Rose Key is an archipelago in Monroe County, Florida located a few miles north of the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo. The island chain boasts a storied past, from the discovery of Biscayne Bay by Ponce de Leon to the CIA using Rose Key as a safe house and training area. The CIA used Rose Key for Cuban liberation operations until after the Bay of Pigs invasion. More recently, the popular 80’s TV show Miami Vice used Rose Key as a film location. Rose Key was named in honor of Rose Zumpano, a long time South Florida philanthropist, who loved to show people the turquoise waters and magic of the Florida Keys.
IMM Quality Boat Lifts has been fortunate enough to be involved with many of the island’s marine construction projects. Our very first project involved some of the island’s unique history. The CIA built a marine railway to launch watercraft into the island’s southern channel and over the years, it had become inoperable. We repaired the concrete structure, replaced the ruined steel rails with aluminum rails, upgraded the machinery to a push-pull system and built a new shuttle to accommodate the Rose Key’s Carolina skiff. The next set of projects involved installing some boat lifts, including a modified version of our solar-powered kayak lift to accommodate their flats boat. These projects were standard fare for a boat lift manufacturer of our size and caliber, but the following projects will highlight the design, engineering and manufacturing capabilities no other boat lift company possesses.
When you have an amazing client like the Zumpano family, you often get asked to take on projects that are outside your normal product line. They wanted to build an elevated pier style walkway to provide access from the compound’s center to the southeast tip of their barrier island. This walkway would cross the horseshoe-shaped canal system that encircles the main island. They wanted a retractable bridge to cross the canal that would be installed as a seamless part of their elevated pier walkway. We built them a Vlotburg bridge and decked it to match the walkway. Below you can see the bridge under construction and a video showing how easy the bridge is to retract by hand.
The elevated pier walkway was the project that tested our manufacturing capacity. We needed to manufacture many thousands of feet of aluminum handrailing. Some of the handrailing was manufactured on an angle to deal with changes in elevation. Below, you can see the walkway under construction, some of the engineered sections, the completed walkway, and finally, a drone video that really highlights the magnitude and scope of the elevated pier aluminum handrail project.
The elevated pier walkway at Rose Key was designed to terminate with a gazebo. They needed railing around the gazebo along with some gates. We designed some aluminum columns with a stainless-steel cable railing system to accomplish this project. Below are some photos of an engineered rendering of the gazebo, the gates and the gazebo under construction.
As amazing as the Rose Key construction projects have been so far, we are not finished yet. We are in the final stages of manufacturing some innovative new lift products to install at Rose Key. We can’t wait to show you them, but that will have to happen in a future blog post. Until then, Happy boating!