Some questions about self-sufficiency and costs


I have just found this site, so I have some questions probably answered elsewhere. If so, please just point me to the answers.

Are there any discussions about seasteading with self-sufficient modules, where module-module and module-land cooperation is not a must, but an option? The concept drawings do not seem to reflect such thinking. An 50mx50m platform can only produce food for a handful of people, even with state-of-the-art aquaponics amended with marine aquaculture, but we see considerable amount of housing. A sea-level platform needs external breakwaters, and not suitable for offshore operations, as opposed e.g. to a semi-submersible floating platform (SSFP) already widely used in oil industry. Actually I don’t see justification of housing/storage not being part of the structure already (SSFP arguably gives more opportunities to do it comfortably). I also see no sign of serious considerations for energy needs, both for domestic use and platform transportation. A small number of wind turbines and some solar panels would be a logical choice. (Though solar takes precious surfaces away from agriculture.)

What about building cost reduction using locally obtained energy and resources? And hosting the manufacturing process on the platform itself, for a kind of self-replication? I can’t help thinking about building glass honeycomb structures using SLM (Selective Laser Melting) using excess wind and solar, though perhaps in situ manufacture of cement would be more feasible with current technology (and would need more materials to be sourced in already manufactured form).

(Chad Elwartowski) #2

I believe the goal of each module is to be closed loop.

There are many things to consider when it comes to seasteading. Talking about a seastead out in the open seas and a seastead in a protected lagoon are completely different animals.

Most focus right now is on Phase 1 which is a seastead in protected waters.

Talk about seasteads out in the open ocean is just mental masturbation at this point. Most real solutions will come from those living on the seastead. Not on Internet forums.


It seems to be impossible with the amount of housing and sea area (hence area available per people) depicted in the designs.

While I also believe that real solutions will come from those actually trying it, one needs a feasibly looking plan (independence from others’ resources help in feasibility) and sane entry costs to try. I am looking for these.

(Wilfried Ellmer) #4

@magwas | you might consider the evolutionary approach as a guideline.

This means: the next step of seasteading is the marine engineering of today developing a step further along the evolutionary line -
… with a light twist toward longer stay - less ship like - more island like - the basic inspiration is existing yachts, cruiseships, oil rigs, floating wharfs, floating marinas, floating dry docks, afloat ship repair installations, etc…

Floating heavy industrial concrete building method | bubble cluster structure | oil rig base |

Next development step | light floating honeycomb shells | freeforming instead of mass cast | wave impact safe dome clusters | ramform floating marinas | light shell building method |

The designs will be the same designs that are out there, and working well already - they will be scaled up a bit in size - and scaled down a factor 10 in cost per squaremeter real estate.

Short living steel plate construction (designed for short living ships in quick transport ) will be replaced by longer living and more permanent ( 200 years design life) concrete shells (as we see it already in the north sea oil rig developments, wind turbine bases, undersea tunnels, and bridges. ) .

Actually there are people living at sea in this very moment - some of them for months in a row . Some of them in bays (the mayority) some of them in open sea. ( oil rig workers | fishermen | yachties | military personel | Tanka | etc. )

Tanka, Uros, and similar cultures are living in floating cities for at least 1200 years showing that living at sea is not only for the rich.

Venice - “The floating City” has a successfull business model based on oceanic trade and ships for 1500 years.

Floating Marina City - New Venice - light concrete honeycomb shell construction.

If you imagine a seastead as a “self sufficient prepper thing out in the middle of the oceanic nowhere” this should be considered rather an extreme exotic seasteading flavor than the seasteading default. The closest thing to a seastead we see today is probably a marina or an oceanic port - seasteading will be extremly well connected to the oceanic trade superhighways - rather VENICE than PITCAIRN in the general society setup. Nothing is in short supply in a port. Just make sure you are on the sunny side of globalization and oceanic trade.

Seasteading is a “meta idea” it has many development axes. Seasteads will come in many forms and colors run many business models and host many ideas. Like any city a seastead is not about one thing - it is about a living microcosmos of things, designs, businesses, structures, and ideas, living together as a “integrated organism” in close proximity.

What will be done will be decided rather by investors and business owners than by "political steering ".

In a way you can compare it to internet - there where computers and connections between computers long before internet - but at some point it just transcended into something new without anybody inventing it or steering it. Massivication and availabilty added an new dimension to computer connections internet was born. In the same way the floating marinas yachtie communities and port infrastructure of today at some point will transcend to ocean colonization and the building of full sized oceanic cities . Leading to oceanic societies that are different just as city folk and land folk differentiated in medival times.

Technology is ripe to allow settlements almost everywhere - first in the water mantle of the planet the inner space - later in outer space…


Prepper solutions:
Oceanic Business Alliance Work Hypothesis: Reasonable Self sufficiency for a family of 4 can be achieved in an ocean sphere of 12m diameter (incuding surface independent breathing)

Costs: At Oceanic Business Alliance we handle a cost target of USD 80 per real estate square-foot (TSI handles a target of USD 500 per square-foot ) (floorspace).

A real estate square meter is about 10.7 square foot floorspace - what means the volume equivalent of 2.5 cubic meter space at a room height of 2,5m. (light method)

The black blimp shape built in Cartagena (oceanic business alliance) is the space equivalent of a 68 squaremeter apartment (727 square foot) | cost USD 90 K | displacement 200 tons | it creates a comfortable living space bubble that is equally comfortable in the open sea under storm conditions - no other yacht can give that.

The cutting edge of marine concrete shell technology “submarine habitat” | @nautilusmaker

A seastead is an infrastructure development that allows the come together of many ideas vehicles and business forms on the water.

Business Plan

Phase 1 is concluded the point is made - next in the evolutionary line - Revolution in the real estate market - real estate going oceanic.

Context: sustainability of the human project.

Hypothesis : in the next 3 decades all human activity on the planet needs to become “closed loop” by default

light tubular honeycomb shell - construction principle

lens shape | design Matias Volco | @Matias | light honeycomb shell | wave impact resistent | originally drafted for the Marinea project |

A honeycomb shell structure of the kind that is “out there already”… | draw backs - high cost - short lifespan … high turn around business plans only | budget base USD 120 per day per passenger | 15 years lifespan - too short for real estate applications |

(Chad Elwartowski) #5

You can see this as an example of what is currently possible:


Okay, an evolutionary approach would be to combine what we already have: a boat as habitat, and marine agriculture. No big scale architecture, at least initially, and everything floating right on the surface. Marine agriculture mostly needs buoyancy and ropes. Any plants usable as buoyant construction material and fiber for ropes and can be grown in saltwater?

(Larry G) #7

You can close some loops, but there is no 100% closed system other than the planet itself, and even that can be run out of resources if we try too hard.

If you want sustainability, some of it has to be through economic activity and trade. A subsistence living is a pretty miserable one no matter where you are.

But you are still on the right track with your instinct to close loops. Just don’t expect it to be 100%.

Look to island examples, but don’t slavishly copy them. Take what works for minimal agriculture, mariculture, aquaculture, and industry and apply it. Think of things perhaps in village scale instead of individual homes, because historical homesteaders generally found benefit from the network effect of proximity to other homesteaders.

Building a sea metropolis in one go neither seems feasible, nor desirable. But village level works for community/social and economic aspects Bette than the extremes.


Yes … there are some people in this forum who perceive of individualized, self-sufficient (really, “semi-sufficient”) modules in much the same way as early-adopter families colonized America’s western frontier in the past.

Within that group, there are discussions about individual power production, homestead aqua-agriculture, waste disposal, etc., etc.

The assumption is, most frequently, that such individual seasteads would be capable of providing for their daily needs, and be able to link-up or de-link with other seasteaders without sacrificing individual autonomy.

Others think primarily of communities that are urbanized, in that certain basic needs are only met through community infrastructure.

Is that the general direction you were headed in asking that question, @magwas?


Technically … “the universe”, but your point is important.

If a seasteader needed open-heart surgery, I imagine a self-sufficient seasteader module would be insufficient for that need.

We all live, to some degree, “in community”.

(Bob LLewellyn) #10

There is a difference between self sufficient and self dependent. To be self sufficient all one needs to do is produce more than is consume. Villages at sea can produce more sea food than it can use so trade is born.

There are a lot of articles that we put together to address a lot of the normal first questions that new Mariners tend to ask. If you have a question try
That site is available for any Mariner to add articles to or to use themselves. Kind of like an information library of ocean colonization. For example one article not yet added shows how we can raise beef at sea.
Within 3 to 5 years a Village at Sea can become as self sufficient as any that you can find anywhere.


Hi magwas,

Most of the questions you have regarding self-sufficiency and costs have been address in detail during the years in a lot of threads that unfortunately have been already archived by now.

The general consensus seems to be that self-sufficiency on a seastead = the ability to generate enough profit in order to import food, supplies, etc. Growing your own food on a seastead doesn’t make to much “dollar and sense” since it takes around 1 acre to feed 1 person.

In terms of cost, that subject is a work in progress, I guess.


Actually, as I’ve posted elsewhere, 3 tons of fruits and vegetables on 1/10 acre has been achieved organically and sustainably, but it takes work and organization to do it.


Well,…while that might be remarkable ON LAND, it still doesn’t make “dollar and sense” ON A SEASTEAD.

Lets do the math.

Would you allocate $430.000,00 (1/10 of and acre @ $100/sq.ft construction cost) so you can produce 16 pounds of vegetables/day (6000 pounds per year divided by 365 days) that might not even be enough to feed,…8 PEOPLE?

Not to mention the expenses related to generate such high yields,…


Everyone wants to eat, nobody wants to grow food… What’s wrong with that picture?

Imported food costs more. Planters of food, rather than mere pretty shrubbery for ‘public’ spaces, planters at the edge of balconies, window boxes, turn rooftops to gardens, and so on, makes perfect sense.


OK. Go for it…


(Wilfried Ellmer) #17

Yes - the people who like it to live on barges and boats are doing that already. Fitting out a boat, a ship, or a barge is no step further on the evolutionary line.

What Mati (@Matias) designed here, is for people who have no affinity to houseboats - who like something that feels more like a house than a boat. And it is designed for a single family to own and handle.

It is a floating island rather than a boat. It can operate in the context of a yacht anchor field, host a boat party, take waves over the bow like a ship (wind faning) . A great, well protected, water access in the “harbor like” stern feature . Protection where it is needed openess where it can be. Cost target: USD 80/square foot | This reaches the strategic target of making floating real estate more economic than land based real estate - what is a “strong evolutionary improvement” compared to the existing yachting sector. And also a strong evolutionary improvement compared to the land based real estate / housing sector.

The self sufficiency depends mostly on the items and installation you stuff into that light honeycomb cement composite shell


btw, @ellmer has a bad habit of ‘inviting’ people to his forums then demanding money for his schemes. Took both Joe and Randy to get my ‘account’ closed…

(system) closed #19

This topic was automatically closed 100 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.