For how long have your loved ones’ ashes been on the mantle or on that shelf in the closet?

It’s always hard to let go and a challenge for those of us who have the responsibility to bury our loved ones. If received by mail Golden Gate Burial Services has helped share that responsibility by offering the scattering of ashes westward of the Golden Gate Bridge from the sailboat ‘lil wing.

The US Postal Service will deliver your ashes to Golden Gate Burial Services as well as provide the necessary assistance and approved mailing container. If you prefer, your funeral home knows of this service and can accommodate your request. Under sail we scatter your ashes outside the Golden Gate in accord with state regulations and then file the required paperwork with the State of California, the decedent’s county of origin and Marin County. If requested we send to you an Acknowledgment of Burial. Our fee of $250 should be included with your ashes along with the Disposition of Human Remains.

How are cremated remains sent to Golden Gate Burial Services?

Golden Gate Burial Services receives cremated remains from anywhere in the United States. Please see USPS Publication 139 for postal instructions. Packaging must include a signed Application and Permit for Disposition of Human Remains. Simply forward them by USPS mail to:

GGBS Receiving
Attn: Richard Mortillaro
1745 20th Street
San Francisco, California 94107

Scattering of Ashes beyond the Golden Gate

There are few coastal areas in the world as well known as the sea beyond the Golden Gate Bridge. Golden Gate Burial Services provides a natural, affordable, and environmental alternative to a traditional cemetery burial. Families who chose burial at sea find it the ideal resting place for their loved ones.

Sailing Beyond Golden Gate The entrance to the Golden Gate is a recognized site for at-sea burials. Golden Gate Burial Services sails from Sausalito on the ebb tide reaching the Golden Gate Bridge. We continue westerly towards Mile Rock, perform the service requested and record our latitude, longitude, depth and weather. Upon request*, we will video the service. We complete the required documentation with state and county agencies and provide you with an Affirmation of Burial.

* additional cost of $50.

Captain de Vall and ‘lil wing

Captain Norman de Vall founded Golden Gate Burial Services in 2008 to give families other options for selecting a final resting place for their loved ones. ‘lil wing is a seaworthy 29-foot sloop and GGBS is licensed by the State and County. Captain de Vall’s experience and love of the sea ensure that the deceased will receive a respectful and beautiful service. Golden Gate Burial Services is a licensed Cremated Remains Disposer (CRD 830) by the State of California. Scatterings are registered with the adjacent county, State and federal EPA.

“After more than fifty years, I find each new day on the water as moving and meaningful as the first. My life of sailing brings me to this deeply satisfying work, giving comfort to those who grieve by honoring their loved ones with a sea burial.”

—Captain Norman de Vall


Golden Gate Burial Services will, when informed, honor veterans by lowering the flag to half-mast west of the Golden Gate Bridge. Veterans’ families or loved ones will receive an Affirmation of Burial stating the date, location, time and weather conditions when the burial took place.

How can I learn more about Golden Gate Burial Services?

Please contact us by e-mail at or telephone 707.357.5555. We will answer all questions you may have regarding burials at sea.

I am forever walking upon these shores,
Betwixt the sand and the foam,
The high tide will erase my foot-prints,
And the wind will blow away the foam.
But the sea and shore will remain forever.

—Kahlil Gibran

The sea, once it casts its spell,
holds one in its net of wonder forever.

—Jacques Cousteau