When and where is Ephemerisle?

In 2009, Ephemerisle ran from 12:00 noon on Friday, October 2nd, through 12:00 noon on Sunday, October 4th.

The event took place in California's Sacramento River Delta, at the lagoon inside Headreach Island.

Ephemerisle 2010 will take place in roughly the same location and time of year, the exact coordinates to be determined. The next Ephemerisle festival will last a few days longer than the last one; check this website or follow Ephemerisle on Twitter for updates.

For more information, visit the When & Where page.

How do you pronounce Ephemerisle?

It's pronounced "Ephemer" + "isle."

What is there to do at Ephemerisle?

We expect participants to create most of the art and activities, but there will be a central platform and many community activities are already planned.

Why are you doing this?

Ephemerisle is going to be a fabulous festival, but it's also an opportunity for us to build a community around the idea of seasteading. We believe that the world should be more free, and that seasteading is one of the best ways to accomplish that. Years down the road, we hope that Ephemerisle will eventually take place in international waters, allowing greater experimentation with new laws, new governance, and a freer way of life.

How do I sign up? Do I have to pay?

There is a registration process with attendance and docking fees. A limited quantity of cheaper tickets are available. For details, see the Attending Ephemerisle Page. There is also a Grant Program to help offset the costs of those who choose to build elaborate structures.

Where can I rent a boat?

Our Boats & Platforms page has resources on where you can rent a boat. Some of these places have a limited supply, so make your reservation early! If you plan to rent a houseboat, keep in mind that most of them sleep quite a few people, so you may want to share a rental to reduce cost. You can also check Craigslist listings for the Stockton area to find local area private boat rentals.

Do I need a special license to operate a boat?

No special license is required, and if you rent a boat from Paradise Point Marina, you will be given a thorough orientation on how to operate the boat.

Do I need insurance for the boat?

Yes, all boats need to carry their own insurance. Rentals generally include this.

Where will I sleep?

On your own floating boat/platform or a friend's. We have many resources available for you to find cheap inflatable floating platforms or to build your own floating structure on our Boats & Platforms page.

What if it rains?

Weather records say that the adjacent city of Stockton has never received more than a fraction of an inch of rain that weekend, so rain shouldn't be an issue. If you're particularly concerned and are sleeping without shelter, we recommend bringing a small tarp to sleep under.

What can I do to help?

We love help! Check out our volunteer page if you're looking to get actively involved. We're also looking for people to help spread the word. Twitter about us, post to Facebook, and of course, tell your friends.

What do I need to bring?

Most importantly, something that floats! You will also need enough food and water for the weekend (with the exception of the Saturday night community dinner) and other essentials such as sunscreen and bug spray. See the Survival Guide page.

You will also need to bring (and wash) your own tableware for the Saturday night feast.

How do I dispose of trash?

Take it with you. The Delta is not a dumping ground, and anything that goes into the water needs to come back out of it by the end. Ephemerisle is a Leave No Trace event.

What central infrastructure will be provided?

  • A large central community space, including a stage and sound system
  • Docking space on the community platform for you to dock your boat and/or platform to (see fees on our Boats & Platforms page)
  • Porta-potties
  • First aid, EMT's, medical evacuations -- see our safety plan for details.

Why the Sacramento River Delta?

For Ephemerisle's first year, we chose a location primarily for comfort and convenience. We wanted to make sure that the barrier to entry for new participants wasn't too high. On the Delta the waves are fairly minimal, it's easy to rent boats and getting to the location shouldn't be too difficult. The Delta is also a fairly large space with lots of room, yet is sufficiently isolated to provide a good opportunity for the event. As we become more self-reliant, we envision Ephemerisle moving further out into international waters.

What kind of waves should I expect?

None. The waters of the Delta are very placid and we are not expecting any waves. The worst you might encounter are the ripples produced by a speedboat driving past.

Can I sell stuff?

Sure! We ask that you be respectful of other participants and not engage in any aggressive sales tactics, but you're free to sell or trade whatever you would like, within the limits of California law. If you feel like you have something of special interest to Ephemerisle participants, feel free to contact ephemerisle@seasteading.org to discuss your ideas.

Who are you?

Ephemerisle is organized by a large group of volunteers, as well as The Seasteading Institute, a non-profit dedicated to furthering the establishment and growth of permanent, autonomous ocean communities, enabling innovation with political and social systems. In other words, we want to build seasteads (homesteads on the high seas).

What is the connection between Ephemerisle and Seasteading?

Ephemerisle is just one path by which floating cities may evolve. What begins as a temporary gathering can grow in attendance, duration, and frequency until it is a permanent city. There are precedents for this - medieval trade fairs sometimes grew into cities. Second, we hope that Ephemerisle will provide an experience of living in greater freedom out on the water. Although it is only a taste of what we hope to eventually create, we strongly believe in the power of experience to change people's ideas about the world. As we gain in self-expression and self-reliance, Ephemerisle will move further out into international waters.

Click here for more information as to how Ephemerisle relates to Seasteading.

Site Credits

Design by Evonne Borda. Photo credits: Luis Argerich, John Haslam, Katharine J Moriarty, Livin-Lively, Samantha Urquhart, Marcin Cajzer, Dustin Ground, Jake Mohan, Michael Hashizume, Sarah Parker.