The present invention relates to a watercraft in accordance
with the introduction to the main claim. In particular it relates to a watercraft
for use as a rescue, patrol or transport means, but not exclusively so.
In effect, watercrafts for official tasks, especially those
supplied to the forces of order, the fire service or the civil protection service
are extremely costly, both to purchase and to maintain. They usually comprise propulsion
means and specific equipment for intervention in their various scheduled tasks.
The organizations overseeing these services often possess
a fleet of specific watercrafts covering every situation and each necessary intervention.
The fleet hence comprises a fire-fighting watercraft equipped
for example with fire-fighting pumps, a watercraft equipped with lighting means,
a watercraft equipped with rafts and the like for rescuing survivors, a watercraft
for transporting materials, etc.
All the available means are seldom used simultaneously
in a rescue operation, only the most appropriate means for the required operation
being used at any specific time.
Consequently many of the available means often remain unused.
Unfortunately, to limit investment relative to watercraft
purchase, the various rescue units are often equipped with a single structure which
at any given time is fitted with the means required for the specific rescue operation
to be carried out. The actual fitting of the means lengthens the rescue time on
the site where they are required.
An object of the present invention is therefore to provide
a watercraft which represents an improvement on the known art by virtue of low purchase
and running costs, while ensuring the flexibility required by the emergency rescue
patrol and transport operations.
A further object of the invention is to provide a watercraft
by which the time required to fit the necessary equipment onto the watercraft is
minimized, hence ensuring more rapid intervention on the site where this is to take
These and other objects are attained by a watercraft in
accordance with the technical teachings of the accompanying claims.
Further characteristics and advantages of the invention
will be apparent from the description of a preferred but non-exclusive embodiment
of the watercraft, illustrated by way of non-limiting example in the accompanying
drawings, in which:
- Figure 1 is a perspective view of a watercraft of the present invention connected
to a sea scooter acting as its propulsion and guide means;
- Figure 2 is a perspective view of the watercraft of Figure 1, without the sea
- Figure 3 is a plan view of a detail of an alternative embodiment of the watercraft
of Figure 1; and
- Figure 4 is a rear view of a detail of an alternative embodiment of the watercraft
of Figure 1.
Said figures show a watercraft indicated overall by 1.
The watercraft 1 comprises a floating hull 2 of U-shape
(by way of non-limiting example), well visible in Figure 2. The hull presents a
bow part 3 in which a plurality of sitting positions 4 for possible passengers are
provided, together with a very spacious loading surface 5.
The watercraft is advantageously constructed of composite
materials such as glass reinforced plastic, polymers (or metal materials), the whole
structure being filled with self-floating foam.
A seat 7 to house at least part of a sea scooter 8 is provided
at the stern 6 of the hull 2.
The sea scooter 8 is substantially of conventional type,
comprising its own propulsion and guide means.
The seat 7 is of dimensions sufficient to house a large
part of the length of the sea scooter and presents a pair of guides 10 associated
with it. The guides 10 are fixed to the hull 2 along the seat 7 by screws 11, which
make the guides interchangeable. Consequently, the guides 10 associated with the
seat 7 can present a different configuration, depending on the type of sea scooter
8 to be connected to the watercraft 1.
Essentially, the guides 10 form retention means between
the hull 2 and sea scooter 8, and connect these latter rigidly together. In the
present context, the term "rigidly" signifies that when connected together, the
sea scooter 8 and hull 2 present substantially the same roll, pitch and yaw. When
connected together, minimal movements can arise between the sea scooter 8 and hull
2 due to the presence of damping means provided within the connection, consisting
for example of rubber, polymer or similar profile pieces.
The guides 10 present a groove 12 for at least partially
housing a perimetral projection 13 on said sea scooter. As known, this projection
is covered with rubber to act as a bumper.
The seat 7 also presents, fixed to the hull by screws,
a support 14 to at least partially support the sea scooter. This support 14 also
acts as a flow deviator preventing the water flow generated below the watercraft
during movement from violently penetrating into the interstices between the hull
2 and sea scooter 8.
The retention means between the hull 2 and sea scooter
comprise fixing means 20 which prevent the sea scooter from emerging from the seat
7. These fixing means comprise a pair of tie rods 20 connected by first rings 21
to the hull 2 and by second rings 23 to a common hook 22 provided on the sea scooter
8. The tie rods 20 advantageously comprise conventional means 25 for manually adjusting
The fixing means prevent the sea scooter from leaving the
seat 7 when the watercraft is moving in any direction. In particular they present
a minimal elasticity to compensate the movements of the sea scooter along the longitudinal
axis of the watercraft.
The use of the watercraft is apparent from the aforegoing
and in particular is as follows.
When the space, the loading capacity and transport capacity
of a sea scooter 8 are insufficient, the sea scooter is driven into the seat 7 in
the watercraft 1. The rubber perimetral projection 13 on the sea scooter becomes
inserted into the groove 12 such that the watercraft 1 and sea scooter 8 engage
The tie rods are then fixed to the hook 22 on the sea scooter
8 to rigidify the two units.
The sea scooter 8 is started, its propulsion also driving
the watercraft. Essentially, the sea scooter represents a propulsion (including
reversing) and guide means for the watercraft 1. Advantageously, the watercraft
1 connected to the sea scooter 8 provides much more space for loading equipment
and material, especially for first aid. It also enables several people to be transported,
in addition to the two transported by the sea scooter.
The use of this type of watercraft is particularly advantageous
in an emergency rescue or patrol context as several watercraft can be provided pre-equipped
with different fittings.
A first watercraft can for example be fitted out for lighting,
provided with electrical generating modules for powering lighting towers also mounted
thereon, and with floating lighting buoys, to be used in rescue operations and research.
This craft can also be provided with a compressor to maintain self-ballasting lighting
buoys under pressure. A second rescue watercraft can be provided with inflatable
rafts, for example of London type, to be launched into the water in proximity to
those in danger, to protect them and then tow them to safety. A third watercraft
can be fitted with fire-fighting means (for example one or more monitors) operated
by i.c. engine-driven or electric motor-driven pumps installed on said hull; advantageously
the fire-fighting pumps can comprise remote control means, enabling them to be also
operated at a distance, by parking the watercraft in proximity to the fire and withdrawing
A fourth watercraft can be provided for transporting materials
or passengers, with individual or bench seats.
During an emergency, the sea scooter driver can "choose"
which watercraft to use, so minimizing intervention times. In effect, it is no longer
necessary to fit out the watercraft with the required rescue means, it being sufficient
to choose that which most fits the purpose, from a plurality of ready and moored
watercrafts, which can also be constructed with different cross-sections or keels,
and of different lengths.
A watercraft conceived in this manner is susceptible to
numerous modifications and variants, all falling within the scope of the inventive
For example, the watercraft can comprise independent steering
and/or propulsion means, so that the sea scooter is at least able to contribute
to the propulsion of said watercraft.
In an alternative embodiment, the guide means 10a (see
Figure 4) present a profile 12a shaped to correspond to the outer profile 8a of
the sea scooter, so that it can be adapted to any type of commercially available
sea scooter by simply changing the guide 10a.
In a further embodiment (Figure 3), the tie rods 20 are
replaced by a pair of jaws which, when closed, lock the sea scooter into the seat
7, by at least partially obstructing seat access. The jaws present a projecting
shaft with a final portion of elliptical configuration. This portion is insertable
into an elliptical seat provided in a block 31 connected to the hull 2. When the
final portion is inserted into the block 31 the jaw 20a assumes a locked configuration
(Figure 3) and cannot rotate in the direction of the arrow F. Raising the jaw enables
the jaw to rotate (arrow F) and to release the exit for the sea scooter.
In yet a different embodiment, a pair of inflatable elements
are fixed to the hull 2 to the side of the sea scooter 8 on the seat 7. When these
inflatable elements are pressurized, they press against the sea scooter 8, clinging
to the profile of said sea scooter (Figure 4, left) to prevent its exit from said
seat 7. These inflatable elements 20b comprise an internal pressure regulator circuit
connected to a source of pressurized fluid. Figure 4, right side, shows an inflatable
element 20b with the sea scooter absent from the seat 7.
It should be noted that the hull can be constructed with
different keels, for example: cylindrical, flared, sharp edged flat, round, deep
V planar, catamaran type and the like.