Wave after wave…slowly drifting…
“What about the waves!?!“
The amount of people reminding us that there are waves in the ocean is as numerous as there is water in the ocean. These good samaritans feel dutifully compelled to let us know that there are, indeed, waves in the ocean. Assuming, incorrectly, that this is not the prime problem to be solved in seasteading. If there were no waves there would be floating communities of house boats on the water right now. The first person to have a hard time buying land near the ocean would have strapped a few pieces of wood together and built his house there.
Most early designs were based on oil rigs, putting the structure high above the waves.
Oil rigs have been floating in the open ocean for decades, engineered to lift the main structure high above the waves so that the waves become a non-factor.
Storms? Rogue waves? Hurricanes?
Of course, oil rigs survive these huge waves, storms, hurricanes, rogue waves. They sort of have a vested interest in surviving these extreme elements created by the ocean. There is certainly a lot to learn from these structures.
The problem with oil rigs and seasteading is what was learned early on in the seasteading world. These structures are prohibitively expensive. Early seastead designs were estimated in the $200-$300 million range. Funding was sought for such huge structures but the generous billionaires (even Peter Thiel) did not step forward to fund it. Oil rigs are there to pump out millions of liters of oil from the sea floor which can then be turned into money. We are not yet to the point where just having buildings in the ocean can produce as much money as oil rigs pumping oil.
“So why not just buy a used oil rig and re-purpose it?“
Possible. But if it is for sale it is likely not in any usable shape. The fixes are probably structural and not worth the money and effort to deal with the many problems that would follow such an endeavor.
After many years of seeking funding for these huge oil rig cities on the sea others shifted their focus to start asking host nations for permission to begin building in protected waters like a lagoon or atoll. Blue Frontiers is currently working on this approach in French Polynesia and other locations. It is a valid approach if the goal is to have some initial structures in the water. But eventually the plan is to move out into the open sea once they have the engineering taken care of in the lagoon.
Our approach is to look to the old approach of learning from oil rigs and rise above the waves utilizing the spar design.
A spar is a single cylinder with a ballast at the bottom for stability with a platform on top. The deep draft design of spars makes them less affected by wind, wave and currents.
We see no need to start with a full city. People moving to the open frontier did not need full cities when they moved west in the early United States. They built individual houses and small businesses and everything grew from there. This is the approach we wish to take.
We will be building individual spar platforms above the waves. High enough that even in the worst storms your home is well protected. We are 100% dedicated to having a safe place to live, using redundancy in as many cases as possible. We are over-engineering everything.
We will recommend a frew locations that have low waves for our customers. We do not recommend moving your OceanBuilders home to the north pacific with 10-20 meter waves where only the strong survive. We are focusing on sites that have low waves on average of less than 2 meters per year at its highest without any major storms. As our engineering progresses we will be able to build larger structures for less forgiving locations.
Our platforms are conservatively engineered to handle 5 meter waves (though in reality they could likely handle more, we are building around this minimum assumption). You will be living high above any waves that would cause any problems.