Engineering report is up!

MI&T has been burning the midnight oil to get this engineering report out. It is 50 pages of information about our hotel resort, full of detail for those of technical inclination:

  • Design requirements
  • Architectural design of 7-story Hotel/Casino/Resort
  • Sizing, weight
  • Support machinery
  • Metocean conditions (wind, waves, current), wave scatter diagrams for possible locations.
  • Hydrodynamics, incl. motions in 1-year, 10-year, and 100-year storms.
  • Structural analysis
  • Installation and commissioning sequence
  • Conclusions

Now, keep in mind that this is just the Executive Summary of the work so far! There will be more detail released over the coming weeks as the design work gets wrapped up and polished. We still need to bring you spreadsheets, costs, hydrodynamic model files, wave modeling movies, fly-by animations, sketch-up models, and lots more.


18 thoughts on “Engineering report is up!”

  1. The design is awesome and well-thought-out. I’m glad that The Seasteading Institute is making good progress on an actual business plan, unlike similar organizations. When are you planning on building a full-sized seastead like this?

    It looks like the report was really rushed through, though. Lots of spelling mistakes and they didn’t do tests on the current weight.

  2. The engineering report is rushed.  We felt that getting a draft report out now was more important than a final report a month or so from now.  The “final” report will have an increased top-side payload that is heavier.

    The initial design information is needed so that we can move onto the next phase of putting together some business plans and start the process of soliciting financing.  It is hard to finance new structures like this in the middle of a world wide financial down-turn.

  3. The structure looks very promising, even though it needs a few more iterations to be off the California coast. I’m worried about getting the finance together though, especially in the current climate.

    How about building smaller bay or coast size structures first?

  4.  I’m worried about getting the finance together though, especially in the current climate.

    I think a project with time share apartments has the biggest chance of getting financed.

    • The average Joe has the chance of affording it, probably.
    • Other than getting the actual seasteading experience for a couple of weeks a year, the money doesn´t automatically go away. Barring any disasters you could possibly even make a profit when selling your share. Particularly on the first few seasteads due to the novelty/historical factor.

    Is the plan to iterate on the design until it survives the 100 year wave on the migration route?    Or something else?

    The way the WaterWalker heave is nearly in phase with the waves makes clearing large waves easier.  In the WaterWalker2 we were clearing waves that were twice as high as our “air gap”.   The 200 person design can get in trouble with a wave 2/3 of the “air gap” since heave can be out of phase.   The original WaterWalker with balls on the legs could clear much more than twice the air gap.  The barrels did not follow the phase as well as the balls.    I estimate that the WaterWalker needs less than 1/3rd the air gap that this 200 person design does.   This makes a single family seastead reasonable.   

  6. I am a big fan of the timeshare approach.

    As TSI is a non-profit, and this project will take seed money, I think we are not the right organization to take on the project. Our hope is that by putting the plan out there, we will inspire entrepreneurs to put together such ventures.


    How many gallons of diesel will it take per year to move this on the proposed migration path? 

    For me thinking about buying into something like this, the purchase price and then the yearly costs are both important.  Using diesel to generate electricity for buildings and watermakers is going to be sort of normal island prices.   But if this is moving there is that additional cost.    Do they have an estimate for fuel used for propulsion?

  8. Neat! Its good to see the level of detail in which they have thought about it, like the assembly for instance. I am utterly unable to oversee the (economical) possibility of such a feat, and it is reassuring to see that people who do know about those things have looked at it, and came up with solutions instead of unsurmountable problems.

    Personally, id like to see what concepts they have considered, and why this overall shape was chosen. It looks like a spar, but conceptually, it is infact more like a boat: it derives its stabilty from surface area at the water line. Seems like that is not an issue for structures of this size though: the comfort considerations seem to be the least of the worries.

    I am looking forward to the rest of the information.

  9. I like the design, particularly the cantilever supports.  The structure is like a two dimensional cantilever bridge.  (Bridges are fundamentally one dimensional; a line from point A to point B.  The final cantilevered platform has both length and width, with cantilevers in two directions.)

    However there’s a potentially significant difficulty: attaching the spars at sea.  The people who make jack-up oil rigs, which this Seastead design slightly resembles, have a great deal of difficulty lining up the feet, legs and house on stable, dry land.  On the water, it may be difficult to line up the spars with the house.  Remember that everything is moving around on the water due to wind, wave, tide and current, even in protected waters.

    I do like that cables and pulleys would be used to move pieces together, exactly as I proposed for bringing seasteads together earlier on Nation Builders.  My comments there were assuming guide pins or self-guiding, matching concave and convex shapes for semi-permanent alignment and attachment, and perhaps the spar and house would match that description, where the spar fits neatly in the semi-cylindrical (concave section) opening and will align more or less automatically due to complementary shapes.  It’s not clear that the red hook for grabbing the rail on the side of the spar would be strong enough, resist twisting enough, etc.

    (As an aside, In many ways this kind of assembly might be easier to perform in space, where there are no winds, etc., and where three dimensional thrusters or a robotic arm could be used to align everything.)

    I also like that the house modules have their own flotation.  Nominally it’s to facilitate assembly, but the flotation could also be useful in an emergency, if the seastead broke up, etc.

    I’m still not comfortable that the air gap is large enough for the open ocean, for example due to large storm waves or rogue waves.  Large waves happen.  Statistics are one thing.  Chaos theory is another.

  10. Page 12 of the executive summary shows a capacity of 800 tons of diesel fuel.  Presumably that would be used for energy and propulsion, but it’s not clear how long it would last.

    Assuming electric drive and some electric energy storage, you could use wind and solar generation to possibly provide some propulsion or at least lessen the need for fossil fuel for house loads.

  11. >Page 12 of the executive summary shows a capacity of 800 tons of diesel fuel.  Presumably that would

    >be used for energy and propulsion, but it’s not clear how long it would last.

    Page 2 says it is designed to be resupplied every month.

    800 tons * 2000 lbs/short-ton / (9 lbs/gallon) = 177,777 gallons

    If we assume $1.50/gallon  for diesel this is $266,666

    If a family of 4 gets 4/200 of this then their share is $5,333/month.

    I am going to guess that the “ocean tax” wth this design is higher than the regular tax most people pay.

  12. Dominique of MI&T says:  “I think those numbers are not correct. 800 tons is about a 4 MW HPU, which is a lot more than what we need here” … “I’ll get back to you.”

  13. Question of seastead survival is eventually the question of power. The same as for any other state. A state can survive only if it can put more men with guns for its defence than it’s neibhours – for it’s conquest. So, if we want seastead project to survive, we have to:

    1) Minimize the number of “man with guns” that would try to destroy it.

    2) Maximize the number of “man with guns” that would defend it.

    Unfortunately, this project is worse that individual seasteading one by both accounts:

    1)  There is no second chance to make first impression.  And what would be the first expression on the seasteading? Floating casino. With probably drugs and prostitution. Even if there are none, it would be easy to persvuade an average TV-watching Joe that the seastead has it all and more. So it would be easy to get a sanction from US voters to squash this Sin Sity.

    2) There are 200 guests, 80 stuff and one owner. How much of them would be ready to risk their lives to defend the seastead? One at most, the owner. If it’s public company, then zero. If these 80 person lived in family seasteads, we would have 80 defenders.

  14. A seastead would not be a new nation initially.  Initially it would fly the flag of some other nation such as Panama, as most ships do.  

    Declaring national sovereignty would require the ability to defend a new nation against the other nations.  Nation states don’t like competition.  That kind of defense would require significant resources (many, many billions of dollars), and it’s the real “ocean tax” for a new nation.

    That said, I agree about the need for defense/physical security.  There are no “police” at sea.  Security needs to be provided internally, ideally by everyone.  More likely the “police” would be in the form of some other nation’s coast guard or navy coming to sink you.


    >Unfortunately, this project is worse that individual seasteading one by both accounts:

    I think this is a good point.  I think there is a reasonable evolutionary path that leads single family seasteads to having a new government at sea.   They just grow in number till one day they need to set up a counsel to deal with some internal criminal and they are kind of there.

    The larger seastead can easily run into US  Asset Forfeiture laws and get seized.   An airplane with a small amount of drugs can be seized, even if the owner was not involved.  A seastead that makes money from selling drugs to tourists from California will be seized for sure. 

    The “war on drugs” is mostly aimed at people making money off drugs.   Someone using drugs in their own home is not really the target of this war.   Even if you want to use drugs, a single family seastead is a much lower risk way to do it than a large seastead.


    “There are two types of forfeiture cases, criminal and civil. Almost all forfeiture cases practiced today are civil. In civil forfeiture cases, the US Government sues the item of property, not the person; the owner is effectively a third party claimant. Once the government establishes probable cause that the property is subject to forfeiture, the owner must prove on a “preponderance of the evidence” that it is not. The owner need not be judged guilty of any crime. In contrast, criminal forfeiture is usually carried out in a sentence following a conviction and is a punitive act against the offender. Since the government can choose the type of case, a civil case is almost always chosen. The costs of such cases is high for the owner, usually totaling around $10,000 and can take up to three years.”


    “The widespread use of such proceedings, which usually involve assertion of in rem jurisdiction, has also brought many complaints about their misuse to deprive innocent persons of their lawful property. Without a requirement to prove that a crime had been committed, much less committed by the party in possession of the property, it has become too easy, the critics say, for law enforcement personnel to seize and prosecutors to forfeit properties worth as much as $20,000 because it will likely cost the person that much in legal fees to recover them. This is because in such cases the courts no longer abide by the old common law rule that the party in possession is to be presumed the lawful owner unless it is proved otherwise. Thus, a person carrying $6,000 in cash to a vehicle auction where the auctioneer will only take cash may be stopped and his cash seized because it is presumed only a drug dealer would have or carry that much cash.

    “The problem is exacerbated by the laws and rules that allow the agencies seizing the assets to keep the money for their operations, including the funding of salaries and promotions, the purchase of vehicles and equipment, and other such things. In addition, there are often not strict controls on how the assets are liquidated, and law enforcement agents are discovered to have acquired forfeited assets, such as vehicles, boats, and other luxury items, without having paid full market value for them, or even anything at all. There have even been complaints about law enforcement officers seizing cash and other assets under the pretext of forfeiture and then just keeping them without reporting the seizure.”

     I don’t think “international waters” stops the US from seizing boats they think are involved with drugs.   And they can always pass new laws.  Last year the US passed a law about submarines in international waters being assumed to be drug related so they can lock up the captain even if he sinks the sub while they are arresting him and there is no evidence.

     More info:


  16.  80 staff = 80 guns. And there is no apparent reason the guests should not be allowed to carry handguns. This is perfectly legal in the United States after all, so it shouldn´t be that controversial.

    Prostitution is legal in Switzerland, Germany and Nevada, to name a couple of places that I know of. I don´t think the US is planning to squash them.

    Having said that, of course you can´t go completely crazy with all the taboo activities you can think of at once. Dealing with drugs is probably an excellent way to get yourself killed (and I don´t mean by the drugs!).

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