September 16, 2015; KGTV-10 (San Diego, CA)

By mixing the cremated remains of your loved ones with crushed shells and concrete, Living Reef Memorial of Imperial Beach is helping to create habitats for sea creatures where coral reefs are endangered.

The remains are formed into reef balls, or so-called pearls, and those who have donated the remains can add handprints to the structures or etch messages onto them before they are submerged. They can even charter a boat to accompany the remains to its resting spot. Then, “almost immediately a natural transformation occurs and the reef begins to bloom with a bounty of life. The life that is created from the ashes of the departed is in perfect harmony with nature and leaves a positive legacy of love, life, and hope that will forever live on.”


So far, the group has installed more than 100 artificial reef memorials near the Coronado Islands.

“Once they’re deployed into the sea, you wouldn’t recognize them after a couple of months,” Robert Sarnie of Living Reef said about the life that takes to the reefs.

Adding value is the fact that the profits from Living Reef Memorials are used to fund Sea Turtle Rescue, which raised and released more than 50,000 baby turtles last year.—Ruth McCambridge