TSI's biggest challenges

(Martin Hofmann) #1

What are in your opinion the biggest challenges of creating a Seastead?
Is it for example engineering, legal framework, funding the project or other?

I read a lot that the engineering is not that much of a big problem because there are already technical solutions available for most of the upcoming challenges today.
The legal framework is always said to be very hard – in which way exactly? And is it still hard even after you found French Polynesia as a host for the first Seastead (Floating Island Project)?
What’s the current state of progress in financing the project?
What else would you say?

(Wilfried Ellmer) #2

Hello Martin, great to have your here.

My opinion: If it where easy - marine nations like spain, portugal, england, would have built floating cities long ago.

• There is a technology bottleneck why it did NOT happen before.
• We are now in conditions to solve this bottleneck and do it.

• What markets a seastead has to compete with

(Larry G) #3

Hands down, financing the construction is the biggest challenge.

Many factors contribute to cost- scale, design/test/insuring new (applications of) technology, level of comfort/convenience/luxury. For homestead-class seasteads, financing becomes more realistic- but comes at higher risk, less options due to less robust engineering.

‘De Jure’ political autonomy of the seastead is another huge hurdle. But it’s one that is essentially moot until a seastead actually exists that is capable of being outside an EEZ. It’s also increasingly unlikely (and generally less necessary) for homestead class projects.

(Martin Hofmann) #4

Thanks Wilfried!
Is it “gut instinct” or do you have specific technology topics in your mind?
When I read about the seasteading engineering problems it says most of the time “look how the cruise ship industry already solves the problem”. And in Joe Quirks latest book I read about a lot of great technology which - as it seems - only costs too much for having been built.

(Martin Hofmann) #5

Hey Larry, thanks for your answer! Now that the plans to build a seastead seem to become concrete with the Floating Island Project in French Polynesia (congrats for having come so far by the way) - is there an existing plan to fund that whole project?

(Larry G) #6

When I read about the seasteading engineering problems it says most of the time “look how the cruise ship industry already solves the problem”. And in Joe Quirks latest book I read about a lot of great technology which - as it seems - only costs too much for having been built.

The problem is that most of the technology solutions were developed for high value-add business applications. Providing habitation is not as valuable an activity as shipping, so it must be cheaper to be feasible. It’s about the return on investment more than the absolute cost. How much are people willing to pay to live on a seastead when ordinary, familiar, and ubiquitous land based housing is available?

Until seasteading ‘real estate’ is available that is comparable in cost to land housing (not equal or cheaper, per se, but in the same realm such that the appeal is able overcome the cost) the financing hurdle cannot be solved.

with the Floating Island Project in French Polynesia (congrats for having come so far by the way) - is there an existing plan to fund that whole project?

Difficult to say if there is a realistic plan: https://www.blue-frontiers.com/token-offering/

It seems pretty clear that not all of the funding is in place at this point. Will it be? .

(Matias Volco) #7

Hello Martin

Yes, cruise ships are a good “anchor” for the idea, at a huge operating cost, short lifespan (much less than a human generation, more like a lucky dog), and very high, too high, density - but yes, since the 20th century there are people, civilians, with no marine knowledge whatsoever, living on cruise ships permanently, usually as a retirement option.

On the opposite end of the economic sp. end we have sand landfills, recclaimed coastal territory - without the mobility, interference freedom of a cruise ship.

We are aiming at a creature that llives in that gap.


There are many different approaches represented in this forum. My own focus in more a frontier homestead, while others have far different goals.

Having a place to model, test, then build and launch from is one of the bottlenecks, slowing things drastically. Having the designs drawn up by a willing and knowledgable Naval Architect is a close second. Next, in my honest opinion is meeting/exceeding the legal requirements of the place built, as well as where it is intending to go, and International Maritime Law. Another is financing such a project.

(Chad Elwartowski) #9

As the only one on the forums that can answer that I can only say that anyone that would have that answer is bound by NDA.

You can sign up here to get the latest information on funding the project:

(Chad Elwartowski) #10

I believe the biggest challenges in the past were all related to that big plan of building a seastead 220nm outside of any nation’s border which would give us true national sovereignty.
As Peter Thiel said of such seasteads:
“They’re not quite feasible from an engineering perspective, that’s still very far in the future.”

But TSI’s newly adopted phased approach mitigates that challenge by allowing for addressing the engineering challenges within a protected lagoon with little wave activity while still addressing the idea of floating in an ocean environment. With working toward getting a Special Economic Zone it allows us to dip our toes in the water legislatively giving some sovereignty but not fully, which again addresses some of the legislative challenges.

I believe we will learn a lot with this first phase and hopefully it puts the whole idea in a good light so we can move forward with phase 2 (out a little further from land).

I think the biggest challenges will be that tiny percentage of the population that just does not want anyone to have any more freedom than they currently have and will do anything they can to stop it (under the guise of the environment, fairness, social justice, etc.). It is that factor that you cannot plan for.


In my book, all of the above are secondary. Without the right seasteading concept they don’t mean nothing. And so far, I don’t see any seasteading concept presented for the Bora Bora Project. (not a criticism, just an observation)

Unless, of course, there is one bound by a NDA.

(Larry G) #12

Some folks seemed to be more focused on creating seasteads as a business. Meaning they would be in the business of building seasteads, presumably for “investors”.

However, there doesn’t appear to be a large pool of investors clamoring for a seastead builder, like there were tons of investors for massive cargo ships a few years ago.

Others are focused on building their own, still need financial backing, and have some concept that depends upon a “build it and they will come” mentality. Most of these folks don’t have a business plan (at least publicly available) that would pass a bank loan officer’s “smell test”. Not that they are unethical, just not wholly thought out.

Others have a DIY mindset for family size seasteads. For protected waters, just like the TSI concept, but not extravagant. If others join them with their own family and small business seasteads (or yachts) to form a village, great. If not, then whatever. I personally think this is the seastead concept that will instantiate first and most successfully.

This latter will look like a hodge podge but will be subject to massive evolutionary pressure to be effective.

The first one will continue to stumble on financial feasibility. It’s simply too expensive to return on Investment, doesn’t add enough value. Perhaps if it truly were an independent nation it could but they started out with freedom as the value add and completely compromised on the only thing that had that massive value.

The second will experience some failures that will give a stink to the concept but might work out a few successes too.


A few of us have concepts NOT based on protected waters. My own focus is for the Gulf of Mexico. As the last few weeks have shown, a hazardous area, prone to hurricanes.

(Bob LLewellyn) #14

This maybe a duplicate, my entire post disappeared.

The biggest trouble that TSI faces is logistics. They got some rich friends so they can garner more publicity, money and and support. If the Marinea Project had a 10th of the support that they have, we would be in the water and running.

Logistics, like where is the food to feed the new islanders? How will people easily get there and how do they advertise to draw people to their new floating island? The novelty of a floating island will wear off quickly, what will bring the tourist to their floating island when every quadrant of the planet has one? And logistics like an economical way to get the raw material to construct their island down there or are they really going to tow it over thousands of miles with a fuel cost alone that could bankrupt a small country? What kind of work can it develop? It can’t be all in the service industry. There are some problems, not insurmountable ones, given enough time and money, but problems that are not being currently addressed.

Where was TMP getting its operational income? From existing boat traffic between Florida and Cuba along with the other islands. Like a small town along route 66. We sell gas, food and lodging if needed. The general store would also help those wishing to stay awhile. And a bar for when the work was done. I didn’t see that level of planning to answer the question, where is the FP operating capital coming from? The TMP proposed site was 90 miles from Miami and 40 miles from Cuba, Supplies and inexpensive labor is just minutes from the work site.

That is what the architect, Ted, wrote after he did his feasibility study. Since Ted already talked to TSI, I didn’t feel it was my place to say anything. They may have all that taken care of and just not telling anyone. But TSI’s biggest challenge, to my way of thinking is logistics.

(Martin Hofmann) #15

Thanks for your opinion! Your other answer didn’t disappear, it’s just in the other topic where I introduce myself. They both appeared both at the same time and are next to each other in the news feed. Here’s the real discussion so thanks for copying it! Martin

(.) #16

So, I have belly button too, and an opinion, like every one else.
The biggest obstacle seems to be ‘landlubber logic’.
Probably, the term is not very good, because it might imply that land
people use a different logic to success than the aquatic ones.
Anyways, subordinating efforts and resources of other people to my way,
or any other persons way might be not the correct method.

May be, showing examples could be an effort.
In my opinion, the idea of operational research shows up of how much
effort and resources can be invested to find new ways without injuring
the main resources. What is the acceptable risk ratio?

What is the expected return on the risk? What happens if the bet is
not placed? Possible outcomes, expected outcomes, desired outcomes.
And a lots of other foggy ideas of philosophical type.

And in case I am successful, would I tell you? It seems like, I have to sign
a NDA with myself. To enhance humanity, might be a good hobby.

(Matias Volco) #17

(Tom Schaefer) #18

Bio-fowling and the corrosive effects of marine environments on electronics.

(noboxes) #19

The only cure for that i know of is potting and air conditioning/dehumidifying.