Consider the crew-owned-and-operated model. Does a cruise ship fit the model of a seastead if the people who own and operate it live on it permanently? If they provide a service to tourists in exchange for the resources the ship requires to operate?
How about a freighter that is crew-owned and operated, that has a few extra cabins for paying passengers, and itinerant business persons?
Here: for the cost of a house: http://www.maritimesales.com/TEE10.htm
How is it different from the stationary tourist destination seastead? Surely we’re not suggesting that everyone who visits is a resident that must be wholly supported by the seatead? Elmer made a point about the operating budget of a cruise ship being $120/day/passenger… doesn’t matter what the operating budget is per passenger, it matters whether the overall operating budgets still allows for a profit that is sufficient to support the owners/crew. If the operating costs are $120/passenger/day and the parasitic costs of the crew support are $75/day and you’re charging $300/day then you are still ahead.
A tourist operation that is family run obviously differs from a corporate run business in certain standards, available resources, and business goals. The platform, building, and other capital equipment might not.
From a website on co-operative business models:
Cooperatives are a type of company in which control is on a one person/one vote basis. Cooperatives can be set up as partnerships or corporations, and in some states, there are worker cooperative statutes. Whatever form a cooperative takes (most are set up as corporations), they qualify for special federal tax benefits. Cooperatives are the oldest form of employee ownership in the United States, dating from the early 1800s. Although they are not common in larger businesses, they make up a large portion of small employee-owned businesses. In the United States, a commonly accepted metric defining “small business” is less than 500 employees and/or 25 million dollars per year in revenue.
Formal voting control must be on a one-person/one-vote basis. Usually most employees must be shareholders, although as many as half can sometimes be excluded. Generally, a cooperative cannot pay dividends, and must pay out any excess earnings not held in the company to employee shareholders based on salary, time worked, or some other work-related basis.
Persons who sell shares to a worker cooperative are exempt from capital gains taxes if the gain is reinvested in U.S. securities. Cooperatives are exempt from double taxation on dividends to employees that are based on time worked or salary rather than equity. Most small businesses will not need to pay out dividends anyway (see discussion in Financial Benefits in a Corporation), but this exemption gives cooperatives more flexible tax planning options than other corporations, letting them treat profits like either an “S” or a “C” corporation without changing their legal structure.
Set-up costs for cooperatives are even cheaper than direct ownership plans for two reasons: worker cooperative laws in many states make it simple to incorporate and qualify as a cooperative; and, there are professionals and organizations offering inexpensive services or financial support for cooperatives.
Typically, a worker cooperative makes employees owners after a probation period. Employees then either buy shares of stock that have real equity value that fluctuates with the company’s value or they purchase a membership share, which has a fixed value that may or may not have interest added on to it as the employee accumulates seniority. When an employee leaves, either the cooperative or another employee buys the share (if it is real equity), or (if it is a membership share), the cooperative pays off the employee and a new employee buys a share at the base price.
Most cooperatives establish an internal account to which profits are allocated, usually to all cooperative members based on hours worked or some other equitable measurement of their contribution. These profits are deductible to the company, but taxable to the employee. When employees leave, they are paid out their account balances, usually with interest. In the interim, cooperatives may also pass some of the profits directly through to members, perhaps to help them pay taxes they owe on the profits allocated to their accounts.
Also has some similarities to the pirate ship business model some have advanced as an organizational principle.