What Is Burial At Sea

Burial at sea is a funeral service where the deceased is placed in a deep-water grave. This burial takes place during a ceremony that usually includes prayers, readings, and other traditional elements. Depending on your religion and the family’s wishes, this can be done with or without a coffin. It’s not uncommon for people to choose burial at sea because it is a way of returning the deceased to nature while still allowing them to have a meaningful and respectful ceremony.

Burial at Sea Cost

Burial at sea is not a cheap funeral option, as the cost can vary widely depending on location and other factors. Generally speaking, the cost of burial at sea can range from about $1,500 to more than $30,000 or even higher.

Factors that influence cost include:

-The location of the burial, with burials in deeper waters costing more

-Whether a full body or cremated remains are being buried

-Whether there is a memorial service involved

-The size and type of casket used

-Travel costs to the burial site from shore or from another port.

Read our Cost of Funeral vs. Cremation post to compare with the costs of an in-ground burial.

Burial at Sea Ceremony

The traditional ceremony for burial at sea usually includes prayer, readings, and a brief eulogy. The ceremony can be held on board the vessel or ashore and must meet the requirements of the flag nation under which it is registered. For example, in the United States, a funeral service must be conducted in accordance with the United States Flag Code. You may want to include certain elements, such as a scattering of ashes or flowers in the water, depending on your religion or beliefs.

Burial at Sea Prayer

The prayer for burial at sea is typically short and straightforward. It may involve thanking God for the deceased’s life, asking for spiritual guidance, and offering prayers of comfort to the family. Depending on your religious beliefs, you may have a specific prayer you would like to use or one provided by the officiant. You can also customize your prayer or opt for a secular reading instead.

Some examples of common prayers include:

-“Into the Deep: A Prayer for Those Who Served”

-“God, We Commit This Person to Thee”

-“A Prayer of Farewell for a Lost Friend”

– “God, Redeem the Soul of Our Departed Loved One.”

Burial at Sea Process

The burial at sea process typically involves the following steps:

– Obtaining permission from the relevant authorities (e.g., Coast Guard, Department of Defense)

– Selecting a vessel to transport family and friends to the site of burial

– Preparing the deceased for burial at sea (if necessary)

– Gathering family and friends for the ceremony

– Conducting the ceremony at sea

– Lowering the casket (or scattering ashes) into the water

– Placing a marker or memorial to remember the deceased

– Filing paperwork with local and federal authorities.

Whole Body Burial at Sea

Whole body burials at sea involve placing a casket containing the deceased into the ocean in a dignified manner. This is usually done with several people on board the vessel who will lower the casket into the water and say a few words of remembrance. Depending on your wishes, you may opt to have a full body burial or the deceased’s ashes placed in the casket and lowered into the water.

Burial at Sea Casket

The type of casket used for burial at sea can vary depending on your preferences. Traditional wooden caskets are most common, but you can also opt for a biodegradable or weighted container instead. Biodegradable containers are made of materials that will decompose quickly in the ocean, while weighted containers have weights added to them so they will sink to the bottom and remain there even after being submerged.

Weighted Bag for Burial at Sea

Weighted bags are used to ensure that the remains of the deceased stay at the bottom of the ocean. They usually contain stones or weights and can be purchased from a funeral home or online. Many companies will also provide a custom bag if you request it and guidance on how much weight is necessary for your particular situation.

Cremation and Burial at Sea

Cremation is becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to whole-body burial at sea. This involves reducing the remains of the deceased to ashes, which can then be placed in a biodegradable urn or weighted bag and submerged into the ocean. Cremation does not require a casket, so it is much more cost-effective than a traditional burial. Learn more about the cremation process here.

Rules for Burial at Sea

The rules for burial at sea vary depending on where you are located. In the United States, a permit is required from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) before any burial can take place. The permit must be obtained in advance and will specify certain requirements such as location, time frame, and type of vessel to be used.

Here are some other important rules to be aware of for burial at sea:

– The body must be buried at least three nautical miles from the coast and at a minimum depth of 600 feet.

– You must notify the local Coast Guard station as soon as possible after the burial.

– No embalming or other preparation is allowed before the burial.

– No flowers or other objects may be placed in the water with the deceased.

Burial at Sea Certificate

Most funeral homes will provide a burial certificate for those who wish to have one. This document usually contains the name of the deceased, the date of burial, and the location of the burial site. It also serves as a reminder of the deceased for those who wish to remember them or as proof that the individual was buried at sea if required.

Overall, burial at sea is an ancient ritual that has been practiced by many cultures throughout history. With proper planning and respect for the deceased, a beautiful ceremony can be arranged that honors their life and memory. The process involves several steps and may require various permits, certificates, and burial containers, depending on your wishes. It is important to research the necessary procedures in advance to ensure that everything goes smoothly.

Burial at sea is an honorable way to lay loved ones to rest, but it is important to consider the cost, ceremony, prayer, process, and regulations before making any decisions. With careful planning and respect for the deceased, a meaningful burial at sea can be arranged that honors their memory.

To learn about other burial options, check out this post.

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Readinform is a Wisconsin based writer for funerals explained. They have come to understand the struggles of death and loss. Through life experience they have gathered the knowledge to help others and answer questions related to the funeral industry. When not writing readyinform focuses on learning new things and exploring the differences society offers.

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