This year, Memorial Reefs International and Destination Destiny have come together to bring greener funeral options to the Northeast by offering Memorial Reef installations off the coast of Ocean City, New Jersey.
Destination Destiny, an entity of Steelmantown Cemetery Company, was founded earlier this year by owner Ed Bixby after much research and planning. After many years in the cemetery industry, Ed created Destination Destiny to offer more environmentally friendly celebrations of life and final resting places to families planning their loved ones’ services.
While Destination Destiny offers a variety of natural burial options, including natural burials, tree of life cremation burials, and cremain sea scattering ceremonies, Ed knew there was an opportunity to expand his business by partnering with Memorial Reefs International.
Ed reached out to Steve Berkoff, Managing Partner of Memorial Reefs International, whom he has known for years, to see if he would be interested in offering Memorial Reef installations in New Jersey. With locations everywhere from Venice, Italy to Cozumel, Mexico, Steve agreed that the Northeast would be an excellent place for new undersea memorial gardens. Once the partnership was created, Ed and the team at Memorial Reefs International began planning their first dedication, which will take place later this month.
Memorial Reefs International was created to enhance coral generation, increase marine biomass, and provide eco-friendly alternatives to traditional burials. Their mission is to rehabilitate and protect the world’s ocean ecosystems through the development and use of ecologically sound artificial reef technology. Not only do these reefs serve as a home for an abundance of marine life, but they also offer families and loved ones with a unique resting place that they can visit and explore for years to come.
The artificial reefs, also known as Reef Balls, are formed using ocean-safe concrete and the cremated remains of the family’s loved one. There are multiple reef ball sizes to choose from, and a bronze plaque can be installed with the family member’s name, lifespan, and other information to personalize the reef ball.
When the Reef Balls are being prepared for the installation, the families and loved ones are involved every step of the way. Families can help create the “jewel” with the cremated remains, which is then glued into the reef ball before installation. Plus, the installation is so much more than a one day service; it is a multi-day event to truly celebrate the life and legacy of the person who has passed away. With these planned events, loved ones have the opportunity to explore the area surrounding Ocean City before attending the service and installation out on the water.
For people interested in creating a reef while they are still alive, Now and Later reefs are also available. These reefs are the same as the memorial reefs, but can be installed now so the reef can grow and develop over time, which also allows people to see how their reef ball is helping the environment before passing away. Once the time comes, the owner’s cremated remains are added to the beautiful resting place that is the Reef Ball and their legacy will live on underwater.
Memorial Reefs International and Destination Destiny will dedicate their first Memorial Reef off the coast of Ocean City on September 25, 2020, and plan to expand to other areas of the Jersey coast in the future. If you are interested in Memorial Reefs or Now and Later Reefs, now is the time to plan your reef.
For more information about Memorial Reefs International, visit www.memorialreef.international. For more information about Destination Destiny, visit www.destinationdestinymemorials.com.
Memorial Reefs International