Three Reasons Why Memorial Reefs

are Becoming a Popular Burial Alternative

First, What Are Memorial Reefs?

Memorial reefs are an eco-friendly option for placing the cremated ashes of those you love under the sea. The deceased’s cremated remains are integrated with concrete and molded into reef balls that are later submerged. Over time, what started as an artificial marine habitat becomes a living coral reef that memorializes loved ones while helping restore life to our oceans.

Why Are Memorial Reefs Becoming More Popular?


Based on data from the 2019 Consumer Awareness and Preferences Study, nearly 60% of consumers surveyed said that affordable cost was the most important consideration when planning a funeral. Details like family gatherings, photos, cemeronies, personalized music and the ability to celebrate life also made the top of the list.

With cost being a priority, and knowing that in traditional burial services caskets alone can cost anywhere between $2,000 to $10,000, it’s no surprise that unconventional burial options are becoming more popular. Part of this shift begins with the lower expense of cremation, and the 2020 NFDA Cremation & Burial Report reported that the cremation rate was 56%; surpassing the burial rate of 37.5%.  

Cremations can certainly involve many of the funerary elements that are important to consumers – like family gathering, photos and celebrating – but options on how those cremains are interred have expanded into our oceans.

In comparison to traditional funerals, memorial reefs are more affordable, sustainable, and environmentally beneficial alternatives. The costs vary depending on the company, but you can expect them to range anywhere from $5,000 to $7,000.


National Geographic reported that each year, American funerals are responsible for the felling of 30 million board feet of casket wood (some of which comes from tropical hardwoods), 90,000 tons of steel, 1.6 million tons of concrete for burial vaults and 800,000 gallons of embalming fluid.

In addition to the impact that traditional funerals can have on the environment, coral reefs are in danger. The Environmental Justice Foundation reported that more than 75% of all coral reefs are currently threatened by a combination of stressors including climate change, over and destructive fishing, coastal development, pollution and other damage.

Choosing a memorial reef as a burial alternative will not only offset the impact of a traditional burial, it will help restore part of our environment that’s in jeopardy.

Personal and Unique

When exploring funeral options, everyone looks for a personalized experience that will celebrate life and honor the memory of the one who has been lost. This includes gatherings of families and friends, ceremonies, tributes, and celebrations. All of these things can happen on a boat, and many companies offer these types of options.

Choosing a memorial reef for someone’s final resting place can be a very personal nod to their uniqueness as an individual.  Memorial reefs can be incredibly meaningful to someone who loved the ocean or taking cruises, or someone who enjoyed hobbies around boating, fishing or scuba diving. Or maybe some families want to do something very unique or nontraditional, to honor the memory of someone equally unique or nontraditional.

For these reasons and more, alternative burial options, like memorial reefs, are ganing popularity. Artificial reefs are more than just a unique and peaceful resting place, they are also an innovative way to support the marine environment and contribute to the restoration of endangered reef systems crucial for the ecosystem.

If you are looking for a unique way to leave a memorable legacy, contact the experts at Destination Destiny to learn more about this service.