One of the signature events on the Las Vegas Strip is the sight of two ships blasting cannon fire at one another until triumphant pirates sink the British frigate into the bay. Buccaneer Bay announced the Grand Opening of Treasure Island with a literal bang.
The largest moving piece of scenery in the world at the time of construction, the project required a team of dozens of ironworkers, underwater welders, pipefitters, and electricians to install the hydraulic, mechanical and control systems required to send the huge ship to a watery grave.
The Technical Integration Challenges
The technical design required elements picked from the worlds of industrial automation, oil drilling equipment, deep sea diving and hydraulics. A motorized roller coaster track moved the sixth-rate 28-gun British frigate into the cove. “Cannons” belched fire across a walkway crowded with thousands of tourists each hour, requiring stringent safety and control systems. Then a 725 hp hydraulic system pulled the ship under the man-made waves created in the million-and-a-half gallon Bay, and raised it 20 minutes later to reset for the next show.