Dearly departed's ashes turned into reef

    September 27 2004 at 09:29AM

Ocean City, New Jersey - Relatives of the deceased can now have their ashes mixed into concrete to help form ocean habitats.

A Georgia company has placed about 200 of the concrete cones, called "reef balls", in the ocean, mostly along the United States's Gulf Coast.

In the past week, it interred cones filled with the ashes of several people about 10km off the shore as part of the Great Egg Reef.

Don Brawley, an accomplished diver, came up with the idea of turning artificial reefs into memorials, and founded Eternal Reefs with George Frankel in 2001.

'We like to think that we're buying public reef balls'
"Most states with reef programmes buy artificial reefs," Frankel said. "We like to think that we're buying public reef balls with private money."

Burying a loved one's ashes in a reef ball can cost between $1 000 (about R6 400) and $5 000. Decatur, Georgia-based Eternal Reefs also has two models for pets, for between $400 (about R2 500) and $500 (about R3 200).

The balls have grapefruit-sized holes in them to dissipate current, and their surface is dimpled to encourage coral growth.

The company got approval from the New Jersey department of environmental protection to put ashes in the reef installations.

The Great Egg Reef also contains decommissioned army tanks and old tyres cabled together. - Sapa-AP

    • This article was originally published on page 4 of The Star on September 27, 2004
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