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This document contains resources related to Building Your Own Land at Ephemerisle. Past projects have ranged from small 8x8 platforms hosting a 1-2 person tent, to medium 12x16 platforms hosting communal spaces, to larger 24x30 platforms hosting campgrounds or performance areas.

Many of the attempts to build land and sleep on it fail because the conditions in the delta are windy with a strong current and waves. Consider speaking with someone who has successfully done this in the past: (intentionally left blank.) If you plan to build land at Ephemerisle, be sure to organize a means to transport your materials to the event (speak with a captain ahead of time) and be sure to have a back up plan for a place to sleep. (I recommend having a captain who is okay with you sleeping on their roof.) Also, make an arrangement for other facilities as well, like bathroom use and a kitchen.

BYOL is extremely rewarding (and can be a great contribution to the community) but requires additional logistics, experience, and contingency plans.

General Structure

The general structure for BYOL includes:

  • Flotation: e.g. dock floats, barrels, totes
  • Structural frame: e.g. wooden beams securing floats and base layer
  • Base layer: e.g. plywood, rugs, cleats
  • Above ground: e.g. tent, shade, art

Be aware of (a) expected weight relative to flotation provided and (b) strength of your structural layer.

Also consider acquiring a pontoon boat or small barge instead of making your own land — this may save you tremendous time, energy, risk, and even money if you keep an eye on Craigslist or ask around.

Previous Examples

Previous examples and guides for finished products are available here:

BYOL 2011
1-2 Person Floating Tent (2011)
Community Platform (2011)
Swamp raft
Swamp Raft (2017)

Search this wiki or the Ephemerisle Facebook Group for additional resources. Keywords include BYOL, flotation, etc.


BYOL requires advance planning and onsite collaboration. Key questions to answer ahead of time include:

  • How will you transport materials onsite/offsite?
  • Where will you build?
  • How much flotation do you need for weight expected?
  • Where will you park your structure?
  • How will you anchor your land?
  • General considerations: How will you handle waste and bathroom facilities? Do you have resources for water and food?

We highly recommend coordinating with a larger island ahead of time, including having a contingency plan if build fails or is delayed. We also recommend having project members who are experienced with construction - and even better, with construction on the water.

Useful Links


Creative Inspiration:

The early years of snapping bolts, and flexible platforms helping up with totes or innertubes.