Self sufficient seastead
There are people who would like to have a self sufficient seastead. A Single Family Seastead with a few extras should be able to serve this part of the seastead market. This is somewhat related to the Survivalist market.
Solar panels can provide power for 25+ years. Costs are now down to around $2/watt. Solar takes a fair amount of area and probably too much area to support all the people on a Floating City Seastead given the size but should be fine on a lower population density Single Family Seastead.
Solar would be enough power for electric thrusters if we use efficient propellers. Might also use a kite and sea-anchor. You can get a 500 lbs thruster that uses about 2,000 watts. If you only drove when the sun was up and used $2/watt panels, that is about $4,000 worth of solar panels. Probably you want batteries and several times that in solar panels.
A self sufficient seastead could have several strategies for food:
- Fishing - A seastead should act as a Fish Aggregating Device so it will probably be easy to catch plenty of fish for one family.
- Sprouting - In a few days seeds can be turned into sprouts which have extra vitamins and are much easier to digest.
- Hydroponics - A supply of hydroponics nutrients to last many years is not very large (most of the mass of food comes from water and the carbon in the air).
- Food storage - Food storage food is also very reasonably priced and small enough to fit on a seastead.
- Aquaculture - There is plenty of room for a fish cage below a seastead. May be able to just string a net between the edges of the seastead with weights to hold the bottom down.
Commercial watermakers are available at places like westmarine.com. These can produce plenty of water. Collecting rainwater might be possible but it takes a large storage tank which could be a problem.
It is not clear how large this market is, but even a small market segment could help with initial sales of seasteads.
A seastead can be a great platform for a self sufficient life.
Arguments in Favor
- If you are living in the deep ocean you can not stop by a store or gas station every other day. You will need some level of self sufficiency.
- Fresh food generally tastes better. Until there are stores in the deep ocean, growing your own food, and trading food, will have advantages.
- With hydroponic systems growing your own food is not as much trouble as running a farm in the old days.
- If you can take care of all your own needs, then other people's problems don't cause you problems. So people may be (and feel) more secure if they are self sufficient. For example a factor of 10 drop in the value of the US dollar could cause food and energy to become really expensive, which would be devastating to many but have little impact on someone who grew their own food and had solar panels for all their energy needs.
- You are on the ocean, might as well take advantage of the fresh fish.
- One way governments could try to control seasteaders is with a trade embargo. If seasteaders need to buy food and energy then an embargo is a real threat. However, if seasteaders produce their own food and energy then this method of control loses its impact.
- You can pick which country you register your seastead with, so you can avoid property tax. As long as you don't have US citizenship it is easy enough to avoid income tax, just don't be in, or register your seastead with, a country that has income tax. If you make your own food and energy you can avoid taxes on those as well. So a self sufficient seaseader could avoid all taxes.
- If people specialize they can do a better job when focused on that one thing. So in modern society specialization is part of efficiency.
- Systems for producing your own power and food would increase the startup costs.