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Seasteading, a portmanteau of sea and homesteading, is the concept of creating permanent dwellings at sea, called seasteads, outside the territories claimed by the governments of any standing nation. At least two people independently began using the term: Ken Neumeyer in his book Sailing on the Farm (1981) and Wayne Gramlich in his article "Seasteading – Homesteading on the High Seas" (1998).

Most proposed seasteads have been modified cruising vessels. Other proposed structures have included a refitted oil rig, a decommissioned anti-aircraft platform, and custom-built floating islands. No one has yet succeeded at creating a state on the high seas that has been recognized as a sovereign nation; the closest is perhaps the Principality of Sealandmarker, a disputed micronation formed on a discarded sea fort near Suffolk, Englandmarker.

Legal issues

Outside the Exclusive Economic Zone of , which countries can claim according to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the high seas are not subject to the laws of any sovereign nation other than the flag under which a ship sails. Examples of organizations using this possibility are Women on Waves, enabling abortions for women in countries where abortions are subject to stricter laws than the Dutchmarker laws, and Radio Veronicamarker, a pirate radio station sailing the North Seamarker that was aimed at The Netherlandsmarker during the sixties. Like these organizations, a seastead might be able to take advantage of the looser laws and regulations that exist outside the sovereignty of nations, and be largely self-governing.

The Seasteading Institute

András Gyõrfi's "The Swimming City"

The Seasteading Institute, founded by Wayne Gramlich and Patri Friedman on April 15, 2008, is an organization formed to facilitate the establishment of autonomous, mobile communities on seaborne platforms operating in international waters. Gramlich’s 1998 article "SeaSteading – Homesteading on the High Seas" outlined the notion of affordable steading, and attracted the attention of Friedman with his proposal for a small-scale project. The two began working together and posted their first collaborative “book” online in 2001, which explored aspects of seasteading from waste disposal to flags of convenience.

The project picked up mainstream exposure in 2008 after having been brought to the attention of PayPal founder Peter Thiel, who invested $500,000 in the institute and has since spoken out on behalf of its viability, most recently in his essay "The Education of a Libertarian," published online by Cato Unbound. TSI has received widespread and diverse media attention, from sources such as CNN and Wired Magazine.

"When Seasteading becomes a viable alternative, switching from one government to another would be a matter of sailing to the other without even leaving your house," said Friedman at the first annual Seasteading conference.


The Seasteading Institute's "ClubStead"

The Seasteading Institute has been working on a new approach involving communities floating above the sea in spar buoys, similar to oil platforms. The project would start small, using proven technology as much as possible, and try to find viable, sustainable ways of running a seastead. Innovations that enable full-time living at sea will have to be developed. The cruise ship industry's development suggests this may be possible.

A proposed design for a custom-built seastead is a floating dumbbell in which the living area is high above sea level, which minimizes the influence of waves. During the last couple of years, research has been documented in an online book that covers living on the oceans.

The Seasteading Institute focuses on three areas: building a community, doing research and building the first seastead in the San Francisco Baymarker. In January 2009, The Seasteading Institute patented a design for a 200-person resort seastead, ClubStead, about a city block in size, produced by consultancy firm Marine Innovation & Technology. ClubStead marks the first major development in hard engineering, from extensive analysis to simulations, of the seasteading movement.


The Seasteading Institute held its first annual conference in Burlingame, Californiamarker, October 10, 2008. 45 people from 9 countries attended.

The second annual Seasteading conference was held in San Franciscomarker, Californiamarker, September 28-30, 2009.

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