Living At Sea Under Self Rule now you probably realize that Peter, Kevin, and I are more than ready to burn our terrestrial dwellings down in favor of living among sea creatures in some oceanic utopia. Peter and I have discussed several options for this.

To our list of potential inhabitable salty structures comes a new venture from Peter Thiel. Thiel is founder of PayPal, a Google Engineer, and a former programmer for Sun Microsystems. With $500,000 of his money, The Seasteading Institute has been launched dedicated to “creating experimental ocean communities with diverse social, political, and legal systems.” As Wired puts it, “A permanent, quasi-sovereign nation floating in international waters.”


Plans are for a prototype, a seastead, in San Francheezy Bay by 2010. You can read the full Seastead Manifesto by Patri Friedman and Wayne Gramlich, founders of the institute.

Dr. M (1801 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Executive Director of the Lousiana University Marine Consortium. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Additionally, Craig is obsessed with the size of things. Sometimes this translated into actually scientific research. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (, a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.

8 Replies to “Living At Sea Under Self Rule”

  1. When I see the Sears tower bobbing up and down the western seaboard flying a pirate flag … I’ll know it’s you guys.

  2. I remember Bob Ballard going off on this topic during an episode of Scientific American Frontiers. And that was ~5 years ago.

    And quasi-sovereign sounds like double-speak for ocean-dumping (sewage and trash) with even less regulation than what is available now. That is, there are fewer landfills available at sea so how are they going to deal with waste?

  3. JasonR: I’m really curious about the reasons you’d expect these people to turn their immediate surroundings with waste and refuse. After all, they’ll be floating in it.

  4. “JasonR: I’m really curious about the reasons you’d expect these people to turn their immediate surroundings with waste and refuse. After all, they’ll be floating in it.”

    Since when did that stop populations of any organism from overunning their environment and then being decimated by diseases and starvation caused by themselves?

    And forgive me, but the first thing I thought when I saw the illustrations above was “floating fortress”. It looks all the world like a souped up aircraft carrier, and I’m telling you, that’s exactly how some communities of people would like to use such a resource for attacking other people.

    I’m not saying it isn’t an idea worth exploring. Just take into account the diversity of human nature. Not all communities will be peace-loving science geeks.

  5. Just as a matter of pedantry, Mr. Thiel is one of the three people founding the institute. He’s the one that was a founder of PayPal; the other two are an engineer at Google and a semi-retired Sun programmer.

Comments are closed.