 562 b. The rudder assembly is attached to the aft end 40 of the kayak 10 by means of the rudder mounting bracket 588. As shown, e.g., in FIG. 34, the right pedal controls the counterclockwise movement (as seen looking downward onto the kayak 10, as shown there) of the rudder, while the left pedal controls its clockwise movement. Since the rudder cables 580 a, 580 b are non-elastic, each pedal counters the effect of the other, as controlled by the operator. Thus, the operator's selective force on the two pedals ultimately causes the rudder assembly to pivot about the rudder support axis 590, and thus precisely control the direction of movement of the kayak, the right pedal causing the kayak to turn toward the right, and the left pedal causing it to turn toward the left. This provides true hands-free operation of the kayak, enabling the operator to, e.g., fish while in motion.
  • As shown, e.g., in FIG. 27, the right rudder cable 580 b connects to the right eye-ring 581B, attached to the aft end 582 b of the right rudder control track 555 b. The remainder of the right rudder cable extends through the hull 20 of the kayak 10, emerging through the right cable orifice 583 b and ultimately connecting with the right retaining stud 584 b of the rudder frame 586. See, e.g., FIG. 34. The attachments and operation of the left rudder cable 580 a are identical.
  • The rudder 572 may be selectively engaged, as shown, e.g., in FIG. 37, and disengaged, as shown, e.g., in FIGS. 35 and 36. Disengagement of the rudder 572 is accomplished by rotating the rudder upward (i.e., by rotating the rudder disc 591 counterclockwise, when the kayak 10 is viewed from the left side, with the forward portion to the left, as shown in FIGS. 36 and 37), about the rudder pivot 592 and onto the upper surface 90 of the aft end 40 of the kayak. In the preferred embodiment, as shown in FIGS. 34 and 35, the rudder, in the disengaged position, rests in the space between the two halves 595 a and 595 b of the modified aft carrying handle 594, which is axially located in this embodiment, allowing the rudder 572 to likewise be axially positioned. Alternatively, as shown in FIG. 36, the disengaged rudder may rest along one side of a normal, solid aft carrying handle 42. In practice, whether the rudder is precisely axial (e.g., FIG. 35) or slightly to one side (FIG. 36) makes virtually no difference in the relative positions of the foot pedals to ensure uniform forward or rearward motion of the kayak. In fact, one could easily compensate for this slight misalignment by very slightly adjusting the longitudinal positions of the right and left rudder control tracks 555 a, 555 b, although this is believed to be unnecessary. In any event, the orientation of the engaged rudder in the FIG. 36 embodiment is shown in FIG. 37.
  • It will be noted, in passing, that in FIG. 34, the extension of the rudder 572 from the rudder disc is exaggerated, as the rudder, when engaged and viewed from above, would be hardly visible. This exaggerated depiction was provided merely to show the various element relationships.
  • FIGS. 29-33 and 38, show the kayak 10 according to the preferred embodiment, with its motor 600 in its engaged position. The motor is held by its motor shaft 605, at whose upper end is a crook 610, whose terminal projection 611 rests in the motor positioning depression 612, when the motor is in its engaged position as shown, e.g., in FIGS. 29, 30 and 33. The purpose of this crook and depression is to prevent the motor from rotating about the axis of the motor shaft while in operation, which would, of course, make steering difficult. There are certainly many other ways to prevent such rotation, and clearly one of ordinary skill, could, in light of these teachings, develop several of them. The means shown is merely a simple yet effective suggestion.
  • Turning to FIG. 31, disengagement of the motor 600 is accomplished by pulling upward on the motor shaft 605, e.g., by pulling upward on the crook 610, until the spring-loaded shaft detent 620 projects outward along the upper surface 90 of the hull, thus preventing downward motion of the motor shaft and motor until the shaft detent is manually forced inward while the motor is lowered. Once again, there are many ways to accomplish selective motor disengagement, which would be readily apparent to one of ordinary skill, based on these teachings, and the detent concept shown is merely suggested as an easily-implementable one of many possibilities.
  • As suggested by FIG. 38, the motor 600, when disengaged, rests in the motor securing depression 601 in the lower surface 290 of the kayak 10, whose shape conforms to that of the motor housing 602 and motor blades 604. As is well understood by those of ordinary skill, when the motor is in that disengaged position, with only its motor fin 603 and the lower surface of the motor housing projecting into the fluid ambient, it will present little obstruction to the smooth forward or rearward movement of the kayak.
  • The motor 600 is powered by a battery 630 housed in the cargo hold 170. The battery intervenes between the motor and controller 640, by means of power cables 650, 651 and 652, the latter two cables projecting through the motor shaft 605 to the motor, as shown, e.g., in FIG. 33. The controller is a conventional potentiometer device with a control stick 660 for movement rotationally through the guide space 650 in the controller housing 661, to selectively control the orientation of the motor rotation, i.e., to move the kayak 10 forward or toward the rear. Also, as is customary with such devices, the position of the control stick in respect to the vertical direction determines motor speed. The power and speed control mechanisms are, in all respects, entirely conventional and well within the capacity of those of ordinary skill to implement adequately in a number of ways. Of course, the controller could be positioned on either side of the kayak, and could be of any level of complexity, including detent-held “autopilot” or other desired modes.
  • The battery 630, may, of course, constitute the earlier described battery 470, which controls the pump 455 in embodiments utilizing such a pump. In such a case, the battery would require additional wiring to power both the motor 600 and the pump. Such wiring would be a trivial design matter for one of ordinary skill in the electrical circuitry art, in light of the present teachings.
  • The foregoing discussion is intended merely to apprise those of ordinary skill in the art of kayak design and construction as to the inventive aspects of the present invention. It is assumed that many modifications might be made by such practitioners, based on these teachings, and several possible alternatives have been suggested above, e.g., incorporation of the forward passenger seat into the forward hatch cover, itself, rather than as a separate, interchangeable structure. Certainly, the choice of construction material, overall configuration, color, decoration and other aspects of the kayak 10, which are left to the practitioner, would be well within the scope of the invention.
  • These and other modifications would be within the capability of the ordinary practitioner, based on these teachings, and are merely suggested as illustrating the fact that many further alternations and modifications may be made by those having ordinary skill in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Therefore, it must be understood that the illustrated and described embodiments have been set forth only for the purpose of example and that these should not be taken as limiting the invention as defined by the claims to follow.
  • The words used in this Specification to describe the invention and its various embodiments are to be understood not only in the sense of their commonly defined meanings, but also to include, by special definition in this Specification, structures, materials or acts beyond the scope of the commonly defined meanings. Thus if an element can be understood in the context of this Specification as including more than one meaning, then its use in a claim must be understood as being generic to all possible meanings supported by the Specification and by the word itself.
  • The definitions of the words or elements of the following claims, therefore, include not only the combination of elements which are literally set forth, but all equivalent structures, materials or acts for performing substantially the same function in substantially the same way to obtain substantially the same result.
  • Insubstantial departures from the claimed subject matter as viewed by a person with ordinary skill in the art, now known or later devised, are expressly contemplated as being equivalently within the scope of the claims, even though not performing exactly the same function in substantially the same way to obtain substantially the same result. Therefore, substitutions now or later known to one with ordinary skill in the art will be within the scope of the defined elements. The claims are thus to be understood to include what is specifically illustrated and described above, what is conceptually equivalent, what can be obviously substituted and also what essentially incorporates the essential idea of the invention.

Claims (20)

1. A kayak comprising:
a. a hull;
b. an operator seat for selectively positioning an operator of the kayak;
c. a hold within the hull;
d. a hatch exposing the hold to the ambient;
e. a hatch cover to prevent a substantial quantity of water from entering the hold through the hatch when the hatch cover is positioned at the hatch and secured to the hull, no substantial portion of the hatch cover inserted into the hold when the hatch cover is positioned at the hatch and secured to the hull;
f. hatch cover retention means to secure the hatch cover to the hull at the hatch, the hatch cover retention means comprising:
(1) first securing means attached to the hatch cover; and
(2) second securing means attached to the hull,
(3) the first securing means and the second securing means mutually connectable to cause the hatch cover to be selectively secured to the hull at the hatch;
g. a substantially rigid first enclosure positioned proximately forward of the operator seat and symmetrically in respect to the longitudinal axis of the kayak; and
h. a substantially rigid second enclosure positioned transversely to the first enclosure.
2. The kayak as recited in claim 1, further comprising a substantially rigid third enclosure positioned transversely to the first enclosure opposite from the second enclosure.
3. The kayak as recited in claim 1, further comprising a first enclosure cover configured and positioned to selectively cover the first enclosure and to selectively expose the interior of the first enclosure to the ambient.
4. The kayak as recited in claim 3, wherein the first enclosure cover is configured and positioned to selectively render the first enclosure substantially watertight.
5. The kayak as recited in claim 3, further comprising a second enclosure cover configured and positioned to selectively cover the second enclosure and to selectively expose the interior of the second enclosure to the ambient.
6. The kayak as recited in claim 5, further comprising a third enclosure cover configured and positioned to selectively cover the third enclosure and to selectively expose the interior of the third enclosure to the ambient.
7. The kayak as recited in claim 1, wherein the first enclosure is integral with the kayak.
8. The kayak as recited in claim 1, wherein the second enclosure is integral with the kayak.
9. The kayak as recited in claim 2, wherein the third enclosure is integral with the kayak.
10. The kayak as recited in claim 6, wherein the first, second and third enclosure covers are configured and positioned so that when the first, second and third enclosures are covered the upper surfaces of the first, second and third enclosure covers are substantially coplanar.
11. The kayak as recited in claim 1, wherein the first enclosure contains pumping means for selectively circulating a liquid within the first enclosure.
12. The kayak as recited in claim 11, wherein the pumping means comprises liquid drawing means for drawing liquid into the first enclosure from outside the first enclosure.
13. The kayak as recited in claim 12, wherein the liquid drawing means comprises conduit means for directing liquid into the first enclosure from outside the kayak.
14. The kayak as recited in claim 13, wherein the conduit means includes an intake orifice in an aft-expanding inlet depression in proximity with the lower surface of the kayak.
15. The kayak as recited in claim 11, wherein the pumping means comprises a selectively operable, electrically-powered pump.
16. The kayak as recited in claim 15, wherein the pump is powered by a storage battery stored in the second enclosure.
17. The kayak as recited in claim 3, wherein the first enclosure cover includes inspection means permitting visual observation of any contents of the first enclosure.
18. The kayak as recited in claim 1, wherein the second enclosure is selectively removable from the kayak.
19. The kayak as recited in claim 18, wherein removal of the second enclosure from the kayak exposes the kayak hold to the ambient.
20. The kayak as recited in claim 2, wherein the third enclosure is selectively removable from the kayak and wherein removal of the third enclosure from the kayak exposes the kayak hold to the ambient.
US11/520,167 2005-07-15 2006-09-13 Motorized kayak Abandoned US20070012236A1 (en)

Priority Applications (3)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US11/183,150 US7032531B1 (en) 2005-07-15 2005-07-15 Kayak
US11/313,088 US7121225B1 (en) 2005-07-15 2005-12-20 Kayak with a plurality of topside storage enclosures
US11/520,167 US20070012236A1 (en) 2005-07-15 2006-09-13 Motorized kayak

Applications Claiming Priority (1)

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US11/520,167 US20070012236A1 (en) 2005-07-15 2006-09-13 Motorized kayak

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US20090042461A1 (en) * 2007-08-09 2009-02-12 Legacy Paddlesports, Llc Watercraft with selectively retractable and stowable propulsion device
US20090145346A1 (en) * 2007-12-07 2009-06-11 Burroughs James A Assembly For Retrofitting Watercraft And Method
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US20140315450A1 (en) * 2012-05-22 2014-10-23 Beth Chester Buoyant apparatus system
US20150166151A1 (en) * 2013-12-17 2015-06-18 Kypad Inc. Combination Kayak and Paddleboard Watercraft Apparatus and Related Methods
US20150367914A1 (en) * 2014-06-23 2015-12-24 Johnson Outdoors Inc. Modular watercraft
US9623944B2 (en) 2015-06-01 2017-04-18 Johnson Outdoors Inc. Retractable drive system for watercraft
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WO2019169437A1 (en) * 2018-03-06 2019-09-12 Anthony Vonhof A live bait containment system for a watercraft hatch
WO2019191813A1 (en) * 2018-04-06 2019-10-10 Michael Cordery A removable seat for watercraft
US10618609B1 (en) 2019-03-07 2020-04-14 Gregory M. Ferris Tri-hull fishing kayak with elevated seat and foot-operated paddles
US10696362B1 (en) * 2017-06-12 2020-06-30 Andreas Stadie Integrated kayak cooler

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WO2008134762A1 (en) * 2007-04-30 2008-11-06 Electro-Yak Llc Improved electrically powered watercraft
US20080299842A1 (en) * 2007-04-30 2008-12-04 Ryan Ellis electrically powered watercraft
US20110104963A1 (en) * 2007-04-30 2011-05-05 Ryan Ellis Electrically powered watercraft
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US7887381B2 (en) 2007-04-30 2011-02-15 Volt Boats, LLC Electrically powered watercraft
US8337266B2 (en) 2007-04-30 2012-12-25 Volt Boats Llc Electrically powered watercraft
US20090042461A1 (en) * 2007-08-09 2009-02-12 Legacy Paddlesports, Llc Watercraft with selectively retractable and stowable propulsion device
US20090145346A1 (en) * 2007-12-07 2009-06-11 Burroughs James A Assembly For Retrofitting Watercraft And Method
US7789035B1 (en) 2009-05-28 2010-09-07 Rosenberg Richard H Stabilizer and standing support for a kayak or canoe
WO2011011006A1 (en) * 2009-07-23 2011-01-27 James Winsky Rudder system
US20140315450A1 (en) * 2012-05-22 2014-10-23 Beth Chester Buoyant apparatus system
US20150166151A1 (en) * 2013-12-17 2015-06-18 Kypad Inc. Combination Kayak and Paddleboard Watercraft Apparatus and Related Methods
US9199702B2 (en) * 2013-12-17 2015-12-01 Kypad, Inc. Combination kayak and paddleboard watercraft apparatus and related methods
US20150367914A1 (en) * 2014-06-23 2015-12-24 Johnson Outdoors Inc. Modular watercraft
US9701367B2 (en) * 2014-06-23 2017-07-11 Johnson Outdoors Inc. Modular watercraft
US9623944B2 (en) 2015-06-01 2017-04-18 Johnson Outdoors Inc. Retractable drive system for watercraft
US10696362B1 (en) * 2017-06-12 2020-06-30 Andreas Stadie Integrated kayak cooler
US10053200B1 (en) 2017-06-28 2018-08-21 Brunswick Corporation Universal propulsion systems for small boats
WO2019169437A1 (en) * 2018-03-06 2019-09-12 Anthony Vonhof A live bait containment system for a watercraft hatch
WO2019191813A1 (en) * 2018-04-06 2019-10-10 Michael Cordery A removable seat for watercraft
US10618609B1 (en) 2019-03-07 2020-04-14 Gregory M. Ferris Tri-hull fishing kayak with elevated seat and foot-operated paddles

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