New York State Funeral Directors Association

Remembering Heroes Lost Beneath the Seas

There are many cemeteries and memorials for those lost to battle on land.

But there are only few dedicated to the thousands who died in the seas. Some are are still in shipwrecks that have been discovered and looted - others are still missing.

A project underway in 2018 marks the first plan for an underwater memorial dedicated to U.S. submarine crew members who were lost at sea.

The “On Eternal Patrol Memorial Reef” represents an ambitious plan for an undersea memorial.

The nonprofit Eternal Reefs creates habitats for sea life by placing orb-like concrete structures on the sea floor. They are often situated where coral reefs have been lost.

They offer families the option of incorporating the ashes of loved ones into them.

The service ranges in price from $2, 995 to memorialize a loved one as part of a living reef project – to $7,495 for the largest “Mariner Eternal Reef” which can fit four sets of remains, according to the Eternal Reefs website.

There are about 700,000 of these Reef Balls in the oceans worldwide, according to Eternal Reefs.

The On Eternal Patrol Memorial Reef is different in that the underwater structures – which will create an artificial reef that’s beneficial to undersea wildlife – won’t have cremation ashes incorporated into the concrete.

This new undersea memorial honors a distinct set of veterans – those who bravely served their country at war beneath the water.

This memorial will serve as a remembrance to more than 4,000 American submariners killed or lost at sea while aboard 65 submarines from 1900 on.

“We can think of no more fitting memorial to these heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice serving our country beneath the waves,” Eternal Reefs CEO George Frankel said in a press release.

The company produced 66 of these reef structures – 65 with the name of a submarine; and another dedicated to submariners who died without the submarine sinking.

The U.S. lost its first submarine and crew near Hawaii, when the USS F-4 sunk in March of 1915, killing all 21 on board. They are buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

The most recent loss of a submarine and crew took place in May of 1968, when 99 crew members were killed when the USS Scorpion sunk.


There are several memorials for those who lost their lives at sea, below is information on some of them:

  • USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor
    This memorial is dedicated to the 1,177 sailors and marines on the ship in addition to others who lost their lives in the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. The ship itself remains where it was sunk and it’s considered an active military cemetery.
  • Lady of the Gulf
    The Lady of the Gulf Seaman’s Memorial is dedicated to all of those who lost their lives to the seas, this 16-foot-tall sculpture is located at Port Fourchon, Louisiana. Memorial bricks are offered for sale so that folks from anywhere who want to memorialize a loved one lost at sea can do so.
  • Lost at Sea Memorial
    Located in Morse Park Landing in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, the Lost at Sea Memorial is a granite monument with a full-sized etching of Johnny W. Brown, who lost his life on a fishing vessel in April of 2005. There were 30 names etched on this monument by late May of 2018.
  • Figurehead Lost at Sea Memorial
    Dedicated in 2005, this memorial on St. David’s Island in Bermuda is dedicated to the memory of sea-faring residents who lost their lives serving as, among other things, whalers, fishermen and crew members.
  • Lost to the Sea Memorial
    The Department of Canadian Heritage and Yarmouth Waterfront Development Corporation, other sponsors and the community developed and built this memorial park, dedicated in 2013, to those of Yarmouth County who died at sea. Hundreds of names now appear on Monuments at this memorial.
  • Lost at Sea Memorial, Montauk
    Situated near the Montauk Lighthouse in Long Island, NY, this bronze statue honors the names of those “lost to the waves” since the colonial days.

With their immense size and danger, the oceans will claim more people into the future. Fortunately, there are many places where these people who brave the waters will be remembered.


EdsPhotoEdward Munger Jr.
Communications & Social Media Specialist
NYS Funeral Directors Association