Definitions of the word Seastead

The word Seastead is defined differently by different people. I am collecting some definitions here. Definition

The name "seastead" comes from "sea" and "homestead". A seastead is a floating home designed to move through international waters, allowing its residents to change legal jurisdictions if they choose to. Compared to a boat, a seastead is more optimized for spacious living, reduced motion, and low cost, with speed and lifting capacity being lower priorities. Definition

Seasteading is living on environmentally restorative floating islands with some degree of political autonomy.

The term comes from homesteading, which means making a home for oneself in new, uninhabited places. It generally has associations with self-sufficiency and a frontier lifestyle. Seasteading is reminiscent of that idea, but at sea.

Wikipedia Definition

Seasteading is the concept of creating permanent dwellings at sea, called seasteads, in international waters outside the territory claimed by any government.

Urban Dictionary

A seastead is a floating artificial structure designed to accommodate permanent residents on the ocean.

Wayne Gramlich

Wayne Gramlich wrote SeaSteading -- Homesteading the High Seas. This is one of the earliest uses of the word Seastead and worth a read. I think a key quote is, "This paper proposes a different strategy to achieve the colonization of the ocean surface. By way of analogy, the western territories of the United States were not colonized by a few well financed colonization efforts, but instead the west was colonized by tens of thousands of more individualized efforts."

Chad Elwartowski

In response to a post on Facebook with these definitions, Chad Elwartowski wrote, " The Ocean Builders SeaPod is not a seastead on its own. We consider them floating homes. It is up to the owner to decide if they wish to use it as a seastead or not. I like the TSI definition which includes some degree of political autonomy."


1) Seasteading is the concept of creating permanent dwellings at sea outside the jurisdiction of any government. This can include the creation of artificial islands, or the use of ships or platforms. The term "seasteading" was coined by Wayne Gramlich and popularized by Patri Friedman and others. The goal of seasteading is to create autonomous communities beyond the reach of traditional governments, in order to promote innovation and experimentation in governance.

2) A seastead is a purpose-built structure or platform that is designed to provide a stable and self-sustaining environment on the open ocean, allowing for permanent or semi-permanent human habitation and/or economic activity outside of the jurisdiction of any single nation.

3) Seasteading is the concept of creating permanent dwellings at sea outside the jurisdiction of any government. The term "seastead" refers to the floating platform or structure on which people live, work, and conduct their affairs. Seasteading is based on the idea of homesteading, which refers to the act of settling and improving land in a new and unclaimed territory. In the case of seasteading, instead of settling on land, people settle on the ocean and create self-sustaining communities that are independent from traditional political systems. The goal of seasteading is to provide individuals with greater freedom, autonomy, and innovation, as well as to address global challenges such as overpopulation, poverty, and environmental degradation.

4) When designing a seastead structure, the engineers have several design goals to consider, including:

  1. Stability: The structure must be able to withstand the challenges of ocean conditions, including strong winds, waves, and currents, while maintaining its stability and structural integrity.
  2. Self-sufficiency: The seastead should be designed to be self-sustaining and independent, with the necessary facilities, systems, and infrastructure to support the inhabitants' daily needs, such as water and waste management, energy production, and food production.
  3. Cost-effectiveness: The structure should be cost-effective to build, operate, and maintain, while also providing a high quality of life for the inhabitants.
  4. Modularity: The seastead should be designed to be modular, so that it can be easily expanded, reconfigured, or relocated as needed.
  5. Environmental sustainability: The seastead should be designed with sustainability in mind, reducing its impact on the environment and promoting renewable energy sources, waste management, and resource conservation.
  6. Comfort and safety: The structure should provide a safe and comfortable living environment for its inhabitants, including amenities such as air conditioning, insulation, and fire protection.
  7. Scalability: The seastead should be scalable, allowing it to grow and accommodate a growing population while still maintaining its stability and self-sufficiency.
  8. Jurisdiction: The seastead should be designed to operate within the boundaries of international maritime laws and regulations.
These design goals must be carefully balanced and considered when designing a seastead structure to ensure its success and viability as a self-sustaining community on the ocean.

5) When designing a single-family seastead, an engineer should keep the following design goals in mind:

  1. Stability and buoyancy: The seastead must be able to remain stable and afloat in the water, even in rough conditions.
  2. Durability: The seastead should be built with durable materials that can withstand the elements and the impact of waves.
  3. Self-sufficiency: The seastead should be equipped with systems that provide essential resources such as power, water, and waste management, to allow the occupants to live sustainably at sea.
  4. Comfort and livability: The seastead should be designed with the comfort and livability of the occupants in mind, with appropriate living spaces, ventilation, and insulation to ensure a pleasant living environment.
  5. Safety and security: The seastead should be designed with safety and security in mind, with measures such as life rafts, communications systems, and fire suppression systems to protect the occupants in case of emergency.
  6. Affordability: The seastead should be designed with affordability in mind, with cost-effective materials and systems that minimize the cost of construction and maintenance.

A seastead is a platform built on the ocean for the purpose of living, working, or conducting business.

Jerome FitzGerald

In his book, Sea-Steading: A Life of Hope and Freedom on the Last Viable Frontier Jerome FitzGerald writes, "A Sea-Stead is a homestead at sea. It is an attempt for an individual, a couple, or a family to attempt to create for themselves a better life."

Joe Quirk

Seasteads are man-made islands that float permanently on the ocean with any measure of a political autonomy. They would essentially be startup societies where people could form whatever kind of community they wanted.

Thoughts on above definitions

If a structure should be classified as a seastead or not should not depend on where it is located or where it was built. If a structure is a seastead it should still be a seastead even if it is moved into a harbor at some existing country.

If you put anti-fouling paint on the bottom of your seastead it should not cease to be a seastead. We expect to use marine aluminum for our seasteads and there are sea creatures that will bore through aluminum if you give them time to.

The goal of seasteading is more political freedom, but the first seasteads will legally be boats, barges, platforms, or some existing legal classification. Though they don't yet have politically independence, they will still be seasteads.

I think my definition is the only one that hints at how powerful the ability to leave an existing jurisdiction with your home can be. Even if seasteads never made any new governance, the ability to easily leave governments that are turning bad is a huge improvement for people. And even if we eventually do get new governance, the first structures will just be taking advantage of the fact that they can change jurisdictions.

A seastead has to be able to handle waves on the high seas. A houseboat that can only go on lakes or rivers is not a seastead.

Most people would not call a boat a seastead. There is something different between the function of a seastead and that of a boat.

There will probably be larger seasteads eventually, and groups of seasteads, but at first they will be single family sized.