Scattering loved ones ashes in ocean rising in popularity

Heading out on a boat to scatter a recently deceased loved one's ashes may seem untraditional to some, but it's a trend that is increasing.

Heading out on a boat to scatter a recently deceased loved one’s ashes may seem untraditional to some, but according to Chris Benesh, it’s a trend that is increasing in Victoria.

According to Benesh, the owner of Earth’s Option Cremation and Burial Services in Victoria, more families are heading out onto the ocean to scatter the remains of their deceased instead of having them buried.

He estimated of the roughly 4,000 deaths a year in Greater Victoria, just over 1,000 of those are families scattering loved one’s ashes into the ocean.

“The last 16 years that I’ve been in Greater Victoria, we’ve done a tremendous amount of sea scatterings, where we scatter the ashes into the ocean. It’s very popular, it happens a lot,” said Benesh, noting those are scatterings done through Earth’s Option. That number could be higher if people choose to scatter one’s remains on their own.

“Because we’re right here, it’s so convenient. (The ocean) is so much a reason of why people move to Victoria. The ocean is definitely our playground in the backyard. There’s so much done with it.”

Typically, Benesh said families contact consultants who will take their loved one’s remains and scatter them. Then they are given GPS coordinates so loved ones can return to the site.

Now, Earth’s Option is offering a different way of remembering through living reef memorials, a trend Benesh started noticing along the Atlantic Coast and Australia a number of years ago.

The memorials, which range in size and price and are manufactured and delivered by Evergreen Cremation in Ladysmith, are hand crafted using natural sea shells, sand, ocean-friendly concrete and the cremated remains.

It it then installed in one of three sites within a few hundred feet from the shores of Vancouver Island.

“It’s a living memorial . . . there’s that one specific spot where, in theory, you could dive and go and see it,” Benesh said.

For more information visit earthsoption.com.