Ash Scattering at Sea in San Diego
Healing & Uplifting – Saying Goodbye Beautifully
Ceremonies for Ash Scattering at Sea (Burial at Sea) are performed from a variety of locations off the San Diego Coast such as Point Loma, Ocean Beach Pier, Crystal Pier, Del Mar, La Jolla or Cabrillo Monument in the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.
We are San Diego’s Premier Ash Scattering Service and take pride in what we do. We listen to your needs and desires. Whatever you wish for your service – we can make it happen!
Our usual location is just south of Point Loma, in calm waters, with downtown San Diego and Hotel Del Coronado in the background. Because of the structure of San Diego Bay, the water at this location is usually calm, so it is very rare for individuals to experience any sea sickness during an ash scattering. For the calmest waters the best time of day to go is in the morning.
The exact GPS position of the burial at sea – ash scattering -ceremony is recorded, so the site can be revisited in remembrance. This information is then used to complete the memorial certificate which will be sent to the family. Additional services can be provided as requested.
We have been performing ash scattering at sea for many years and based upon our experiences, we highly recommend selecting a 3 hr charter, to allow for family bonding, socializing and just plain enjoying the bay.
Burial at Sea – Ash Scattering Methods
There are many ways to perform burial at sea (ash scattering over the water) – all are very common, but some are preferable. Scattering directly from the container received from the cremation facility is probably the least preferred method. The ashes are poured directly into the water on the down wind side of the yacht. With this type of scattering it is necessary to be careful that the ashes land in the water and do not get blown back or stuck to the side of the yacht.
Scattering with the use of a bio-degradable urn. These urns are specifically designed to gradually disperse the ashes back to the sea. There are a few different types of bio-degradable urns suitable for water burial (paper based, salt or sand). Most common are the paper based which usually float for several minutes and then slowly sink where they will degrade. Our favorite is the biodegradable turtle – be sure to ask us. For a more comprehensive listing of biodegradable, urns please see our sister company Funerals Your Way – Bio Urns.
The family will often toss flowers or rose petals as a final tribute while the urn slowly drifts away and sinks. Sometimes these urns are used by catholic families – religious beliefs prefer to keep the cremains together.
Scattering from a urn/basket is a very common method. Your loved ones ashes are placed in the silver urn or basket with rose petals intermixed as well as placed on top. The urn/basket is then lowered to the water surface and the urn is inverted. The rose petals float to the surface and the ashes disperse in the ocean – leaving a trail of rose petals trailing in the ocean current.
If is a very lovely presentation and a beautiful way to say goodbye.
Scattering directly from the container (plastic bag) received from the cremation facility is possible with the ashes poured directly into the water on the down wind side of the yacht. This method can be problematic however as, if any wind catches the ashes it can cause them to be “blown back” or stuck to the side of the yacht. The yacht crew can help to lessen the possibility of this, however we do not often use this method.
Ash Scattering Attended
Our Burial at Sea (Ash Scattering) ceremonies are performed from a variety of locations off the San Diego Coast such as Ocean Beach Pier, Crystal Pier or the Cabrillo Monument on Point Loma. Our usual location however is just south of Point Loma with downtown San Diego and Hotel Del Coronado in the background. The water is usually calm here, especially earlier in the day, this can be very helpful if any members of the family are prone to sea-sickness.
The actual form the ceremony takes is completely up to the family. A clergy member or family member is often designated to perform the ceremony with the assistance of the facilitator. The vessel Captain is also available to assist with the ceremony. Families often request the reading of a special verse and music is often played – the ashes are then scattered. We provide rose petals free of charge which may be scattered but we also suggest additional flowers or wreaths to add to the beauty of the display in the ocean. Extra flowers also helps additional family members participate.
Remember, this is a private scattering and only your family will be on the yacht. You may also wish to think about more unique service venues such as a full moon or night scattering (very beautiful) or perhaps going out to sea beyond the sight of land. It is common that families will wish to revisit the site of the actual scattering on the anniversary of the ceremony. The Memorial Certificate which you will be mailed will specify the exact position of the ash scattering. If we did not perform the initial ceremony, you will need to provide us with the GPS position.
Un-Attended Scattering Service
On some occasions the departed family member wished to be scattering in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Diego, however the family is not able to attend. In this instance, we are pleased to be able to scatter the cremains in your absence. This is known as an un-attended ash scattering.
We always treat the departed with dignity and respect, as if you were there and offer various options like we do for attended scatterings. The burial at Sea (Ash Scattering) ceremonies can still be performed from a variety of locations off the San Diego Coast such as Ocean Beach Pier, Crystal Pier, off La Jolla, DelMar or Cabrillo Monument on Point Loma. Our usual location is just south of Point Loma with downtown San Diego and Hotel Del Coronado in the background. There is a great view of the city here and a great place for photos which we can send you by email, so you may have a feeling of what it was like during the scattering.
All services are normally performed in a timely manner after our receipt of ashes (weather permitting). The scenery at this locations is very beautiful and usually we will send you at least 3 pictures (the prepared cremains, the scattering and the location. We actually have dolphins show up fairly often to investigate what is going on – always a great portent! A memorial certificate is also sent to the family.
Standard Un-Attended Features
Reading of passage by the captain – Scattering of ashes on the sea with rose petals – Eight bells sounded (Nautical Tradition) meaning End of watch – Memorial certificate specifying lat/long location
Viewing from Shore Ash Scattering
Sometimes families and friends may prefer not to attend the service on the water but view the ash scattering from shore. There are many places this may be done in San Diego but the spot usually selected for viewing is Cabrillo National Monument in Point Loma. At this location, high above the ocean looking out to sea, you have a ideal location for viewing the actual ceremony.
Many times the viewing location is actually a pier – either Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach or OB Pier in Ocean Beach. California law prohibits performing the actual ash scattering from the pier – you need to be 500 yards offshore for that. However, a pier is a very good vantage point to watch the ash scattering at sea. The family will often throw flowers from the pier. It is also a more economical option for larger groups of people which perhaps could not be accommodated by yacht. Health issues also prevent some individuals from being on the yacht, especially people using walkers or wheelchairs.
We do encourage people to be on the yacht for an ash scattering but when this is not possible a pier ash scattering may be what the family is looking for. Families often have a private memorial at this time sharing their private memories and prayers, and a shared moment of silence.
Memorial Reefs – A living Tribute
There are a few organizations that can use your loved ones cremains to fashion a reef which creates a living ecosystem supporting life. Many people are drawn to this option as a way of helping the environment after they have passed. The organization with which we have an affiliation is “Eternal Reefs”. They are the leader in this field and they do a great job. Basically, large cement blocks (containing the cremains) are fashioned and laid out on the ocean floor. This structure then become home for many sea creatures. The family many be involved every step during the construction of these blocks.
Unfortunately, this program is only offered at certain locations on the east coast, so the family will either have to make the trip themselves or send the cremains. The water needs to be warm and clean. If you would like more information about this give us a call and we can discuss options with you.