The Barge is a breakwater built to protect the house and terraces from waves. It was playfully designed to look like a boat. James Deering commissioned all of the sculptures from American artist Alexander Stirling Calder in 1915.
The local limestone that covers the Barge is soft and porous. The salt water and storm waves of Biscayne Bay have significantly eroded the Barge, threatening the stability of its statuary and decorative reliefs. The lower landing steps are submerged due to rising waters.