A hollow heating chamber is provided for cleaning dirty lobster
traps without any scouring detergents or chemical bath preparations,
which, according to the FDA regulations cannot be used in physical
contact with any edible food, which includes lobsters. A manifold
with baffles is provided immersed within heated water within the
heated chamber. A fuel oil burner is provided as a source of heat,
for directing flames though the baffled manifold and then out an
exhaust pipe. The lobster traps, with dirt, marine organisms, barnacles,
etc., are immersed within the heating chamber and cleaned effectively
without the hazard of detergents or chemical bath preparations being
in contact with the portions of the lobster traps which engage and
trap live lobsters for human consumption.
1. A chemical free lobster trap cleaning apparatus for use on board
a boat at sea, said lobster trap cleaning apparatus comprising a
base, a hollow water containing chamber having a bottom floor, a
plurality of upwardly extending walls and an open top opening between
a top edge of each of said upwardly extending walls, a means for
heating the lobster trap at atmospheric pressure, at a water temperature
below boiling point of water temperature measured at 212 degrees
F. at sea level, said means comprising a heating element within
said water containing chamber, said chamber holding water for cleaning
the lobster traps immersed therein to permit convenient and effective
cleaning of marine organisms and debris at a lobster trap site at
sea, said water containing chamber supporting the lobster trap above
the said heating element within said water containing chamber, said
heating element being capable of heating the water to a temperature
below the water temperature boiling point of 212 degrees F. at sea
level within said water containing chamber, said heating element
communicating at an input end of said chamber with a heat source
and at an output end of said chamber with an exhaust means, said
heating element producing a heating flame therein, said heating
element further having a guidance means for directionally guiding
the heating flame therethrough.
2. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising a means to limit
spillage of water while said apparatus is being transported by the
boat to a site of the lobster traps at sea, said means comprising
a floatable baffle board floatable above the water within said chamber.
3. The apparatus as in claim 2 wherein said means to limit spillage
of water further comprises an inwardly extending lip edge extending
inwardly from said top edges of said plurality of said upwardly
extending chamber walls.
4. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein the said plurality of upwardly
extending walls of said chamber comprises a plurality of elongated,
substantially vertical walls each having an upper end and a lower
end, joined to said base, each said upper end further being provided
with one of a plurality of inwardly extending lip edges being horizontally
mounted upon each of said upper ends of said walls, to permit substantially
spillage-less contact of said heated water with the surfaces of
said lobster trap, while the boat is drifting under pitch and roll
conditions at sea at the site of the lobster trap, said chamber
further comprising a hollow chamber for accepting and immersing
the lobster trap freely upon said heating element, said hollow chamber
further having a top side, said top side being provided with an
open top passageway for permitting the through-insertion of the
lobster trap and for allowing the continuous cleaning of the lobster
trap within said chamber as a heating flame moves forward through
said heating element to heat the water at a predetermined water
temperature below boiling point of 212.degree. F. at approximately
one bar of atmospheric pressure, said open passageway disposed on
the top side of said hollow chamber.
5. The apparatus of claim 4 wherein each wall of said chamber
is provided with an insulated portion, each said insulated portion
having a spaced apart pair of insulation panels and insulation material
therebetween, each pair of insulation panels respectively and vertically
containing and enclosing said insulation material, and further,
each respective pair of panels having a central cavity therebetween,
each respective pair of panels providing mechanical support for
said chamber, said of insulation material insulating the heated
water within said chamber from an exterior of said chamber.
6. The apparatus of claim 5 wherein said chamber is provided with
a pair of bores therethrough, the bores respectively being in positional
register with the forward direction of said heating flame between
said heat source and said output end of said chamber, so as to pass
said heating flame forwardly through said respective bores of said
chamber, each respective through-bore being further provided with
joint conduits for receiving and holding said heating element within
7. The apparatus as in claim 4 further comprising a filter having
a plurality of through-holes said filter capable of capturing a
first quantity of debris of a predetermined size and said filter
capable of passing therethrough a second quantity of debris of a
size smaller than said first quantity of debris, through said filter
and out a drain from said chamber.
8. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said guidance means for advancing
the heating flame in a forward direction through said heating element
comprises a plurality of vertically extending baffle walls within
said chamber, said baffle walls extending substantially parallel
to the forward direction of the heating fluid through said heating
9. The apparatus as in claim 8 wherein said plurality of vertically
extending baffle walls each have a front end and a rear end, said
vertical extending baffle walls placed parallel to each other of
said baffle walls and said baffle walls placed parallel to the forward
direction of the heating flame, wherein said rear ends of said baffle
walls form a V shaped configuration.
10. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said heat source comprises
a fuel oil burner providing heat to said heating element; said apparatus
further having a battery disposed to said fuel oil burner for starting
said heat source when the boat is located at sea.
11. The apparatus of claim 10 further comprising a plurality of
safety switches, capable of delivering an electrical impulse and
a plurality of electrical relays, each respective relay responsive
to each respective switch each respective relay and each respective
switch responsive to electrically connecting and disconnecting said
fuel oil burner from said heating element.
12. The apparatus of claim 11 further comprising at least one further
safety switch and at least one further relay for electrically connecting
and disconnecting said diesel burner with said heating element,
said at least one further switch and said at least one further relay
being responsive to impulses delivered by a timer.
13. The apparatus of claim 11 further comprising at least one second
further safety switch and second further relay capable of connecting
and disconnecting the energy supply from said diesel burner to said
heating element, said second further safety switch capable of stopping
said energy supply when said second further safety switch is mechanically
impacted by a motion sensor sensing a predetermined oscillation
of the boat during pitch and roll at sea.
14. The apparatus as in claim 11 further comprising at least one
of said electrical relays being responsive to electrical impulses
delivered by said at least one safety switch when a temperature
of said heating element reaches a predetermined high level.
15. The fuel oil burner as in claim 10 wherein said fuel oil burner
is in communication with a diesel engine and a battery of the boat.
16. The apparatus as in claim 1 wherein said heating element heats
said water to a temperature of between 140-160 degrees Fahrenheit
within which heated water said lobster trap being imersable for
killing marine growth on the slats and lines of the lobster trap.
17. The base as in claim 1 wherein said base comprises a plurality
of support footings elevating said chamber above from a floor of
the boat supporting said apparatus.
18. An apparatus for cleaning multi-slatted, multi-corded lobster
traps on board a lobster boat comprising:
a hollow heating chamber for immersion of the lobster traps,
said chamber adapted to hold heated water for cleaning the lobster
a heating means within said chamber for raising and maintaining
the temperature of said water within said chamber,
said heating means comprising a hollow sealed heating element in
communication with a fuel burner providing heated gas to said sealed
said sealed heating element being provided with a plurality of
generally vertical linear baffles for directing said heated gas
through said sealed heating element for heating said water within
said baffles being placed in a generally V-shaped configuration
within said sealed heating element for directing said heated gas
from one input end of said sealed heating element to an output end
of said sealed heating element,
an output conduit for releasing said heated gas from said sealed
said chamber adapted to rinse and clean the lobster traps therein,
a means to prevent spillage of heated water during use, said means
including an inwardly extending lip extending from a top edge of
said chamber, said extending lip defining an entry hold for insertion
of said lobster traps therethrough to said chamber,
a means to insulate said chamber, said means including a plurality
of first interior walls adjacent to said chamber, a plurality of
second extension walls extending in spaced relation exterior and
away from said first interior walls, said second extension walls
defining an exterior of said heated chamber, and
a mounting means for mounting said heated chamber upon a deck of
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention pertains to a spill resistant heating chamber
apparatus for use on board a seaworthy lobster boat vessel, for
cleaning dirty lobster traps under heat below boiling at atmospheric
pressure, without any scouring detergents or caustic chemical bath
preparations, which cannot be used in physical contact with any
edible food, which includes live lobsters.
The typical lobster trap includes a structure of wire mesh or wooden
slats, connected by fasteners such as screws or nails in a hollow,
box-type structure. Two of the walls have funnel type openings which
permit the entry of a lobster into the lobster trap, but not its
Since the edible lobster comes in contact with the slats or wires
of the trap, government health and food regulations prohibit the
use of caustic chemical cleansers upon the surfaces of the wooden
slats or vinyl covered wires.
Stainless steel cooking pots, unlike wooden or vinyl covered lobster
pot traps, can be cleaned with dissolvable scouring products and
bactericidal soaps, because the cooking pot can be thoroughly rinsed
of the cleaning products. But wood or vinyl lobster trap slats,
and certainly the rope or wiring lines, because of numerous crevasses,
cannot be thoroughly rinsed. Thus, there is the need for the present
invention, which cleans all the exposed and hidden surfaces of the
lobster traps without any scouring cleansers, cleaning chemicals
or high pressure water sprays.
The present invention includes a heated water chamber, preferably
salt water, with an immersion type manifold with baffles. The lobster
traps are immersed in the heated water at 1 bar atmospheric pressure,
within the heated chamber. A low voltage, such as 12 VDC, fuel oil
burner is provided as a source of heat, for directing flames though
the baffled manifold immersion heater and then out an exhaust pipe.
The lobster traps, with accumulated dirt, marine organisms, barnacles,
etc., are immersed within the heating chamber and cleaned effectively
in preferably salt water heated below boiling point water temperature
of 212.degree. F. or 100.degree. C. at sea level at standard air
pressure of 1 bar atmospheric pressure, without the hazard of detergents,
chemical bath preparations or high pressure water sprays being in
contact with the surface portions of the lobster traps which engage
and trap live lobsters for human consumption.
The design of the baffled immersed heating manifold is important
to transfer heat as quickly as possible on board a lobster fishing
boat, which has limited fuel oil storage capacity. It is also necessary
to limit gross weight on board a lobster boat as much as possible.
That is, one cannot waste space with large fuel oil storage tanks
on board the cramped quarters of a lobster fishing boat.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART
In contrast to the present invention, it is known in the lobster
trap fishing industry to traditionally clean lobster traps two or
three times per year in the following manners:
1) by removing lobster traps from the local fishing area to shore
where in two to four weeks organisms, seaweed, or barnacles, etc.
die off; then the traps are transported by boat to be placed back
in the fishing area site;
2) by manually scraping, which is archaic and extremely time consuming,
for example, by up to ten minutes per lobster trap;
3) by high pressure cleaners, which have a habit of blowing off
or at least damaging the wooden or vinyl lobster traps; moreover,
high pressure cleaners are unsafe to use, as dangerous gasoline
is required to run the high pressure cleaners, and flying debris
may cause injury to the eyes and skin, as well as creating hazardous
accumulations of debris on the lobster fishing boat deck;
4) by illegally using chlorine based chemicals in violation of
FDA and local health department regulations, which also pose disposal
problems of the chlorinated water, as the chlorine based chemicals
find their way to the sea water.
In the non-analogous metal cleaning art, various attempts have
been made to clean metal parts in heated bath preparation vessels.
However, these vessels are used in conjunction with toxic chemical
preparations, which is contraindicated for lobster traps, the parts
of which traps should not be contaminated with chemicals.
Among the prior art is the U.S. Pat. No. 3613700 of Werth. However,
the Werth '700 device holds a chemical liquid solvent for metal
stripping, such as phosphoric acid, which is totally contraindicated
for use with lobster trap surfaces, which could contaminate edible
lobsters within the trap. Werth '700 is also multi-compartmental,
and not insulated like the present invention, and filters are provided
in updraft ducts.
Other non-analogous patents for heaters include U.S. Pat. Nos.
1624982 of Rosenberg, 1801888 of Teeple and 2614571 of Turpin,
which also pertain to chemical solution heating chambers, which
are contraindicated for edible food, such as lobsters, caught in
Moreover, the related prior art includes U.S. Pat. No. 4255467
of Bounds, which describes a three step, on-shore cleaning process
for zinc galvanizing wire fish and lobster traps. In the Bounds
'467 device, soiled traps are first incinerated to remove barnacles,
debris, living organisms and salt, as well as to remove the damaged
layer of galvanized zinc so that the lobster traps, when clean,
can be re-galvanized with a zinc coating. In Bounds '467 cleaning
is for an entirely different reason, namely as a preparation for
re-galvanizing. In contrast, the cleaning is to allow for re-fishing
of lobsters with the lobster traps.
The second step in Bounds '467 involves subjecting the external
surfaces of the lobster traps with a high pressure stream of water
The third step in Bounds '467 includes the further step of re-coating
the bare wires with a fresh coat of zinc.
However, the Bounds '467 device is contraindicated for conventional,
ungalvanized wooden or vinyl coated wire lobster traps.
First, it is known that melting zinc requires heat in excess of
600 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas vinyl will melt at 250 degrees Fahrenheit
and wooden slats will incinerate at 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Therefore the Bounds '467 device cannot be used with conventional
vinyl coated wire or wooden lobster traps.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
In contrast, to the prior art,the on-board apparatus of the present
invention utilizes water heated to 140-160 degrees Fahrenheit to
thoroughly kill substantially all marine organisms, barnacles, accumulated
debris and seaweed from conventional lobster traps, without damaging
the wooden slats or vinyl covered wires of the lobster traps.
A further problem associated with the prior art of the Bounds '467
device is that the second step of Bounds '467 involves applying
high pressure streams of water from nozzles. First, high pressure
water may damage the slats or joints of the lobster traps, as well
as present dangers to personnel using the device.
As stated before, it has been known to use high pressure pumps,
such as Pressure Washer No. 32658 of W. W. Granger Co., Inc of Chicago,
Ill. These gasoline driven high pressure pumps create hard streams
of water in the range of 1500 psi to 2500 psi.
The high pressure pump cleaners are not efficient, because the
hard driven streams of water cannot effectively reach all the interior
crevices and corners of a lobster trap.
Moreover, it has been known that the high pressure streams of water
can wash away seaweed, microorganisms and accumulated debris, but
clinging barnacles are resistant to the high pressure water streams,
and must be still manually scraped off in the cleaning process utilizing
high pressure streams of water, thus taking up to five additional
minutes of cleaning time per trap.
In contrast, the present invention applies moist heat at 140-160
degrees Fahrenheit at 1 bar atmospheric pressure to soften the shells
of the barnacles, causing the barnacles to easily fall off the surfaces
of a wooden or vinyl covered wire lobster trap being cleaned by
the present invention, in a matter of fifteen to twenty seconds
per trap being cleaned by the present invention.
The third step of the Bounds '467 cleaning process includes dipping
the now bare-wired walls of the lobster traps into a heated preflux
before dipping them in molten zinc, followed by a vibrating step
as the traps are removed from the molten zinc to effect an even
re-coating of galvanized zinc upon the wire mesh netting of the
galvanized lobster traps.
This third step is needed because Bounds '467 teaches the process
of factory re-galvanizing of the trap and the present invention
deals solely with the re-fishing of the trap. The present invention
applies water heated from 140-160 degrees Fahrenheit at 1 bar atmospheric
pressure and does not remove or damage the vinyl coating of the
wires, or the wooden slats, of either type of conventional lobster
In contrast, the 140-160 degrees Fahrenheit heat of the heated
water within which the lobster trap is immersed in the lobster cleaner
of the present invention is known to thoroughly kill marine growth
on the wooden and vinyl slats and rope lines of the lobster traps,
such as barnacles, algae, sea grasses and kelp.
Also, killing the organisms in such a manner releases the attached
organisms from the surfaces of the lobster trap. For example, upon
15 seconds exposure to the heated water, hard, crusty barnacles
will become soft and easily fall off of the surfaces of the lobster
trap, as will other marine growths.
The present invention also includes an anti-splash feature to counteract
the pitch and roll of the lobster fishing boat at sea. For example,
the generally rectangular water heating chamber is provided with
an inwardly extending lip, to prevent edge spillovers of hot water
during the lobster trap cleansing operation.
In addition, the present invention also includes a floating horizontal
perforated baffle to keep water within the chamber during the journey
of the boat to the site where the lobster traps are hauled. The
lobster trap is placed upon the floating baffle during cleaning
causing the floating baffle to sink within the heating chamber.
Moreover, the floating horizontal baffle floats to the top of the
chamber to prevent water from splashing out when the chamber is
not in use.
The present invention includes an external heat source, such as
an oil burner, which runs off of the fuel oil tanks of the boat.
Because the present invention can be used to clean lobster traps
at sea, the present invention is economical, and saves the typical
lobster fisherman considerable sums of money in cleaning the lobster
traps of accumulated debris, barnacles and microorganisms.
Typically, a lobster fisherman has a small open boat with a 10.times.20
foot work deck, and a plurality of lobster traps attached by a line,
which lobster traps are dropped into a designated area of a bay
or a portion of the ocean.
It is desirable to be able to clean the lobster traps when the
lobster boat is drifting over the site where the lobster traps are
set to harvest lobsters within the salt water bays and oceans of
The present invention improves over the predominate prior art,
which prior art requires the necessity of removing the plurality
of lobster traps, numbering into the thousands, bringing them back
to shore, which is up to a full week's work. When on land, the lobster
traps are cleaned by letting the traps sit inactive in the sun for
two weeks or more on the shore, and the barnacles are still difficult
This on shore hauling of the lobster traps from the sea is not
cost effective. It is known that the average cost of cleaning the
lobster traps by bringing them out of the water to sit inactive
for two weeks or more is $6.00 per trap per year, since it is done
at a minimum of twice a year and it costs $3.00 per trap to process
the hauling in of the traps and waiting until the traps can be re-laid
in the bay or ocean two weeks or more later.
It is also known that the net loss of lobster product lost during
two weeks of inactivity on shore is $200 per trap.
Since the average lobster fisherman has 500-1000 traps per lobster
boat, considerable sums of money are lost in letting the traps sit
inactive for two weeks or more.
Therefore, there is a long felt need to provide a lobster trap
cleaning apparatus, which can clean the lobster traps on board a
small lobster boat on site at the location of the traps in the bay
Unless the lobster fisherman uses the impractical high pressure
cleaners, which are dangerous and destructive to the traps, or uses
illegal chlorine as noted before, the traps in the past have not
been able to be cleaned on site.
Therefore, the present invention solves this problem by providing
an immersion heater on site at the ocean or bay, where the traps
can be quickly and thoroughly cleaned and returned to the water
to harvest more lobsters.
OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION
It is an object of the present invention to clean the lobster traps,
without cleaning chemicals, under adverse sea conditions, with limited
spatial resources and with strict safety requirements, given the
pitch and roll of the lobster boat at sea.
It is a further object of the present invention to avoid the use
of explosive gasoline fuel at sea, or the use of electrical heaters
for the heating element.
It is a further object of the present invention to use 140-160
degree F. heated water to kill the marine organisms.
It is a further object of the present invention to clean the lobster
traps of microorganisms killed.
It is yet another object of the present invention to provide a
heating chamber for cleaning dirty lobster traps without any scouring
detergents or chemical bath preparations.
It is a further object of the present invention to improve over
the prior art.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Other objects of the present invention will become apparent when
viewed in conjunction with the drawings of the present invention
FIGS. 1 and la are prior art lobster traps.
FIG. 2 is a schematic view of a train of a plurality of prior art
FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the lobster trap cleaning apparatus,
shown in position within a lobster fishing boat.
FIG. 4 is a side elevational view of the lobster cleaning apparatus,
as shown in FIG. 3.
FIG. 5 is a top plan view of the apparatus in FIG. 3 shown in
partial cut-away section.
FIG. 6 is a front elevational view of the apparatus thereof.
FIG. 7 is a rear elevational view of the apparatus thereof.
FIG. 8 is an isometric view thereof in partial cut-away section.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
As shown in FIGS. 3-8 the lobster trap cleaning apparatus 1 includes
a hollow heating chamber 2 for cleaning a dirty lobster trap 3 without
any scouring detergents or chemical bath preparations
A typical prior art lobster trap 3 of the kind which the present
invention is concerned is shown at FIGS. 1 and 1A.
The conventional trap in FIG. 1 includes a box-like frame made
from vinyl covered steel mesh, clamped together. The trap typically
measures about three feet in length on each side, and includes on
each of its sides the vinyl covered wires. Two openings are provided
in the sides of the lobster trap 3. Lobster bait is located within
the trap, and the trap top is hinged so that it can be opened and
FIG. 1A shows a wooden slat-type prior art lobster trap where wooden
slats are screwed or nailed to a wooden frame, wherein the trap
is of similar dimensions as the trap in FIG. 1.
As shown in FIG. 2 most lobster traps 3 are set at sea in use
in a train of connected lobster traps, wherein the traps 3 are connected
by rope or cord lines, which lines connect the train of traps with
floating buoys to enable the lobster fisherman to locate the traps,
i.e. a "trawl." As also shown in FIG. 3 typically, five
to ten traps are moved along the side of boat 11 in the direction
shown by arrow A until they are each moved in the direction shown
by arrow B to apparatus 1 for cleaning, and thence in directions
C and D back to the sea.
Turning now to FIGS. 3-8 the apparatus 1 of the present invention
for cleaning a lobster trap 3 includes an elongated housing having
a water containing immersion chamber 2 which immersion chamber
2 has a top entrance 5 which preferably is closed by a floating
baffle board 6 when not in use.
The chamber 2 is supported above the floor of the boat 11 by a
base 16 preferably including support footings 17.
The heating chamber 2 is generally rectangular, which chamber 2
cleans the lobster traps 3 by immersion in heated water within chamber
2 at below the boiling point of water which is measured traditionally
at a water temperature of 212.degree. F. or 100.degree. C. at sea
level, and at approximately 1 bar of atmospheric pressure, without
the need to use any scouring cleansers or cleaning chemicals.
A manifold heating element 7 with baffles 8 8a, 8b, 8c, etc. is
provided within the heated chamber 2 to heat fresh or salt water
therein. A fuel oil burner 9 is provided as a source of heat, for
directing flames through the baffled manifold heating element 7
and then out an exhaust, such as pipe 10. Preferably, fuel oil burner
9 is in communication with the diesel engine fuel supply of lobster
The lobster traps 3 which are contaminated with dirt, marine organisms,
barnacles, etc., are immersed within the heated water within heating
chamber 2 for approximately 15-20 seconds, and cleaned effectively
without the use of hazardous detergents or chemical bath preparations
being in contact with the portions of the lobster traps 3 which
engage and trap live lobsters for human consumption.
The interior structural configuration of the baffled immersion
heating element 7 is important to transfer heat as quickly as possible
on board a lobster fishing boat 11 at sea, which boat 11 has limited
diesel fuel storage capacity and the requirement to limit weight
on board as much as possible. As shown in FIG. 3 a lobster fishing
boat 11 does not have excess space for holding large fuel oil storage
tanks on board the cramped quarters of the lobster fishing boat
The water within chamber 2 for cleaning the lobster traps is heated
to a predetermined temperature below the boiling point of water,
preferably between 140-160 degree Fahrenheit heat, at one bar of
atmospheric pressure. The lobster trap 3 is immersed within the
heated water in the lobster trap cleaning chamber 2 of the present
apparatus 1 in order to kill and remove marine growth on the traps
and lines 4 of the lobster traps 3 such as barnacles, algae, sea
organisms and other debris.
Moreover, killing the organisms releases the attached organisms
from the surfaces of the lobster trap 3. For example, in about 15
seconds, hard, crusty barnacles become soft and all growths fall
off the traps 3 and rope lines 4 shortly after their return to the
The apparatus 1 also includes anti-splash features to counteract
the effects of pitch and roll of the lobster fishing boat at sea
upon the chamber 2. For example, horizontal floating baffle 6 within
the chamber 2 stabilizes the surface action of water within the
chamber 2 to prevent spillage while the apparatus 1 is being operated
during pitch and roll conditions at sea.
The chamber 2 also includes an inwardly extending lip edge 12
having horizontal walls 22 which edge 12 prevents heated water
from splashing out over the upper edges of chamber 2 while chamber
2 is in use cleaning lobster traps 3 aboard the boat, while drifting
at the hauling site of the lobster traps 3 within the sea.
The heat source for heating element 7 is preferably fuel oil burner
9 which burner 9 runs off of the conventional battery 27 and diesel
engine 34 fuel supply of the boat 11.
The immersion chamber 2 is insulated by means of a hollow frame
13 having walls 2A, 2B, 2C, and 2D, each wall having an outer panel
14 and inner panel 15 provided on the outside of walls 2A, 2B, 2C,
2D of chamber 2.
When in use, chamber 2 cleans lobster traps 3 without the need
to use cleaning chemicals, under adverse sea conditions, with limited
spatial resources and with strict safety requirements, given the
pitch and roll of the lobster boat 11 at sea.
Drain 20 drains debris from chamber 2. Debris of a first large
predetermined size, such as shells or barnacles, is caught by an
optional filter, such as filter board 18 having filter holes 19
19a, 19b, 19c, etc. The holes 19 19a, 19b, 19c, etc. permit smaller
debris of a second predetermined size to fall therethrough, to be
flushed out drain 20 from chamber 2.
In operation, there is a provided a chemical-free lobster trap
cleaning apparatus 1 for use on board a boat 11 at sea. The apparatus
1 has a base 16 a hollow chamber 2 having a bottom floor 21 a
plurality of upwardly extending walls 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D and an open
top opening 5. The water containing chamber 2 is used for inserting
and heating the lobster trap 3 at approximately 1 bar of atmospheric
pressure, at a temperature below boiling point of water, traditionally
measured at 212.degree. F. or 100.degree. C. at sea level.
The chamber 2 holds water for cleaning the lobster traps 3 immersed
therein to permit convenient and effective cleaning of marine organisms
and debris at a lobster trap site at sea. The chamber 2 supports
lobster trap 3 within chamber 2 and chamber 2 communicates with
heating element 7 for heating the water. The heating element 7 is
positioned within the chamber 2. Heating element 7 communicates
at an input end 7a with a heat source and at an output end 7b with
an exhaust means 10.
The heating element 7 includes a guidance means for advancing heating
flame in a forward direction through the heating element 7 by means
of a plurality of vertically extending baffle walls 8 8a, 8b, 8c,
etc. extending substantially parallel to the forward direction of
the heating flame through the heating element 7.
The plurality of vertically extending baffles each have a front
end and a rear end. The vertical extending baffles 8 8a, 8b, 8c,
etc. are placed parallel to each other, and are also placed parallel
to the forward direction of the heating flame, in a V shaped configuration,
wherein the baffles 8 8a, 8b, 8c, etc. form a peak at the exit
end, and a V shaped vacuity at the entrance end of heating flame
to chamber 2.
The heat source for heating the water within chamber 2 is preferably
a fuel oil burner for supplying energy to the heating element 7.
Preferably as shown in FIG. 3 the boat's battery system 27 is disposed
to fuel oil burner 9 for operating fuel oil burner 9 when boat
11 is located at sea.
As further shown in FIG. 3 apparatus 1 optionally includes a plurality
of safety switches, 28 28a, 29 capable of delivering an electric
impulse and a plurality of electrical relays 30 30a, 31 each relay
30 30a, 31 including a switch 28 28a, 29 the relay switches 28
28a, 29 being for connecting and disconnecting the fuel oil burner
9 with the boat's electrical system 27.
A first electrical relay 30 and switch 28 are responsive to electrical
impulses delivered by a time sensitive timer 32 and alternately
a first further relay 30 may be further responsive to electrical
impulses delivered by the safety switch 28a when a temperature of
the heating fluid within heat sensor 32a within chamber 2 reaches
a predetermined high or low level.
Furthermore, a further safety switch 29 and relay 31 are capable
of connecting and disconnecting the energy supply of battery 27
from the fuel oil burner 9 to the heating element 2 when the second
further safety switch 29 is mechanically impacted further motion
sensor 33 measuring predetermined oscillation of the boat during
excessive pitch and roll of boat 11 at sea, thus allowing the chamber
2 to be operational when the boat is at a predetermined position
The apparatus 1 further has a means to limit spillage of water
while the apparatus is being transported by the boat 11 to the site
of the lobster traps at sea, such as a floating baffle board 6 floating
upon the water contained within the chamber 2.
To prevent spillage of the heated water while boat 11 is anchored
on site where the lobster traps 3 are hauled, chamber 2 includes
an inwardly extending lip edge 12 having horizontal walls 22 extending
in from the plurality of upwardly extending walls 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D
of said chamber 2 each wall having an upper end, and a lower end
joined to base 16. Inwardly extending lip walls 22 of inwardly extending
lip 12 are horizontally mounted upon each of the upper ends of walls
2A, 2B, 2C, 2D to substantially prevent spillage of heated water
from chamber 2 while the boat 11 is drifting under pitch and roll
conditions at sea at the site of lobster traps 3.
When boat 11 is drifting at the site where the lobster traps 3
are hauled, the lobster traps 3 may be immersed within chamber 2
over floating baffle 6 thereby causing floating baffle 6 to sink
within the water within chamber 2 when drifting. Since boat 11
is not travelling with excess pitch and roll, only inwardly extending
lip 12 is needed to prevent heated water from spilling over the
upper edge of chamber 2. The inwardly extending lip edge 12 extends
inwardly from the top edges of the plurality of the upwardly extending
walls 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D of chamber 2.
Chamber 2 further includes a hollow channel-like enclosure for
accepting and immersing the lobster trap 3 freely upon heating element
7. The hollow enclosure further has a top side with an open top
passageway 5 for permitting the through-insertion of the lobster
trap 3 for continuous cleaning of the lobster trap 3 within the
hollow enclosure of chamber 2 as a heating flame moves forward
through heating element 7 to heat water at a predetermined temperature
below boiling, at approximately one bar of atmospheric pressure.
Each wall 2A, 2B, 2C or 2D of chamber 2 includes an insulation
portion 13 having a spaced apart pair of panels 14 15 each respectively
and vertically located over insulation portion 13. Therefore, each
respective wall 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D has a central cavity panels 14 15
between for insulating the heated water within chamber 2 from the
exterior of chamber 2.
Moreover, chamber 2 is provided with a pair of bores 23 24 therethrough,
the bores respectively being positioned to facilitate the forward
direction of heating flame between heat source 9 and output end
10 of apparatus 1 so as to pass the heating flame forwardly through
the respective registered bores 23 24 of chamber 2. Through-bore
23 is further provided with respective joint 26 and through-bore
24 is provided with respective joint 25 for receiving and holding
heating element 7 within said chamber 2.
In summary, the present invention includes an apparatus 1 for cleaning
multi-slatted, multi-corded lobster traps 3 and 3A on board a lobster
boat 11 including a hollow heating chamber 2 for immersion of the
lobster traps 3.
The chamber 2 is adapted to hold heated water for cleaning the
lobster traps 3 and is heated by a heating element 7 within the
chamber 2 for raising and maintaining the temperature of the water
within the chamber 2.
As noted, to provide heat, a hollow sealed heating element 7 communicates
with fuel burner 9 thereby providing heated gas to the sealed heating
element 7. The sealed heating element 7 is provided with a plurality
of generally vertical linear baffles 8 8a, 8b, 8c etc. for directing
heated gas fluid through sealed heating element 7 for heating the
water, within which the lobster traps 3 are immersed. The rear ends
of baffles 8 8a, 8 b, 8c etc. within heating element 7 are placed
in a generally V-shaped configuration within the sealed heating
element, for directing the heated gas from one input end 7A of the
sealed heating element 7 to an output end 7B of sealed heating element
Moreover, there is provided a means to insulate the chamber 2
including a plurality of first interior wall panels 15 adjacent
to the chamber 2. A plurality of second, exterior extension wall
panels 14 extend in spaced relation away from first interior walls,
so that the second extension walls 14 define an exterior of the
heated chamber 2. Finally, a mounting means 16 with footings 17
is provided for mounting the heated chamber 2 upon a deck of the
lobster boat 11.
Therefore, the present invention solves the long felt need of lobster
boat fishermen to utilize an apparatus for cleaning lobster traps
of marine debris on site at sea, without the need for cleaning chemicals
or high pressure water systems, thus efficiently cleaning the lobster
traps without damaging the fragile vinyl covered wire or wooden
elements of the traditional lobster traps used at sea.
Other modifications will become apparent to those skilled in the
lobster fishing art, and such modifications may be made to the present
invention without departing from the spirit and scope of the present
invention, as noted in the appended claims.