Who We Are
We are a small, caring company, family owned and operated since 1997. Since burial at sea is our specialized service, we pride ourselves on the attention to detail given to our families, focusing on the issues affecting YOU during your difficult time.
Many people do not realize that we are regulated and inspected the same as a funeral home. This is for your protection and peace of mind, knowing that everything is done legally and according to your wishes.
To legally advertise and scatter ashes in the ocean in California, you must be licensed through the California Department of Consumer Affairs. It is called a Cremated Remains Disposer license or CRD. This is in addition to any licenses issued by the Coast Guard. Our license number is CRD 399. Learn more.
Ken & Anya Shortridge, owners
We’re a husband and wife team who really love people. Many have asked us over the years us if being in this business is difficult, too much to bear. Yes, it is true that our customers have all suffered great loss. The truth is, while some situations have certainly been more difficult than others, we have found that being able to assist others in their time of need has actually helped US to become better people. Our day to day focus in life is less on the material, and more on the greater things in life. We, too, have faced death in our family. We know how difficult it is. We know how to help.
Our company is still a small, intimate one and we’re dedicated to giving you the personal attention you need at this sensitive time in your life. Please feel free to call us any time.
January 15, 2011: Please read this really great interview with Ken & Anya Shortridge from “The Daily Undertaker.”
On April 21, 1997, Ken’s father died. His wish was to be cremated and his ashes spread upon the sea that he loved.
Ken relates, “The experience was so unlike a land burial, unlike any funeral I had ever experienced. There was no feeling of gloom. The ocean air and atmosphere gave the occasion an almost pleasant quality. I determined then to share this experience with others.”
This was my compelling reason for forming Ashes on the Sea, a small, caring company to help in your time of need; a company dedicated to excellence in service and with the highest integrity; a company that is truly interested in you!
More About Us…
Ken Shortridge, Founder
Ken’s motto is: ‘Love that salt water. I want to be on it, in it, or under it.” He is a native Californian, born and raised. He has always been drawn to anything that had do with the water and the ocean, learning how to sail at an early age just by reading C.S. Forrester’s Hornblower series.
His love of the ocean led him to other passions such as fishing, boating, and scuba diving. Ken became a certified divemaster in 1984 and has dived the Hawaiian Islands, up and down the Sea of Cortez, and the Caribbean, besides local California diving in the Pacific.
Ken is the father of Caleb Shortridge who passed away in 1998 as the result of a tragic accidental overdose. He was just 27 years old. Caleb’s ashes were scattered off the coast of San Diego as he would have wished. Soon after, Ken and his wife Anya helped to start a non-profit organization whose mission is to educate the public about Gamma Hydroxy Butyrate, or GHB. They have appeared on numerous television programs and talk shows from Texas to California, including MTV’s Flipped and the Leeza Gibbons Show. The organization they started is now known as Project GHB – http://www.projectghb.org – and is currently run by a tireless group of volunteers and educators.
Besides ocean activities, Ken’s other hobbies and interests include photography, gardening, travel and dancing, just to name a few. He relates: “When I’m feeling low, tired, or stressed, all I have to do is get out on the sea and I am totally revitalized. The ocean is my best medicine.”
Ken holds a Merchant Mariner Credential from the United States Coast Guard as Master (Captain). Read or subscribe to his blog: http://feeds.feedburner.com/CaptainKen
Ken is also licensed through the California Department of Consumer Affairs, Funeral Bureau as a Cremated Remains Disposer (CRD 399) which makes it legal for him to scatter ashes at sea.
Anya Shortridge, Owner, Family Coordinator
Anya was born in 1965 in Marin County. She grew up on a farm in Contra Costa County and spent junior high through high school in the Mountains of Northern California.
In 1997 Anya met Ken Shortridge in San Diego. He had just started Ashes on the Sea. He needed a marketing designer and webmaster. Anya agreed to be the one.
In October of the same year, she agreed again to be “the one” – Ken’s partner for life. Seems like all that time spent together on projects created a bond of friendship that became much more.
Anya is the mother of 4 children and the grandmother of Micah – 3 years old as of this writing. She enjoys boating, fishing, dancing, and singing, just to name a few. One of her biggest passions is organic gardening and exploring all facets of nature. She never tires of full moons, storms, rainbows, and sunsets over the Pacific Ocean.
Diane Knaus, Family Facilitator
Diane has been with Ashes on the Sea since 2006. She helps families on the boat with their memorial service and their comfort while on board. She usually knows what families need before they have to ask! Her patience and her love of people have made her a very valuable addition to our staff.
When she is not assisting families here at Ashes on the Sea, Diane also works with elderly people who are in hospice, receiving in home health services, or who are just in need of a companion and assistant. She also works with elementary school children as an assistant in the classroom.
Diane shares her love of people with her husband Steve, a two-time cancer survivor. They both enjoy travel, camping, gardening, music, and nature. Steve and Diane have been together 45 years now – and are still very much in love. You go guys!
Crystal Henson, Office Assistant
Crystal is the daughter of owners Ken & Anya Shortridge. She graduated valedictorian in 2009 from Remington College and is now a nationally licensed massage therapist. In addition to assisting in our office, she runs her own massage business – http://www.crystalsmassage.com – and also works part time at Wellspring Holistic Center in San Diego, CA.
Most certainly one of the biggest highlights in Crystal’s life was In January 2006 when her son Micah was born! He has been the delight of the whole family ever since.
Melissa “Missy” Henson, Family Facilitator
Melissa, “Missy,” was born in 1989 in McCloud, California, a small mountain town just east of Mt. Shasta. She grew up in San Diego and still lives in “America’s finest city.” She is one of our family facilitators, assisting families on board the boats to conduct their memorial services.
Missy is the daughter of owners Ken & Anya Shortridge. She has been assisting families on board our vessels since she was 15 years old, and has a sincere compassion for people. She is very empathetic, has a wonderful outgoing personality and sense of humor, making everyone around her feel at ease.
Melissa has also worked for six years in the retail industry and has a wonderful fashion sense. She enjoys road trips, fashion bargains, good music, and shoes, to name a few, and is an avid movie buff. She is devoted to her family and friends and enjoys spending as much time with them as possible.