Oct. 2, 2004,
New home for eternity: sea floor memorialBy IVER
New York Times
OCEAN CITY, N.J. - To the many ways Americans can honor the
remains of the dearly departed — blasting their ashes into space or
freezing the remains or simply sealing the body in a coffin— add one
more option: mixing the cremation ashes with marine-grade concrete
and forming an artificial reef, a home for the fish and the coral.
So it was recently that joining the decommissioned Army tanks
that have already been lowered to the sandy ocean floor off South
Jersey, were the mortal remains of Robert Aronson, an avid ocean
fisherman; Cecelia Schoppaul, who could watch the surf roll in for
hours; and Charles Wehler, who hated swimming but loved the South
Their relatives watched from a chartered fishing boat about seven
miles off Atlantic City.
Eternal Reefs has placed about 200 reef ball memorials since its
founding, mostly along the Gulf Coast states.
The company offers three sizes, of 400, 1,500 and 2,000 pounds,
costing between $1,000 and $5,000.
The reef balls are cast with most of the weight at the bottom to
provide stability, while the hollow design and holes dissipate
energy from currents.
The concrete surface is roughened to encourage coral growth.
A brass plaque marking the name and dates of the person being
memorialized is included in the price.