Eternal Reefs, a New Way Immortalize the Dead in The Sea

by Sushree Mohanty

Eternal Reefs, a New Way Immortalize the Dead in The Sea

July 12, 2021

Florida firm Eternal Reefs believes in preserving and protecting the marine environment through a bizarre service that is probably a result of the ongoing pandemic. It holds interest in creating permanent living legacies in the form of ocean reefs that would contain cremation memories of our loved ones.

The cremation reefs combine "a cremation urn, ash scattering, and burial at sea into one meaningful, a permanent environmental tribute to life"

- Eternal Reefs

From Dead Bodies to Ocean Reefs!

Yes! Dead bodies are being used to create coral reefs to substantiate the ‘green burial’ service. The memorial coral reefs would approximately cost the same as a standard funeral. They teamed up with “reef ball” maker Reef Innovations to launch its “green burial” service in 1998.

Cremated human remains and ashes are mixed with concrete to structure and strengthen beautiful coral reefs. After the process, they are sunk in the ocean to encourage new ecosystems to vibe in and support the growth of new habitation.

Florida firm Eternal Reefs also allows and encourages the kins and kiths to mention handprints notes, personal items, and imprinted messages before the coral reefs are submerged underwater.

The company website states that the coral reefs are permanent memorials placed on the ocean floor to welcome and create new marine habitats for fish and other aquatic species. It is also a sustainable and environmentally friendly way to substantiate coral growth and the marine environment.

Sea species, oysters, invertebrates, corals, and fishes that generally grow on the ocean bed coral reefs also get attached to the memorial reef balls and turn in sparks up a new habitation.


The How of the Idea

Since the 1990s, around 750,000 reef balls have been already submerged to the ocean floor. However, according to the data collected, more than 70 countries around the world have opted for such an unusual service to store memories of loved ones in the form of coral memorial reefs.

Reef Innovations President, Larry Beggs, suggests that the type of materials used are environmentally friendly, sustainable, marine grade, and is vital to protect marine life. The authorities claim that the marine grade concrete is pH-neutralized and encourages coral growth.

The website of Eternal Reef states that it ensures a designed reef system created from individual remains in the form of coral reef balls, mixed with environmentally safe and marine-grade concrete that is structured to assimilate into the natural ocean environment.

The authority also claims that the coral reefs are designed in such a way that they could reduce damage from storms and hurricanes along the eastern seaboard.

Reefball e1372701867475

Why Coral Reefs?

Coral reefs are one of the most diverse yet beautiful of all ecosystems on Earth. It almost houses about 25% of all marine environments that embrace more than 4,000 fish species and aquatic life.

However, it is saddening that approximately 75% are “currently threatened by a combination of stressors including climate crisis, overfishing, and destructive fishing, coastal development, pollution, and damage,” according to wildlife campaign group the Environmental Justice Foundation. 

Eternal Reefs isn't the only Underwater Burial Business

The Neptune Memorial Reef located off the Florida coast is also designed out of the ashes of more than 1,000 corpses.

And while the Neptune Reef initially intended to retreat sea life and marine environment, it has grown into a large popular tourist destination.

“We estimate there are probably over 2,000 divers a month that visit the Neptune Reef,” said Jim Hutsler, Neptune Memorial Reef founder, and operations director.


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