A Burial At Sea Maritime Funeral Services
Memorial Service at Sea, Memorial Service at Sea RI

Captain David Morin, Vicki Morin

Joan Ross Photography

A Burial at Sea Maritime Funeral Service is owned by Captain David Morin and his wife, Vicki Morin (married September 26, 2009 in the Arrowhead Acres "Chapel in the Pines.")

Captain Morin has over 40 years of experience on Southern New England waters and is both a U .S. Coast Guard licensed Captain and a qualified Coxswain in the Coast Guard Auxiliary. Vicki is USCG AUX crew qualified and a Past Flotilla Commander from a Rhode Island Flotilla. Dave and Vicki met through their activities with the USCG AUX while performing a burial at sea for a former crew mate. Although Vicki serves as first mate with Captain Morin, he affectionately refers to her as "the Admiral" while on the boat.

Each year Captain Morin and Vicki volunteer over a thousand hours assisting the U.S. Coast Guard in many capacities -- Harbor Patrols, Stellwagen Marine Preserve data collection for whale activities, monitoring commercial fishing activities, vessel safety checks, etc. The private yacht is fully equipped with extensive safety equipment and is a U.S. Coast Guard Operational Facility participating in official Search and Rescue activities, as needed. The yacht has far more safety equipment than is required for charter boats.

A Burial at Sea Maritime Funeral Services
Office Exterior
A Burial at Sea Maritime Funeral Services
92 Aldrich Street, Uxbridge, MA 01569


A Burial at Sea Maritime Funeral Services

Captain Morin was first introduced to burials at sea by his father who had arranged for his own cremation and scattering at sea by one of the organizations that perform thousands of burials each year. It was quite by accident that Captain Morin discovered that the marketing message that encouraged his father to choose the organization was quite different than the services that were actually delivered. Captain Dave arranged a much more respectful individual burial at sea service for his mother several years later.

Memorial Service at Sea, Memorial Service at Sea RI
Memorial Service at Sea, Memorial Service at Sea RI

Since that time, Captain Morin has provided private maritime funeral services for Coast Guard members and others who had difficulty finding burial at sea services in the Massachusetts and Rhode Island area. It was from these personal experiences that A Burial At Sea was created.

When Dave and Vicki are not at sea, they operate Arrowhead Acres (A Wedding, Banquet, Function facility, and Christmas Tree Farm).

Learn more about Burial at Sea ...

Capt. David Morin honored with Coast Guard Award
Uxbridge Times Articles

Ashes to the sea
Uxbridge-based maritime funeral service assists bereaved
Worcester Telegram Article

from Ashes to Ashes ...
Lifebeat – Providence Journal

Dear Dave,
Thank you so much for allowing us to honor our mother's wishes by spreading her ashes "at sea" near Castle Hill in Newport on Sunday! We know now we will always have a place to return to and "visit" with mom. What a beautiful ceremony and great opportunity to be together for our family.

It was a pleasure to meet you and Vicki in person, we really appreciate you both taking the time to be with us on such a momentous day. Also, we wish you luck at your upcoming wedding!

All the best,

Uxbridge Times Article 06/2010

Captain David Morin, Memorial Service at Sea, Memorial Service at Sea RI

Worcester Telegram Article 6/1/2010

Ashes to the sea
Uxbridge-based maritime funeral service assists bereaved


Green Burial, Green Burial RI, Sea Burial, Sea Burial RI

David Morin and his wife, Vicki Morin, of Uxbridge, operate A Burial At Sea, a maritime funeral service that delivers ashes at sea. (T&G Staff/CHRISTINE PETERSON)

A lot of other services that offer burials at sea were kind of like wedding-chapel mills. The Morins were a lot more personal. They can only take six people on the boat. It was really intimate.
-- Mary Cassidy

UXBRIDGE —  Joan E. Eyler, an Englishwoman living in Ohio, has known that she would like her final resting place to be at sea.

"For me — as you can tell by talking to me — I am English. But I am neither one nor the other," Ms. Eyler said. "So when I die, put me in the Atlantic, so I can drift to either shore."

Ms. Eyler shared her thoughts on her burial plans with her then 96-year-old mother, who liked the idea herself.

So when her mother died just two weeks shy of her 97th birthday last year, Ms. Eyler and her two daughters — who reside in Belchertown and Southbridge — searched the Internet for a burial-at-sea ceremony and happened upon David Morin and his wife, Vicki.

The Morins — skilled mariners who volunteer to assist the U.S. Coast Guard with activities such as harbor patrols and vessel safety checks — operate A Burial At Sea, a maritime funeral service that delivers ashes at sea.

Mr. Morin has 40 years experience sailing off the coast of New England and is a U.S. Coast Guard-licensed captain and coxswain in the Coast Guard Auxiliary. Mrs. Morin is Coast Guard Auxiliary crew-qualified and is immediate past flotilla commander of a Rhode Island flotilla.

The Morins do an average of 25 ceremonies a year between May and October on their 35-foot eight-passenger cruiser yacht, Christmas Toy.

Mr. Morin is used to celebrating with families as they mark life's milestones with his main business, Arrowhead Acres, a banquet facility and Christmas Tree Farm. He did his first burial at sea six years ago for a Coast Guard captain from Florida who had family in the area, and has done maritime funeral services for other former Coast Guard personnel. The business grew to members of the public looking for burial alternatives. The Morins also offer maritime funeral services for pets, but haven't yet done such a ceremony.

Burials at sea are postponed if the weather is inclement, Mr. Morin said, and he advises families to book a three-day window in order to have alternative days from which to choose.

The Morins — Mr. Morin serves as the captain and has dubbed Mrs. Morin "The Admiral" — meet families at the dock in Narragansett Bay, board Christmas Toy and run a safety briefing. They then sail around one of three Rhode Island lighthouses — Point Judith Light in Narragansett, Beavertail Light in Jamestown and Castle Hill Light in Newport — that can serve as permanent markers for family and friends should they choose to return later.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, cremated remains may be scattered at least three miles off shore. Mr. Morin does a brief service before the scattering, records the latitude and longitude and provides families with a certificate at the end of the burial.

Prices for A Burial At Sea start at $295 for an unattended dissemination of ashes, and increases to $695 for a maximum of six people to attend the service aboard the yacht.

Mr. Morin said his parents chose to have a burial at sea, a decision they arrived at after considering all their traveling, and saw it as an economical and practical alternative.

"Cost was one of the major factors," Mr. Morin said. "In addition to the cost, they had gone away on many cruises and had visited far-reaching places. It just seemed appropriate. My mother owned several plots in New Hampshire, but she just felt she didn't want to be a bother and this was more efficient."

Mr. Morin said many choose a burial at sea because they spent a lot of time in their childhood at the beach, or the ocean played a significant role in their lives.

Mary Cassidy's ex-husband, Christopher Soo, spent most of his free time at the beach, enjoyed windsurfing, and explicitly did not want to be buried when he died.

"He had always wanted to go that way — just throw me in the water type of thing," said Ms. Cassidy, who lives in Connecticut. "We knew this was exactly what we were going to do."

Though divorced, Ms. Cassidy and Mr. Soo and his sisters remained close. When Mr. Soo died last year at the age of 50 after a long illness, they were researching burials at sea and decided on the Morins.

"A lot of other services that offer burials at sea were kind of like wedding-chapel mills," said Ms. Cassidy. "The Morins were a lot more personal. They can only take six people on the boat. It was really intimate."

Ms. Cassidy chose to have Mr. Soo's ashes scattered in view of the Newport lighthouse, a place they had visited often.

"Being what it was, it was not a fun thing," said Ms. Cassidy. "But it was a great experience, and exactly what he would have wanted."

People have shipped ashes to have Mr. Morin scatter, and others have come from as far away as California. A Chinese family brought their aunt's ashes back from the Philippines, and the family joined the Morins on the boat for the ceremony

"We see a lot of tears, but we also see a lot of people gain a sense of final closure knowing that the individual is finally at peace ," Mr. Morin said.

Lifebeat – Providence Journal
07/22/2007 01:00 AM EDT

from Ashes to Ashes . . .

By Faye B. Zuckerman  Journal Staff Writer
David Twiddy  Associated Press

Burial at Sea, Burial at Sea RI, Ash Scattering, Ash Scattering RI
Loved ones who hire the services of Burial at Sea, of Uxbridge, Mass., get this certificate that gives the latitude and longitude where ashes were dropped and a picture of the lighthouse on a nearby shore.

A former Rhode Island Coast Guard captain wanted to honor his father's dying wish to have his ashes scattered in Narragansett Bay. He soon became frustrated after having little success in finding a company that specialized in such memorials.

The captain knew the rules. To scatter a loved one's ashes you must be three miles out in the bay, and, of course, when it comes to the actual process one must make sure the boat is positioned properly. Otherwise, due to the wind, you may end up covered in the remains.

He complained to his friend, a licensed captain named David Morin of Uxbridge, Mass., about the lack of such formal sendoffs, and his desire to have some kind of a small gathering and a certificate to remember the occasion.

"We had heard of people who just dropped ashes off bridges or the Block Island Ferry or showed up at the docks and hired a fishing boat," said Morin. "All of that is not recommended nor is it allowed. Something like that needs to be done right."

Motivated by his friend's dilemma, some three years ago Morin created a maritime funeral company called A Burial at Sea. For $595, Morin will take six guests in his boat one-hour offshore to hold a ceremony to scatter ashes and put a loved one to rest. He charges $195 if friends and family are unable to attend. He'll scatter the ashes on his own, and then send the family a burial certificate. Morin's business is among a variety of companies across the country that are helping families deal with their loved ones' remains, either fulfilling their relative's wishes or finding a final resting place more exotic than a family urn. The demand is a response to a growing number of cremations — 32 percent of U.S. deaths led to cremation in 2005, compared with 21 percent in 1996, according to the National Funeral Directors Association.

Morin says his families can choose the location of the scattering. He'll perform services near the Point Judith, Beavertail or Castle Hill lighthouses so, according to Morin's Web site, www.aburialatsea.com, "Loved ones can visit the area year round." So far, he has performed 36 scatterings, and he offers the same service for remains of pets.

On the West Coast, Bill Metzger said he's seen a 50 percent increase in customers over the past year for his business, Final Flights, which uses his Piper Cherokee to scatter ashes above southern California sites, such as La Jolla, Big Bear or the Catalina Islands. He said he does six to 10 scatterings a month at a cost of $300 to $500, depending on distance and fuel prices.

"When I get a call and I explain what we do, people are stunned; they didn't know something like this existed," Metzger said. "It just seemed an uplifting — no pun intended — happy way of doing things, as opposed to a somber scattering at sea or placing in a columbarium [crypt]."

Mark Smith, president of the Chicago-based Cremation Association of North America, said the majority of cremated remains still go home with loved ones for burial or safekeeping. But his association did a study last year that found that 21.7 percent of remains are destined to be scattered, up from 17.8 percent in 1997.

Smith said much of that growth is coming as funeral home directors increasingly offer scattering services in their funeral packages or at least broach the subject of alternative disposition of the ashes, something traditional-minded families may have never considered.

He added that some relatives choose scattering because they worry about possibly losing the remains or subsequent generations letting the ashes lay forgotten in a closet or attic.

"They realize they don't want to become custodians and caretakers for these remains for a long period of time," he said.

DWIGHT SMITH and his mother made several trips to Ireland over the years, reveling in the beauty of the Killarney lakes in the southwest corner of the country.

When Smith's mother died last August, there was no question she would be cremated — a request she had made often — or that her remains would be scattered near the lakes.

But Smith, of New London, Conn., said he didn't have the time or resources to make the trip now and wanted to fulfill his mother's wishes soon.

"What she doesn't want to be is in Long Island Sound," he said.

Checking with a mortician friend, he hooked up with the International Scattering Society in the Kansas City suburb of Lee's Summit, a sort of travel agency for the cremated dead that offered to handle for a fee all the paperwork and logistics required in taking his mother's remains overseas. Sometime this month, one of the society's members will scatter the ashes in Killarney, providing Smith with video or photos of the event.

"I feel that it will be done in a better way than I could have done," he said. "My mother would be happy that someone who likes doing this is doing this."

KELLY MURTAUGH, owner of the nearly three-year-old International Scattering Society, says the company will honor any request to scatter ashes anywhere in the world. For customers who want information on scattering on their own, for $75 her staff will research local ordinances and obtain a permit.

Her company charges $495 to perform a scattering at a family's request. In Europe, the Society charges $695; Japan costs $895.

National parks have been the most popular location to strew remains, she said. Recently, a few requests have arrived to scatter in France. One of the more unusual requests came from someone who asked to have ashes put inside a slot machine in a Las Vegas casino, but she said her company has scattered in rainforests and at Stonehenge.

"I think baby boomers want options. They are a much more transient group," she said. "They typically don't have family nearby, and they want to honor requests of family members."

People are no longer limited by geography when considering final resting places. Some don't like the idea that their ashes will simply sit on a mantle, and they are making plans for their ashes before they die.

THE MOST POPULAR scattering option is water, reported a study by the Cremation Association. Land-based scattering has grown from 27 percent to 40 percent since 1997.

Wes Heinmiller, owner of Newport Beach, Calif.-based Atlantis Society, said his company does about 400 scattering ceremonies a year off the coasts of California and Washington State. His service costs $1,000 to $1,200 per ceremony, including the cost of chartering his 67-foot yacht.

JOANIE WEST of Crystal River, Fla., has taken a different angle on air scattering with her 10-year-old company, The Eternal Ascent Society. With the help of the family or by herself, she launches the cremated remains inside a large helium-filled balloon. Once it reaches a height of five miles, it pops, distributing the ashes to the winds.

"It's something that's beautiful when they see it," said West, who is setting up franchises in Las Vegas, Seattle and New Jersey and charges between $995 and $1,500 per service, depending on how far the coordinator has to travel. "I tell them that when it scatters, it's going all over the universe."

For the person envisioning a more localized scattering, there are numerous services willing to take the ashes to any spot on the globe.

Jonathan Rose in Mountain View, Calif., charges $225 to take a person's ashes to land he owns south of Yosemite National Park in the Sierra Mountains where he'll scatter the remains or bury them in one spot, which he said appeals to Catholics.

"Mostly they want to be in the mountains; the idea of being scattered from a mile up doesn't appeal to them," said Rose, whose High Sierra Gardens does about 12 scatterings a year but acknowledges he could do a lot more if he worked on his marketing. "It really is building up a trust issue with the funeral homes; that's really difficult."

THE ISSUE IS REALLY about people and their feelings. Murtaugh said she founded her International Scattering Society after working in hospice care and seeing the struggles people had in making end-of-life decisions. She now has 22 members available, mostly in the U.S., who will receive the ashes through certified mail and scatter them wherever the customer wants.

"I think it's a way of cherishing the memory of that person," she said. "Maybe they feel that have a connection with that particular area."

Besides scattering, the society can also help customers navigate the myriad regulations covering the disposal of cremated remains, which varies widely from country to country and even city to city.

Disposal typically requires a permit from the local health department and, in the case of overseas scatterings, tangling with customs officials.

"If it gives them some closure, that's all we need," she said.

Where to find resources:


Hi Dave,
I received the certificate!!! It is such a nice tribute. Already have it in a frame and appropriately displayed. Again, thank you and Vicki for a memorable day.

Joan B.


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