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April 20, 2015

An underwater tribute to life

Memorial reef provides 'green' alternative to traditional burial

Environment Burial
04172015_NeptuneReef Neptune Society/YouTube

Neptune Memorial Reef is the largest man-made reef ever conceived.

For most Americans, there are two options after death: burial or cremation. Both are costly and harmful to the environment. 

As urban cemeteries continue to run out of space, people are exploring alternatives to traditional body disposal.  

For anyone who is passionate about the sea, the Neptune Society may be the solution – specifically, the Neptune Memorial Reef.

The largest man-made reef ever conceived, the Neptune Memorial Reef is 3.25 miles east off Key Biscayne in Miami, Florida. When complete, the project will have transformed more than 16 acres of barren ocean floor.

The first phase of the project was the construction of the memorial site, which is modeled after the Lost City of Atlantis.

Your loved one might stand strong in one of the columns, contributing to the framework of the city. You might choose deployment to a bench that forms a fish habitat, or choose a marine placement, creating your Memorial in the shape of a starfish or coral. Your choice honors the individuality of your family and loved one and the choice to be part of something special. Each Memorial is marked with a bronze memorial plaque.

The reef is free and accessible to all visitors. Family members often visit and dive at the site to honor their loved ones.

According to Bloomberg, the Neptune Society charges from $1,000 to $6,000 for cremation and "deployment" to the reef. The society's web site shows 15 locations around the site, including premium placement at the lion's and gatekeeper columns and standard placements at a road podium and bench fish habitat.

According to a study by the Department of Environmental Resource Management, marine life around the reef has gone from zero to thousands in two years.

Read more about the Neptune Memorial Reef here.