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Please do not edit this unless you are TSI Staff. Feel free to add comments on the talk pages, though! And use any category that doesn't contain "Official".

Here we describe our goals, requirements, non-goals, and ideas for the conceptual design stage of engineering. This is meant to be given to one or more consultants in the offshore engineering field. It is being written on the public wiki to make use of wiki features such as categories. We may eventually incorporate designs and ideas from users as well.

You may also be interested in the User:Patri/LowCostSeasteadDesignProposal, or the 2009 revision of this: ConceptualDesignProposal2009


We want to build permanent settlements on the ocean, and we are exploring structure designs which meet the following requirements:


Every requirement should start with a short name. For name Foo, we will use a category RequirementFoo to organize ideas relating to that category, and the name links to the category page. So click on the name to learn about ideas for meeting that requirement.

Every design should have a section for each requirement, describing whether the design meets Foo, and any pros and cons.


  1. Safety. People survive in a bad storm. A 300-year storm may damage the structure so severely that it needs to be replaced. That is what insurance is for.
  2. Comfort.
    1. Platform movement/seasickness - People are relatively comfortable for 95%-98% of the time. The remaining 2%-5% they can be uncomfortable. They may need to relocate to the center buoyancy to avoid puking their guts out. Even then, some people will puke their guts out anyhow.
    2. Comfort also requires enough sunlight and open space. (Should this be under Pretty instead?)
  3. Cost. Driving down costs is paramount. Comfort vs. cost trade-offs are permitted. Specifically, we'd like costs to be roughly comparable to an expensive first world house ($150 - $400 / ft^2). Less than that would be even better (comparable to a rural vacation home). Seasteads that can be purchased by individuals are extremely desirable. (Note: cost per ft^2 here is by interior space, not the footprint of the entire platform, so 3 decks of 1,000 ft^2 is 3,000 ft^2 of space)
  4. Pretty. The resulting structure has to have some appeal that people would want to live in it. We want to avoid a prison cell floating in the middle of the ocean design.
  5. Modular. Must be built in a modular fashion, so that it can be expanded incrementally and rearranged. An individual section with its buildings should be able to be removed from the whole structure without enormous difficulty or cost. Ideally, small structures can be attached to large ones - all sizes "play nicely" with each other.
  6. Cargo. We need to be able to transfer tourists and provisions in 90% of weather conditions. We hear this can be difficult out in the deep ocean. We need a solution of some sort.


These can be weakened if necessary to achieve/optimize the absolute requirements.

  1. Free Floating. We prefer to not need mooring. Continental shelfs are being grabbed up by existing states. If we use sea mounts, there will be a land grab for sea mounts. So eventually we have to tackle deep sea. But it may not have to solved in the first iteration.
  2. Scalable. We need a range of designs from small (a few hundred to a few thousands ft^2) to large (many acres). The small designs can really trade-off on 2) vs. 3). Ideally, we'd have a similar design template for the entire range, so that a small structure can serve as a prototype for the larger ones. This means that structures which are only economical if they are large are not ideal - we prefer structures that can be sized for one family or one thousands families.
  3. Standards. Should comply with as many marine safety and engineering standards as possible/practical (Classification, IMO, etc).
  4. Mobile - We definitely need to be able to move units from land to the offshore settlement. Also the settlement itself may occasionally need to move, it's ok if this is very slow and moderately expensive.
  5. Draft. The structures can have deep draft when fully assembled, if such assembling can be done at sea. For large structures, this assembly can be hard to reverse or even permanent. Small structures must be convertible with a few hours of work into a low-draft configuration which will allow them to dock in most areas.

Explicit Non-Requirements

  1. Self-sufficiency. We want as much as we can get, but we will settle for far less than full self-sufficiency. We would like water self-sufficiency. Energy self-sufficiency might be nice, but if it's too expensive, we'll just use diesel. Food self-sufficiency is *not* required.
  2. Defense. This is not a fort that needs to defend against a determined navy. Fighting off pirates is important, but a real navy or air force can easily sink us.
  3. Green. We'll be as green as possible, but will not over constrain ourselves to be "carbon neutral", "energy positive", "pollution free", etc. We'll do the best we can, but if some fringe element of the environmental movement doesn't like our design, they can complain away.
  4. Land vs Sea construction. We prefer designs that can be constructed at sea, but do not expect that to be economical, so land based construction is OK for now. But ideally there would be a long-term path for construction at sea, once our sea-cities are big enough.
  5. Not an Oil Rig. We are not designing a platform for drilling for oil. This means:
    1. We don't need to be moored
    2. We don't need to be so stable that we can play billiards during a hurricane (really)
    3.  ???


These are individual design ideas or patterns which can be used together to form a complete design.

We're tracking them with the category: Category:OfficialDesignPattern

Specific Designs

These are more complete designs, including pros and cons for each requirement.

We're tracking them with the category: Category:OfficialDesign

Things We'd Like To Learn

This is what we'd like to get back from the conceptual design process:

  1. Cost. What is the per-area cost to construct a basic physical structure that meets our needs? Ranges are fine.
    1. How is cost affected by size (what are our economies of scale)?
    2. How is cost affected by location? Are there places where the 100-year storm is substantially less bad? How much cheaper is it to build in those places?
  2. Designs. What are the designs (single spar, multi-spar, semisub, jackup, breakwater) that best meet our needs? What are the tradeoffs between them? This includes:
    1. Shape
    2. Materials
    3. Wave response
  3. IP. What is the patent situation for our ideal designs? How does this affect our costs?
  4. Business. If we flesh out this design and build it, is it something we can sell to the oil industry?