Long stay cruise ships

(Larry G) #16

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:

Worker Cooperatives
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.

(Matias Volco) #17

You poised the problem and solved it in the same post.
A cruise ship, any ship, will have to maximize its density to serve as a vehicle which needs mooring, maintenance, and manoeuvering through obstacles.
When steel and speed are taken out of the equation we can imagine large floating islands with a much lower density than a cruise ship.

Cruise ships are self sustaining in the same way resort towns are, and in fact the same way all urban areas are.
Ocean colonization can take the urban model as is, or further.
Land based cities continue using patterns deviced thousends of years before industrialization. Flowing Ocean Dwellings will be created against the backdrop of the challenges of industrialization-environmentalism

(Larry G) #18

There, fixed it for you. Density is ONE way of doing that. It works by increasing volume of a fixed percentage profit.

Another way is cutting costs (including the construction costs you cite), which can provide a higher percentage of profit at the same price and volume.

Another way is enhancing the (perceived, at least) value of the goods/services being provided and charging more.

The freighters taking on passengers are not profiting based on passenger volume. They are profiting based upon low costs for otherwise unused capacity.

(Matias Volco) #19

Sailboats both expensive and bargain are cramped too. As are even the most luxurious cabins in airliners. A key and simple aspect of seasteading (be it a ranch or a city) is that while mobile it would not be a vehicle.

(Larry G) #20

No argument here. But so are condominiums, apartment buildings, and most inner city accommodations- it’s a matter of preference and conditioning as to whether that is a deal-breaker or not.

I disagree. The key points are (relative) permanence and (relative) freedom from established social/governmental control. Everything else is a matter of preference.

(Matias Volco) #21

The point is that since we don’t want a high maintenance material and we don’t care about speed, then the habitat doesn’t need to be dense, in fact it would be a lot cheaper to create big volumes at sea than elsewhere.
If you need higher economic activity at the least possible connective cost, you might put the structures closer together. If your business or lifestyle allows for more distance between humans, that is also easier to achieve on sea than in the desert.

In the Aquaculture graphic you might prefer the dwelligs on the far right corner while JW might feel at home on the far left town.

We all have different definitions of what a seastead is. For me if a marine structure suffers biofouling it’s closer to a vessel. If it experiences bioenhancement it’s probably a seastead.

(Larry G) #22

I actually really appreciate this point: however, I have a VERY hard time believing that bio-accumulation will ever be anything but bio-fouling for floating structures. No matter how much you might benefit from it in the short term as a FAD, eventually, bio-accumulation on a floatie WILL be a detriment.

Maybe. It still remains to be proven. It is expensive to create vertical volumes on land (sky scrapers). Engineering to use 2-D lateral sprawl (where available) is not expensive at all. However, for air-breathers, volume at sea necessarily takes into account the third dimension, whether it is height above the wave, depth below the wave, or time (the wave period and all associated motion). Even a broad flat seastead has expenses associated with stability that don’t exist for land structures. You don’t have to contest with other people to use the lateral sprawl (much) but the cost to make it useful is far higher than the average cost to use lateral sprawl in the absence of contenders on land. The difference is, even far away from other people, you don’t avoid the cost of creating volume on water.

“High maintenance” is a relative concept. Water is in constant motion, as is everything on it. Even maintaining position is a maintenance cost.

Re-purposing something that has already been amortized is a relatively low cost.

(Matias Volco) #23

Yes, every human habitat requires some effort. At seven billion individual sapiens animals, egineering these habitats seems like a reasonable initiative

such as? and for how long does it remain amortized?

(Larry G) #24

Amortized means that the initial cost has been recouped through use. A subsequent purchaser will amortize a lesser cost than the original purchaser.

For example, you buy a machine for $1million. You use it for ten years at which point the government no longer allows depreciation expense deductions against your taxes. Through your business profits, you paid off the original $1million dollars around year 7, and the next three years of production were profit.

That equipment was amortized over 10 years. Residual value remains as long as it functions. However, new equipment is available which will do the job faster. So you purchase a new machine and sell the old one to me.

I purchase your old machine for $100k. It still does just as much work as it did when it was new, which fits my small-scale new business. I will amortize MY expense over a similar period of time. At which point it may or may not still function. If it does, I may sell it for residual value to someone else, etc.

Used commercial vessels have a limited lifecycle compared to new vessels. They may no longer be cost effective to maintain. This does not mean they cannot be maintained, it means that the target profit margin and business model of the owner makes it undesirable to maintain them. They may be obsolete for the business owner’s current model- massive containerized cargo is one such place where volume-oriented business has obsoleted smaller vessels and in fact, smaller ports. This doesn’t mean there is no business for smaller vessels and ports, or that there is no profit in smaller vessels and ports. It simply means that the focus has been shifted away from them. these vessels can be had, in operable condition, for pennies on their original price. If a particular business niche can be identified, they can still be operated. People buy and sell these on a regular basis- there is nothing secret, unique, or impractical about this concept. The only difference is a paradigm shift and good business plan.

There have been owner/operator truck drivers in the U.S. for decades. There are owner/operator charter vessels. There are owner/operator charter aircraft, hotels, tourist destinations, and agricultural co-operatives. Each involves specialized skills, hard work, and good business sense to stay in operation. The main thing that is keeping people from living at sea full time are:

-Costs to maintain the vessel
-Safety & comfort of the platform
-Inertia of the familiarity of land

In reverse order, the last will only be overcome by the adventurous who have personal reasons to immigrate to the sea. Safety and comfort are tough, even well-regulated vessels from high standard countries have minimal comforts and more dangers than standing on ground. Cost to maintain the vessel/platform will only be overcome by having a solid business plan that incorporates the ocean environment as a competitive advantage. All of these have to start with marginal trade-offs to begin with, there won’t be any solution sprung full-grown from the head of Zeus to skip over it, and any plan which goes directly to floating cities without any marginal intervening homestead-like or small, itinerant business steps is about as practical as this:

(Matias Volco) #25

so such as a used ship or platform? I wonder how we never thought of that

(Larry G) #26

Yes, it has been discussed a lot. Every time somebody pooh-poos the idea by saying a ship is not a seastead or there is no value left in used ships, or ships are too high-maintenance to be used as a living platform- even though many of them have been in much rougher use for literally decades before they get scrapped.

If one of the major barriers to a seastead is making the housing cost equivalent to land-based real estate… well; I just pointed out an operational floating platform (otherwise known as a used cargo ship) that costs $325,000. It is 2-3 times the size of a normal house at only slightly above the median house price in my area. It has most of the systems necessary for a number of persons to live on it full time (two, perhaps 3 families). It is entirely feasible that it will still be floating in 30 years with some regular maintenance.

Cost problem solved for the real estate, hey?

(Matias Volco) #27

Personally I never frowned on the idea of repurposing vessels, on the contrary I am very enthusiastic, go ahead you have all my support. I remember Blueseed i.e.
Before the term seasteading had been invente or popularized I was already following on “famous” Western cruise ships being repurposed as Casinos in East Asia.
The Cruise ship hotel in Gibraltar is a good example of a best case scenario.
The SS United States is another, more sad, example.
Even QE2 is just waiting for the inevitable.

As you say it’s quiet obvious and it’s being done, which is great.
I also don’t care about terminology and indeed I’ve said many times that people are already living and making a living in the ocean, from fishing vessels (small or factory trawlers) to lift cranes, to yacthies. If a small sailboat is not enough for your rugged adventurous individualism, then why not?

Also, I very much agree with Ellmer’s gradual, iterative approach:

Which I tried to illustrate in this series

(Larry G) #28

I’ll continue to believe that the real problem is ‘how does one continue to make enough money to maintain the real estate in floating condition AND with a reasonable lifestyle for the inhabitants?’

The bottleneck is NOT the technical platform capabilities, nor is it the cost of the floating ‘real estate’. The bottleneck is making a living without being tied to any specific land. All of the traditional “sea-based” occupations interact regularly with a fixed portion of the enterprise that is land-based.

I don’t necessarily believe that has to stay the case in the future. But people need to polish their business plans as much as they polish their seastead engineering if they ever want to set sail into the sunset for good. Some means of staying at sea are more costly than others- living high like a cruise ship passenger and motoring around the wide ocean to exotic tropical locations while sipping umbrella drinks is probably a lot harder to pay for than anchoring in a sheltered bay and fishing for a living.

(Matias Volco) #29

I agree, the technnical bottleneck is solved, now the economic bootstrapping begins.
Making a living at sea, or nomadially onine, is already possible. Perhaps what’s needed is the possibility of a “home base” that is not tied to land. Like a storage unit for the “cloud”. That’s why I picked the ramform as an initial model, a floating harbour that can act as land-independent shelter and trade hub.

(Larry G) #30

There are serious technical reasons why that is unlikely. This IS within my specialty, and I can tell you that no business that is concerned about reliability would consider it. You can barely convince management that the cloud can be secure and reliable for any purpose, without poising their storage above a mile of water. And as a technical feasibility issue, I wouldn’t put my datacenter on such a platform either. The amount of power and HVAC required for a reliable datacenter of even moderate scale is no joke.

It is difficult to seriously envision a business model which doesn’t take advantage of something unique to the ocean environment being more successful than its land-borne counterpart, given the additional expenses and effort involved in simply not sinking.

(Matias Volco) #32

While data centers have been suggeted that is not what I meant by storage units for the cloud. I’ll try to refrain from using metaphors in the future.

What I meant is places (like homes, warehouses, literal storage units) right next to a berth, where people already living in a sailboat or a workboat can dock and rent space, buy water, refuel, trade stuff.
At the beginning it could be a base in between two Caribbean or Polynesian islands. If that’s the case a small hotel would not take too much time to spring up and the benefits of increased hotel rooms without the environmental cost of more land development or large cruise ships might be seen by the local population, authorities and investors.
On the long run we can envision every huma activity including data servers or hydroponic lettuce farms - the latter link shows us a way to that. here it is again:

The Ocean is the only environment that is naturally suited for an already Globalized World, and one of the few blank slates on which to build a physical civilization with computers in mind (or from theh get go).

If that satement sounded grandiose consider one arbitrary business model out of many:
Take a small paradise caye, uninhabited and environmentally protected, but a popular day spot for yachties and tourists. There is a populated island nearby which acts as commercial hub, but this island is increasingly overpopulated and its beautiful shores are threteaned by large hotel chains.

A tourist can snorkel with the turtles, play Gilligan for a few hours, and then retire to relax or party in a moskito free, hussle free, environment.

An native islander may prefer to profit from tourism without irreversibly destroying the beaches where he grew up, or turning beautiful protected bays into more marinas.

In this case the “interference free zone” offered by the Marine Environment can extend way beyond traditional marine activities such as fishing, trading and mining.


AAAAaaaaaaaa MEN!!!

Should say 'what TSI pretends… Scary thought, we actually agree on something…

… and yet, even through this whole argument, nobody touches on Seasteading. Cruise-ships… blah-blah-blah.

Where, EXACTKY does the homesteading part come into play…? Charge $50/meal, buy $10 worth of groceries and pay someone to cook them. Spend some inordinate amount on fuel making circles.

THAT, is NOT even CLOSE to the origins of the term.

… which is why I’ve opened my own forum, to try to encourage the development of ‘Gulfsteads’. Homesteads in Gulfs. FWIW, I expect to BUILD a vessel and moor it in the Gulf of Mexico. Not TALK, not raise funds to spend talking and writing books, not beg donations and take fancy vacations under the guise of negotiations.

This forum, for all its inherent documentation, and even the bickering that lead to very precise models that should work, has become, yet again, a dead-end.

Maybe the next iteration of the forum will get something accomplished. Meanwhile, I plan to build and live it. To Hell with ‘talk’. Get out and DO.

(Wilfried Ellmer) #34


• Living on a ship | investor reaction A in the key conversation | evolutionary path of seasteading | pointless experiments | diferentiation houseboat - seasteading |

• Budget per day and real estate squaremeter | oil industry | shipping industry | housing | budget factor 1000 |

• Understand the life cycle of ships | understand marine industry | no value beyond scrap after service life is over


That is wholly dependent upon design, materials, construction and maintenance. Despite the ongoing back-and-forth ferrocement debates, there are WW-I and WW-II ferrocement hulls STILL afloat, and, though not being used as any sort of housing, or even as ships, they endure beyond all projected ‘life-cycle’…

With the potential of newer materials and newer techniques, superior design, and building with an eye toward adaptability of the space, a well-thought design can be used for generations, not just a few years then scrapped.

As long as the hull is designed to BE adaptable, within its’ parameters of operation and not simply build with planned obsolescence in mind, using quality materials, and engineering, then it can live indefinitely. To me, that precludes using plastics in most portions of the project. As for ongoing maintenance, I am a strong believer in the old-school ‘pair and a spare’. Parts that require routine replacement and maintenance should be on-hand, from packing-nuts to porthole seals, as well as cables, mooring lines, even fenders.

If Seasteading is going to become an enduring future reality, then there HAS to be such consideration, to establish that permanence. Cruise-ships are not designed for such longevity, nor are they built for it. Between metal fatigue, corrosion, they WILL become scrap, so what’s the point of discussing it as a feasible practice, if the materials aren’t up to the need for such endurance?

I can hardly wait to further my experiments with Geopolymer, in the upcoming months. THAT is the future, and the future of materials, as well as designing and building for permanence.

(Larry G) #36

Service life is determined by business model as often as by engineering. Particularly for a cruise ship, when ripping out and repairing the worn furnishings to make it look “shiny” is impractical and expensive. I do not suggest that anything like a current mega-cruise liner is a seastead model. I’m saying the basic design of the vessel will have a lot of systems in common. The model has lessons to be drawn from, not slavishly copied.

An unattainable luxury for historical homesteaders, probably just as much for seasteaders.

Cargo ships have routinely seen service in the 30-50 years lifespan. Even steel vessels. Most of the obsolescence was driven by changing business practice as much as the feasibility of maintaining the vessels. Improved tech and materials and engineering practice drive obsolescence as well- when the clear benefits of new construction beats repair and maintenance for a business driven by a targeted profit margin. Profit margin calculations vary a bit for owner-operators and people who are simply trying to achieve a given lifestyle.Lots of dive operators will operate boats that you would not see on display at a mega resort.

Businesses change buildings over the decades. (shrug) A successful sea-borne community will necessarily have a multi-generational mindset, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they have to live in the same house or all of that. If a beginning seastead community could be started on a used vessel with the intent of getting the enterprise moving then new “daughter” platforms would naturally be a goal.