Affordable Seastead based on ABS Barges

(Larry G) #27

How is it too expensive for protected waters? The TSI proposal for Polynesia is 30 million dollars. A used barge can be had for about a million, a brand new one built to spec (for standard barge operations) for under 5 million, in sizes that compare to the TSI proposal. Building a barge to spec for middle class living and working spaces should still come in much cheaper than TSI’s fantasy budget.

Flotation is a well-understood construction. What needs innovation and MOST OF ALL social momentum, is the human factor design for permanently living on flotation, at a price attractive enough to entice numbers of people.

The human factor is comfortable living space for families, working space for occupations other than keeping the vessel afloat and moving cargo, and either affordable transportation or some kindof local production/occupation alternatives that minimize the necessity of off-platform travel.


I’m not sure whether this thread is best or another thread. I definitely think the economy of a seastead is important.

Roughly 1/3 of the population can be employed in the crew, service and upkeep of the platform.

That leaves 2/3 of the population idle. Internet is not good. Someone mentioned the hope for fast internet above. I think Satellite links may get some speeds, but the idea of everyone watching netflix is definitely not the case. The time zone is not conducive to remote work with either Europe or US or any other populated region, so remote work is not really realistic.

So what I forsee is a massive unemployment problem. 50% of the population without a job, or a career level job as we see them here in the US.

Making a living at sea has been possible for millenia | oceanic business alliance
(Larry G) #29

Internet: depends on location. A local ISP function is one type of career that creates value for the residents, and this can include some services that require local specific accommodations, such as caching proxies. When I was overseas, and we used VSAT terminals, we downloaded torrents and kept a media share. Not strictly legal, but there are also legal ways to do this. In many places today, there are still very limited local television options, and it’s not exactly an item on the basic hierarchy of needs. When people are busy with vital, inspiring things, they don’t tend to watch that much TV.

If we take note of remote islands as a model for both problems and solutions, we see that yes, employment at rewarding (financially and otherwise) work can be difficult. It’s one of the problems to solve for any physically isolated community.

I haven’t considered it specifically from the point of view of how many people are involved in the upkeep of the average town vs people who earn outside currency. There must be some info on this out there somewhere.


Approximately 50% of the ‘cost’ of a yacht is design, branding, glitz, glam, and certification. 25-30% is materials, the rest is mostly labor.


@thebastidge (et al) - Good point. Regardless of what technology is used and modified to create a floating community, the practical aspects of modular-mobile community development still needs to be explored.

Most specifically (for my interests, anyway) … how might work, play, and housing be done differently in a reconfigurable floating community, as compared to the traditional fixed-location, land-based communities?

(Larry G) #32

On a practical level, if you want to convince people to join you in community elsewhere, it’s generally more advisable to outline how many things will be the same, and only make their current less than optimal aspects change for the better.

For example, the average American has more than adequate access to food, shelter, clothing. People don’t move to gain these things within the US, why would they move to gain them outside the US?

What do people actually move for? Better jobs, better schools, an environment that they prefer (climate, social)…

Work- if you want people to move to the ocean, how do they work at their same job? How does it relate to the work experience they already have? The average person won’t want to start at an entry level when they are already advanced in their career. Some will, most won’t.

Play: Mostly, they’ll want what they already have: electronic entertainment, exercise space, social activities

Housing: the closer you can get it to what they’re used to, the more likely they’ll adopt it. Over time, it will evolve, but initially, you need to give them as close to what they’re used to as possible. Square rooms (have you ever tried to find furniture that fits into rounded corners?) upright, plumb walls, enough head room. You can probably get by with less space than they’re used to if you make it super efficient- especially with cool new toys/ideas/arrangements that appeal to geeks and enthusiasts. But it needs to be more room than a working mariner expects to spend short stints in.

Most people want to move to someplace better, not just to someplace new. So the dynamic aspect of mobility is interesting, but generally people don’t want to actually exercise it all that often, so you need to plan for providing a relatively stable community. People want their kids to have friends, develop relationships with their teachers, and have a social network that eases them into having jobs. Nobody wants to have to make ALL new friends and contacts every single day, month, or even year.

If you can just make the living space safe (enough), affordable (enough), and comfortable (enough) then the inherently mobile nature of the platform and how people adapt to that will take care of itself. You can’t really plan for evolution. It’s a semi-random, subtractive process.

Urban Design Parmeters in a Seastead Environment
(Mariusz) #33

@thebastidge what you wrote is probably the most important paragraph on this forum. To create seasteads or floating cities we need to build a necessary infrastructure for everything that we currently take for granted - from nurseries to workplaces. I have two kids, and while I would love to move to a floating city, for me such city would need to have few “basic” necessities first:

  • modern medical facilities
  • quality schools
  • playgrounds
  • parks (not only aquaparks)
  • entertainment
    So practically everything that an average city around pop. 100k has.

What options do we have? One option is to wait for a few good billionaires to build their floating city, win lottery and move there. Let’s just say that the French Polynesia project is a success - how many of us here will be able to and willing to move there? I’m not even talking about affordability…

Another option is what I called Wild West. People moved west because they were either escaping someone or something, or they were trying to become rich. Occasionally they found place they liked, build their homesteads, and waited for other people to join them. Homesteads grew into farms, which formed villages, which turned into cities. This process will hardly work for seasteads as you can’t easily just move to the sea and stay there without any support from the rest of the world.

Our third option is an organized ocean colonization effort.
Instead of all that fighting that’s going on here, we should start supporting all of the projects that are being worked on. Either by directly contributing time, money or expertise, or by not attacking other projects or ideologies behind them.
Honestly does it really matter to anyone if the first project would be built by @ellmer, or if it would be Marinea? Would it really be bad if @JL_Frusha did succeed with his incubator project?
Wouldn’t it be nice if all of them succeeded?

People here need to realize that they we are just a group of dreamers without the necessary resources, knowledge and connections to build seasteads on our own. We either have to work together and put our differences aside, or we will never see a floating city.

(Larry G) #34

Let me fix this:

But then, nobody has the resources to build a land city on their own, either.

If you go back to the concept of the seastead, a homestead on the sea, then we quite likely have the resources necessary to be successful on the micro scale. Most people throughout history, have not been pioneers, have had no desire to move to a frontier, and are not rugged individualists willing to risk their lives and their sacred fortunes to better themselves. Hell, most people won’t risk missing out on prime time TV to better themselves.

You don’t need most people. All they do is drag you down. Check out Albert J. Nock and his concept of reaching the rump.


That Wild West Approach is exactly what I propose, though. Very few simply took off for truly distant, uninhabited places. Gradually moving further makes far more sense.

So, 6 miles, or so, offshore isn’t the nearest doughnut hole of International waters. It IS far enough to be able to gain the space necessary for mariculture, far enough that Walmart is a serious trip, but the hospital and Walmart are both available under gpod weather conditions.

Schools, daycare and such are commumity projects. Until there are people, there is no chance of commumity. Most won"t come. Few will. Many will quit. Doesn’t mean it can’t work.

My own concept puts a smaller home at new luxury home cost levels. All DIY. THAT is also within pipneering expenses, where they loaded the wagon, went, and built.

(Mariusz) #36

I on the other hand, think that we need a mixed approach. We do need a few pioneers, but it would be better for all of us if they were “launched” with support of a bigger group. One of the reason why I think Marinea project could succeed, is that they propose to start a seastead by buying a barge that will act as a center of the village. Problem with that is that it needs large upfront investment and I’m not sure how far are they and how likely it is that they will succeed in a next few years.

Maybe what we do need is a controlled Wild West approach. It would be easier if we had “outposts” that would support seasteaders. If we had local groups that support their “local pioneers”, everyone would benefit.
So, who wants to be the pioneer?:slight_smile:


Go for it. TSI has the same approach at ~$660/ sq ft. Problem is the millions and billions involved, building a complete city, with all systems in place, before anyone can move it, moor it, and move in.

Landluber's Guide to Seasteading Feasibility
(Mariusz) #38

Maybe I wasn’t clear… I don’t want us to work on big projects for millions or billions of dollars as that will never get us anywhere. What I would rather see is creation of small groups that help people actively working on getting their seasteads ready in exchange for their support when other seasteaders are ready to join them.

(Larry G) #39

This is why I propose a Co-Op model. As I have pointed out many times, used barges and ships are readily available for the cost of a median-priced US home, with several times the cubic space available for the use of multiple families.

(Mariusz) #40

That makes a lot of sense but the network effect will be really hard to overcome. It will be hard to get enough people interested in seasteading to gather in one location, buy that barge and renovate it. How do we overcome this problem?

(Larry G) #41


Well-thought-out, realistic business plans.

It’s hard to get any group of people to do anything. You can’t even easily get people to sit down to dinner on time. Doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

Having recently run a business that grossed in the half million dollars per year range, for 5 years and folded last year, I’ll tell you nothing in business is EASY. Getting loans for untried concepts is especially difficult. But Co-ops allow for a much less formal investment structure, as an employee-owned enterprise.

Some examples of businesses that could realistically be employee-owned (and have land-based cognates that prove out the business structure):

-Fishing (traditional owner-operated fishing vessels worked on shares as part of the compensation structure)
-bio-fuels processing

(EK) #42

This question might be way too large scope, but if someone wanted to try starting one of those, what would be the first steps do you think?

(Matous Horal) #43

read baugruppe manual and think about it in terms of seasteading. form a community and work on ideas of community living and how to make it happen through [quote=“thebastidge, post:41, topic:1953”]
Well-thought-out, realistic business plans.
If you would happen to be from central Europe, then we can join forces…

(Mariusz) #44

I think we can and should join forces even if we’re on different continents. A lot of work and discussion can be done online.

(Larry G) #45

The concept I am most interested in personally, is mobile bio-fuels processing. The coconut trade is traditionally established in the Pacific and east/southeast Asia. Palm oil as well. Bio-diesel is fairly easy to make, the capital equipment costs are not insignificant but reasonable, and the level of knowledge required is achievable by starting out as a hobbyist.

I am not 100% sure that it can be done at a profit given the fuel costs of moving a ship from island to island. That would take some more research. That would be the difficult part. Trimming the inefficiencies, maximizing profit, that takes some expertise. Strategic market planning.

But I know that the operations portion CAN be done in a space that is readily available on existing commercial vessels for sale in the sub-million range. I know that multiple operations- pyrolitic re-processing of plastics into fuel, bio-diesel, bio-gas methane production- these could all be done (simultaneously) on a 300’ vessel, with plenty of room left over for housing the workers/owners.

Mobil Bio-fuels processing
(Larry G) #46

I’m in the Pacific NW of the United States. I’m interested in US Pacific Coast projects, primarily, and secondarily, in Gulf of Mexico/Caribbean.

I like the baugruppe reference, thanks! There are a number of resources in the US and Canada on starting and running co-operative business and non-profit enterprises.