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“Mr. O’Connor. This is an emotional time for us. We don’t know what to do. We’ve never done this before. Can you help us and tell us what we need to do?”

This is a very common phone call I frequently receive. Very few have ever experienced a burial-at-sea and have many questions. This is the most rewarding part of my business because have rewarded me immensely just by reaching out to me. We love helping you and will spend time with you and help you in any way we can. We will answer all of your questions and encourage you to call us again should you have more questions. If we cannot be of service to you, we still want help and guide you appropriately. These would be our basic suggestions:

  1. Look closely at your budget and reflect on what you really want. Basically, the more people you put on a boat, the more expensive it will be. Some of the for-profit organizations may charge as much as $100/person. We are the only non-profit that performs burials-at-sea in this area. What that means to you should be SAVINGS! Also, we are the only non-profit company in the United States that performs low cost Military burials. So, if you give a donation to us, it goes directly to our public benefit charitable trust for the military burials.

  2. Is the company you are calling legal? The scattering-of-ashes-at-sea requires a Stale license to do so. Our CRD license no. is 889. Are they USCG certified? All vessels that carry passengers are required to be USCG certified. We are very proud of our certification and worked very hard and at great expense to achieve this. This is for your safety and should not be taken lightly! Many companies are operating as illegal charters putting your life in danger. A quoted ‘low cost’ for a burial-at-sea should send up ‘red flags’. Something is fishy for these other organizations have to make a profit! They will nickel and dime you forever. We give you a lot of free things because we do not believe in charging you when we don’t need to.

  3. What are the differences in companies that provide these services? Are there safety issue differences? Different licensing requrements? Why the different numbers of passengers allowed?


These are great questions. As I mentioned, we are the only non-profit that provides these services and there are HUGE differences that you need to reflect upon: Here are some typical practices by all of the other companies which we find deplorable:

  1. Hidden charges. You may notice that in their pricing they may say ‘starts at… The reason they say this is because they charge extra for:
    1. Weekends
    2. Holidays
    3. Flowers
    4. Food
    5. Drinks
    6. Photography

      We believe in GIVING. With us, there are no hidden costs.  Our costs are our costs. Nothing changes. We only receive monies that cover our operational costs. All of the items above are FREE with us. I can’t imagine charging someone for a Coca-Cola.

  2. Safety. Generally, the public would not be aware that there are HUGE differences between companies as far as you safety upon the ocean is concerned. Basically, there are two types of vessels: UNINSPECTED and INSPECTED. If you see that a company only carries 6 passengers, it means that they are not USCG inspected and thus do not meet the higher safety specifications the INSPECTED vessels must meet. We are an INSPECTED vessel and USCG certified to carry 12 passengers.
  3. Licensing requirements. There are HUGE difference with companies such as ours having to meet the highest levels for your safety. A 6-passenger vessel meets the lowest level of requirements.
  4. Number of passengers. The US Build Law allows a maximum of 12 passengers for vessels built outside of the United States. Our beautiful yacht was built in Taiwan. We have met all the legal standards to operate for your greatest amount of safety. A 6-passenger vessel meets the minimal standards and is not nearly as safe as a 12 passenger vessel.
  5. Operational beliefs. You may notice that a company goes to a pre-designate location or goes out at only certain times or certain days. We recently read in a company’s brochure a lot of wording about God. I’m an ordained Minister and I found this extremely insensitive. We honor all peoples, all religions, and all beliefs or non-beliefs. This is not about us:  It is about you and your loved ones and when and how the ceremony is to be performed. We go out every day, any time of day based upon YOUR CONVENIENCE. A PRE-ARTRANGED DESTINATION IS A VERY BAD IDEA:  Again, it is about you, your desires, and your safety. We look at the sea conditions and go to the safest , legal place. If it safe and legal , and you desire to go to a particular location, THAT IS WHERE WE GO!


  • Review our web site and all of the options.
  • Call us the moment you feel the need to.
  • Consider:
  • Where you want the burial to be performed:  Catalina, Long Beach, Newport, San Pedro. We are located in Long Beach so this would be your least expensive option.
  • Who would you like to invite: We are limited to 12 passengers at any one time .There are no limits should you chose the View-from-the-Pier option. It is also the least expensive. I encourage everyone to save when they can!
  • When you would like the service to be performed: We go out any time of the day, any day of the week, including holidays. We believe very strongly in doing everything that will be convenient for you and your guests.
  • How you would like the service to be performed: Envision the ceremony. How would you personally plan what would make you the happiest. It is your day!
  • What you would like to bring such as a video, pictures, music, special foods or drinks: We have 2 flat screens and an 8 speaker stereo system. We also have ample space to display pictures.
  • The options also include a live broadcast to you and your party sitting on a beach or in a park for example. Or it can be broadcast live for anyone who cannot attend. This can be of a tremendous savings and pretty exciting! Would you like a bag piper, Military Honors, or religious service? We can do it all!


There are also the options of how the ashes are put into the water, who lowers the basket, who decorates the basket and how it is decorated, colors or types of flowers.

In addition some families arrange for a Ringing of the ship’s bell, special foods, or want special items to be included in the burial.

Special flowers, butterflies, memorial wreath are other considerations.

We will discuss with you all of the particulars in the planning stage. Our only goal is to please you and make the ceremony an amazing and wonderful experience: One you will never forget!

Our services are for both the general public and the Military. Feel free to call us at any time!

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.