When boaties are lost at sea, their bodies are often never recovered, making it difficult for families to find closure.
So today in Nelson, Australasia's largest fishing port, hundreds gathered to remember at the annual 'Blessing of the Fleet'.
Seafarers' Memorial Trust Chairman Michael Smith says a decision was made by the fishing industry "to build a monument to respect those losses, a place for the next of kin and to tell people the true price of fish. It costs people's lives".
That was nearly two decades ago. Since then, the event held in Nelson Haven has become a place for people to reflect.
Jude Well told 1 NEWS she's attended almost every ceremony, remembering her late husband who worked as a commercial fisherman and was lost at sea.
"You don't have a place at the cemetery, you don't have a burial, you haven't buried them, you haven't farewelled them in the traditional way," she says.
Twenty people have died in boating accidents the past 12 months. 13 were on recreational vessels and six were commercial fatalities, although three of those deaths were likely the result of onboard medical events.
The ceremony held a minute of silence which was followed by celebrations to mark the major role of fishing in the region.
Skipper and owner of FV Moata, Finn Horder, says the day gives him a good feeling.
"Otherwise we're out away and people don't know what we do and to have them come and see this today is great".
The event was savoured with a serving of fish and chips before crowd saw off their local seafarers with a boat parade.