Carleton Glen Palmer told his son-in-law Don Brawley that upon his death and cremation, he would like to have his remains put in a reef.

Palmer died soon thereafter and Bawley decided to put the idea into action. He had heard of small hollow concrete moulds being used to build reefs so why not mix human remains into the enviro-friendly concrete.

The concrete balls are stacked or laid side by side to create a artificial reef which quickly attracts sea life. The company became known as Eternal Reefs.

eternal reefAccording to Iver Peterson:

“An accomplished diver, Mr. Brawley knew that putting bodies into coastal wasters is illegal, though scattering ashes is not. But he also knew of a company, Reef Ball Development Group, that cast reef balls of a patented design for sale to state fisheries departments. He wondered: Why not add human ashes and make the reef balls into memorials?”

“The company offers three sizes, of 400, 1,500 and 2,000 pounds, costing between $1,000 and $5,000. There are also two models for pets, for $400 and $500. The reef balls are cast with most of the weight at the bottom, to provide stability as the hollow design and holes dissipate energy from currents. The concrete used is non-acidic and the surface is roughened and dimpled, to encourage coral growth. A brass plaque marking the name and dates for the person being memorialized is included in the price.”

Today, the company started by the final wishes of Carleton Palmer offers a full package, which includes the hand-mixing of the ashed with the concrete by, if they so desire, the family members of the deceased.


  • Duhaime, Lloyd, Famous Wills
  • Eternal Reefs website at
  • Peterson, Iver, Eternal Rest With the Fishes, as a Part of an Artificial Reef, New York Times, September 25, 2004