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Our Services

Burials at Sea - Attended Memorial Service

This is the most popular of all of the services. Usually family members want to be on board the yacht for a beautiful day at sea in loving respect as a celebration of life for the deceased. Our yacht accompanies up to 20 people comfortably. Many companies as businesses are restricted to a maximum of 6 people due to licensing restrictions. The day usually goes like this: We meet at a pre-selected location to take care of the necessary paper work.

We then walk to the boat, board, get comfortable and have a short talk about the vessel, safety issues, and the plan for the day. I then take care of the ashes by placing them into a basket and covering them with an attached cloth and flower petals. As we leave the dock, you are waited on with refreshments and snacks and all of your needs attended to. No one ever gets sea sick as we slowly make our way to a beautiful spot, that is calm, and with no boating traffic. There, the twin diesel engines are shut off as we peacefully drift on the ocean throughout the burial ceremony.

The scattering of ashes takes place either from the foredeck or the aft deck depending on the weather or desires of those present. At this point in time prayers are usually said before we enter the ashes into the sea. Sometimes family member like to participate in the lowering of the ashes into the sea. As the ashes scatter, each family member tosses flower petals into the sea usually accompanied by their own individual prayers.

The final moment of honoring the deceased is the ringing of the ship’s bell 8 times for “the last watch”. This is a very emotional time with the release of our grief at the final resting place. Family members usually tell stories of the deceased and how they impacted their lives. Sometimes a family likes to have a “toast” in this celebration of the loved one’s life. We eventually depart, circle the flowers, and head back to the dock. There never is a “rush” as I really want all present to remember the absolute beauty of this day. Some companies charge you for “extra” time or have a pre-set “time limit”. The Angel’s Ashes does not believe in this practice and will make sure you get all of the time you need with this very special moment.

Upon departing, many families chose to have a memorial lunch. If you desire this, I make the reservations and drop you off at a restaurant that will give you private dining on the water, a special menu, your own server, and a discount on your meal. If you chose to make other arrangements, I can assist with restaurant choices, directions, discounts, or other desired services. Most parties chose the early morning times as it is calmer at sea, but any time of day or day of the week can be selected.

Be careful here as well, for many companies charge you more if you chose to do the burial at sea on a weekend. Honestly, most families need to have the service on a weekend for in many cases family members fly in or need to get off work for the occasion and can only do that on a weekend. The Angel’s Ashes would never expect a larger donation because of the day of the week that is most convenient for you to bury the deceased. I personally believe this is a very “cold” business practice by many companies.

The entire ceremony from the time we meet until the time we return takes about two hours. The only things you need to bring with you are the ashes, the burial permit, and the confidence that this will be a wonderful occasion. All of our ceremonies are recorded on a Memorial Certificate which is sent to a designated family member. This is usually the family member who has the legal right of disposition of ashes. The Memorial Certificate honoring the loved one contains the exact date and time of the burial at sea ceremony along with the exact location of the ashes (Latitude and Longitude).

For the State of California, the Secretary of State and Attorney General, Department of Justice, and Department of Consumer Affairs have awarded a non-profit, public benefit, charitable trust designation to The Last Watch Foundation to provide funeral services to help the Military and their families. We are the only organization in the United States to be awarded this honor. The State has also given us license to perform the scattering of ashes at sea. If a donation to The Last Watch is ever received, those funds are deposited directly into The Last Watch Foundation.