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How to Arrange a Burial at Sea

Burial by sea has been a long-standing tradition among sailors and naval officers, but it is also an option for civilians. There are different ways to arrange a burial at sea, and it can vary depending on the location, regulations, and personal preferences. If you or a loved one wants to have a burial at sea, it's important to know the process and requirements to make it happen. In this article, we will discuss how to arrange a burial at sea and what you need to prepare beforehand.

Choose the type of burial at sea 

There are two main types of burial at sea: scattering of ashes and full-body burial. Scattering of ashes means that the cremated remains of the deceased are scattered on the surface of the ocean. This can be done through various methods, such as tossing them from a boat or plane, using a biodegradable urn, or placing them in a reef ball. Full-body burial means that the entire body of the deceased is placed in a casket or shroud and lowered into the ocean. This requires more preparations and permissions, but it is a meaningful way to honor the deceased's connection to the sea.

Check the legal requirements

Different countries and states have different regulations related to burial at sea. In some areas, you need to submit a permit application and follow specific instructions, such as ensuring the casket is biodegradable and the location is at least a few nautical miles from the shore. Other countries may have their own governing bodies and procedures to follow. It's important to research and comply with the legal requirements to avoid any legal or environmental issues.

Choose the location and vessel

Once you have a permit and know the legal requirements, you can choose the location and vessel for the burial. It can be a public or private charter boat, a fishing boat, or a yacht. Some people prefer to have the ceremony close to a meaningful location, such as a harbor, a beach, or a landmark. The vessel should be large enough to accommodate the number of guests and have enough space to conduct the ceremony. You can also hire a captain or a chaplain to officiate the ceremony.

Plan the ceremony and invite guests

The ceremony for a burial at sea can vary depending on the religion, culture, and personal preferences of the deceased and their family. It can include music, prayers, readings, eulogies, or symbolic gestures such as releasing flowers or balloons. You can also have a photomontage or a memory book to honor the life of the deceased. Make sure to inform the guests about the dress code, the weather conditions, and any additional instructions for the ceremony. You can also provide refreshments or a reception after the ceremony to show your appreciation for the guests' presence.