Coastguard members show off their new Remembrance Stone
For many years now, QF17 Tin Can Bay has offered a service to the community which is a little different to most: the scattering of ashes at sea (dispersals). Generally this is arranged by a family member or friend of the deceased, but often the person arranges this in advance – much like the prepayment of one’s own funeral.
More people, especially those who have had a connection with or love of the sea, are using this service now. With families moving to different towns or cities, states or even countries, the days of visiting a family grave on Sunday afternoon, taking flowers and dusting the headstone are over, so a dispersal of ashes at sea seems a fitting and final tribute.
Our ceremonies are held around the southern section of the Great Sandy Straits, or east of the Wide Bay Bar (depending on client preferences and the weather). Relatives and friends are invited to accompany us on our vessel.
Memorial ceremonies can also be arranged whereby relatives are taken to the place where the dispersal took place and put flowers on the water if they wish.
Each ceremony is designed around the requests of the deceased and loved ones. Usually the closest relative pours the ashes, accompanied by a chosen piece of music and flowers are strewn upon the water.
We accommodate everyone’s wishes where possible. If relatives prefer to ask a priest, this can also be arranged. Our Flotilla Chaplin can preside, but our experience is that people seem to prefer a small civil ceremony.
Sunday is the most popular day for dispersals, but we are happy to arrange a time and day that suits relatives in relation to travel distances and so on. QF17 Tin Can Bay’s normal operations are seven days per week from 6am to 6pm.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, the family is given a memorial card signed by the Flotilla Commander as well as the skipper of the boat. This is one of the mementoes the family can preserve for future generations. Relatives are also supplied with the coordinates and a Google Earth view of the location as part our service.
QF17 Tin Can Bay is also very proud to announce the completion of the memorial garden, located at the QF17 Base at Norman Point.
Flotilla Commander, Colleen Johnson, said, “This is a great result due to the dedication and persistence of our volunteers who began this project over six years ago.”
The quiet garden setting, overlooking Tin Can Bay/Snapper Creek Inlet, encourages time for reflection.
A remembrance stone is strategically placed for memorial plaques to be affixed by members of the public to honour their loved ones. Several plaques have already been donated. Authorised plaques are organised through Cooloola Trophies and Engraving in Gympie.
Commander Johnson gave special thanks to a very special local resident for the donation and transport of the stone from Helidon, and to Lees Fishing Staff for their donation of heavy lifting equipment and muscles.
The garden will be dedicated on Saturday, February 28. The service starts at 1pm and light refreshments will be provided.
Information about QF17 Services, including scattering of ashes at sea and placement of memorial plaques will be available at the service.
All members of the public are invited to attend.