Gloucester man creates underwater memorials for those who want to spend forever in the ocean

Spending eternity underwater
Brian Bayford.png
Posted at 3:16 PM, May 13, 2021

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – A Gloucester man is starting a new business in hopes of providing people around the country with a unique place to spend forever.

Brian Bayford is passionate for the coast and water.

News 3 met up with him under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel to discuss his new business called Reef in Peace.

“People may choose not to sit in a casket and do not want to sit on a shelf somewhere. This is just a good alternative, and now you become part of something that benefits ecosystems forever,” said Bayford.

He and his wife take people’s ashes and put them inside a memorial that will go underwater. He said people from all over the country can use their services.

The memorials weigh about 200 to 500 pounds. Bayford said the memorials are placed about 5.2 miles southwest of Cape Charles. He says he also has agreements to do this in Florida.

“Memorials are made out of crushed oyster shells from Virginia. They’re also made out of coral calcium from Florida, and then it’s a mixture of concrete,” said Bayford. “We put them on the Bay floor, so they have a spot here in the Chesapeake Bay called the Cabbage Patch Reef, then we have a spot in Southwest Florida, and we have five reef spots available.”

He said he got the idea from his father before his dad passed away when he was mixing his best friend’s ashes to put them at his favorite fishing spot.

He said he’s had to work with several agencies to get the business underway.

“It has taken me several years, jumping through all the legal loopholes and hoops,” said Bayford. “We’re ready to do business.”

A memorial costs $2,395.

“When they send me the remains and we make then part of a living memorial, they become part of the environment in the ocean or the Bay forever,” said Bayford.

Giving people a final ocean rest, immersed in Mother Nature's deep blue sea.