|The death care
industry in the United States is presently experiencing a period of significant
change. Americans are turning to cremation as a funeral alternative
at a much higher rate than was originally forecast. Tradition is
eroding, environmentalism is expanding and the memorialization aspect of
the funeral ritual now presents boundless possibilities when the body is
reduced to cremated remains. As more and more families choose cremation
so the question arises “What do we do with the cremated remains?”
Burial at Sea
Many people who have been ocean-lovers,
servicemen, fishermen or divers request a burial at sea. This was
not so easy to arrange when a body needs to be sunk to the bottom of the
ocean floor. There are certain regulations from the United States
Coast Guard (USCG) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that govern
just how a body can be disposed of at sea. However, burying cremated
remains in the ocean is not as rigidly governed.
An alternative form of burial
for cremated remains
A memorial reef is an underwater
cemetery that evolves with life and becomes more vibrant and teeming the
more established it becomes. This notion of a permanent memorial
site in the ocean is appealing to many as an alternative means of interring
cremated remains. Interring cremated remains into an existing
cemetery plot or a cremation niche can work out expensive, so the option
to create a unique and personalized aquatic resting-place can offer a truly
alternative form of eternity!
What is a memorial reef?
A ‘Circle of Life’
A memorial reef is basically
an artificial construct of a marine habitat that resembles the natural
marine habitat of thousands of marine creatures. It truly becomes
a living memorial as it teems with aquatic life, and evolves over time
to become a living coral reef. The ashes of the deceased live on
in perpetual harmony with the eco-system, helping to restore life to coral
reefs, and in underwater areas where natural habitats have often been destroyed.
How is a memorial reef made?
A memorial reef construct is
made from concrete. The human remains of the deceased are mixed into
the concrete before it is poured into the mold. There are various
options of what kind of size and shape of memorial reef you can choose.
Basic reef balls are a plain concrete dome structure with holes to enable
marine life to flourish within the structure.
The Neptune reef offers an
Atlantis themed reef area, where numerous different structures can be purchased
from small starfish shapes to large benches or lion structures. But
other memorial reef companies offer basic reef ball structures that are
sited on the ocean floor in designated memorial reef territories.
Why choose a memorial reef?
A memorial reef is not for everyone.
It is most likely especially suitable for ocean-lovers, fisherman, divers
and those truly concerned with the environment and the ecology of our planet.
It is certainly a very different and unique form of permanent memorialization.
If you desire something entirely different and have a wish to contribute
to the on-flowing ecology and life cycle of our planet once you are gone…then
a memorial reef could prove to be your perfect memorial marker!
How much does it cost to be
interred in a memorial reef?
The costs for a memorial reef
can vary quite significantly. This can depend upon which organization
you select to construct and site your reef artifact, what size and shape
of memorial reef your opt for, and whether you inter more than 1 set of
cremated remains in a reef ball.
Eternal Reefs in Florida
start at $2,495 but can cost up to $6,995. This includes everything
to construct your reef artifact, position it and GPS locate it, a bronze
plaque sited on your memorial reef and certificates for families members
to keep. An alternative site on the Pacific coast near the
San Diego Bay offers memorial reef interment starting at $2,400.
There are also a couple of sites in Mexico where memorial reefs
can be sited and these cost around $3,000.
There are some less expensive
options that offer either a small tribute and keepsake reef artifact.
This type of reef ball is suitable for immersion in a fish tank or water
feature. It is also possible to have a memorial reef bespoke construction
and this is where the cremated remains are made into a reef artifact and
then shipped back to you for placement. Prices for this start at
around $600 but this does not include shipping costs.
Where are memorial reefs located?
As mentioned above there are
several memorial reef locations throughout the United States and Mexico.
In Florida there are sites in Miami on the Atlantic coast and Sarasota
and Pensacola on the Gulf side. There is also a location off
Galveston in Texas in the Gulf of Mexico, and sites off North Carolina,
Maryland and New Jersey on the East coast of the U.S. On the Pacific
coast there is a site at Los Coronado Islands near the border between
the U.S. and Mexico. Mexico locations are available in Cancun,
Riviera Maya and in Acapulco.
Can cremation ashes be co-mingled
in a memorial reef artifact?
Yes, some families choose to
have family members cremated remains interred together in a reef memorial.
There is usually just a small surcharge for this type of memorial reef.
It is even possible to add the cremated remains of a dear departed furry
loved one should a family desire this!
Can ashes be added to an individual
family member’s memorial reef ball at a later date?
Due to the nature of how the
memorial reef is constructed and placed, it is difficult to remove this
living reef at a later date to add an extension to it without disrupting
(and destroying) the aquatic life that will it will now be supporting.
A second placement can be made adjacent to an existing memorial reef if
a further family member wishes to join a loved one at a later date.
Can a memorial reef artifact
If need be a memorial reef can
be uprooted and transported to another location. However this is
not generally advised as this can be very destructive to the habitat that
has flourished in the memorial reef.
What happens to a memorial reef
if there is a hurricane?
As several of the reef locations
are in areas where hurricanes can cause significant damage should they
strike, there IS possibly that a memorial reef could be moved on the ocean
floor should it be subjected to extreme ocean conditions. However
a memorial reef weighs around 350 to 400 pounds and is constructed in a
dome/hexagonal way with voids of between 1.25 inches and 1.5 feet to allow
the water to easily flow through. The graduated, more solid base,
helps to make the reef very stable on the ocean floor and the shape also
disrupts the smooth flow of water around the reef, further enabling stability.
How can I request more information
about interment in a memorial reef?
If you are interested in a memorial
reef as a unique and eco-friendly lasting permanent legacy, please feel
free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your specifications of size,
type and location of a memorial reef and we will provide you with an information
pack and price list.
||Expert Author: Sara
Sara is the Editor in Chief
for US Funerals Online and has been researching and writing about the death
care industry in the US for the last 5 years.