It’s a windy morning on New Haven Harbor, and there’s not a pleasure boat in sight. Not a good day for fishing in Long Island Sound, with three-to four-foot waves breaking into whitecaps, but it’s the day a certain individual’s ashes will be scattered.

A deceased fishing enthusiast, whose name could not be disclosed because of a family agreement, had loved the water of Long Island Sound, had been cremated and now his ashes were now sitting in a purple cardboard box onboard the Mister Sea. The 26-foot boat was headed out for the area past the stone breakers, about three miles from shore, where Tony Cottiero, of Hamden, thought the water would be calmer.

“The wind is coming in from the west. It’s about 30 knots now. I think this afternoon it’s going to be 35 knots. We wouldn’t be able to do this,” said Cottiero, who is a co-owner of Burial At Sea, an enterprise that scatters ashes on Long Island Sound for a fee that starts at about $450.

The boat is really rocking when Cottiero finds the spot outside the breakers. It’s a little calmer, as he thought it would be. He opens the purple box, tied with a ribbon, and sprinkles the ashes over the side.

“They’re floating,” he said, remarking about the ashes as he reaches for a long-stemmed carnation.

He throws the flower in after the ashes.

“There it is,” Cottiero said. “His ashes were scattered where he wanted them.”

He explains how the family will receive a notarized certificate explaining how the ashes were scattered. Ashes can be scattered legally on the open water, but the boxes and urns they come in cannot, he said. They are returned to the family as a memento. They may also receive a small amount of the water.

“They may want to keep a sprinkle of them as a reminder,” he said.

Cottiero and his partners, his son, Thomas Cottiero and their associate, Amy Susan White, perform the service about 50 times a year, in the warmer months.

“It’s more of a community service than a business,” said Cottiero, who is semi-retired as an insurance consultant. “I feel I’m helping people bring closure.”

It’s a concept that is winning ground because of the rising popularity of cremations, as adults facing their own mortality choose alternatives to traditional funerals and burials.

Cremation is a much less expensive option than a funeral and burial, and scattering the ashes is an extension of the process.

“It’s going to become more popular because a lot of people are going toward cremations,” said Phyllis Havens, co-owner of the North Haven Funeral Home, which has made referrals to Cottiero and his partners.

In most cases, the families choose to have an open casket wake before the body is cremated. It is less expensive than a funeral with a traditional burial.

Families either take the urn with ashes home with them, perhaps to scatter them privately, or, they hire Cottiero to take them out to Long Island Sound.

All ashes are scattered on the open waters.

There, on a windy Monday morning that only a sailor could love, the ashes of a saltwater fishing enthusiast who once fished the Sound were now floating on the surface.

The family chose not to be there, although they could have been part of a small memorial service complete with short readings.

Cottiero figures he will go there one day, too.

He is a lifetime boater who’s had many good times on the Sound.

“I’ve given it a lot of consideration,” he said.

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