Frequently Asked Questions
Burial at Sea
Can anyone be buried at sea?
Yes, anyone, cililivan and former military may be buried at sea. This includes cremated remains - ash scattering & full body burials.
Where can ash scattering services take place?
Ash scattering as it pertains to Burial at Sea takes place 3 natical miles from land.
How long does it take?
The average burial at sea for cremated remains ranges from 1 to 2 hours depending on the port. This includes the time to get to the site of of the memorial service and back to port.
What if I get sea sick?
Sea Sickness or motion sickness can affect anyone. There are preventative measures one can take, such as keeping your eye on the horizon. Check out my blog on Sea Sickness for helpful hints.
Do I Need a Special Urn or Container?
Should I Tip the Captain?
Generally a tip to the captain is not necessary, however if there is a mate on board then a tip is in order. A good tip is $20.00 to one mate or $10.00 if there are two mates. If you're hosting a much larger group which includes catering ask your captain.
What Kind of Boat Will I Be On?
The standard type of vessel used for Burial at Sea is a commercial sight-seeing, fishing, water or scuba diving boat. This is because they are Coast Guard inspected for safety and very affordable. Larger vessels equiped for catering events such as weddings and other celebrations typically don't go out into the ocean becasue of glassware on board. That said there are beautiful smaller yatchs available, however expect to pay a bit more.
Will the Captain Officiate the Ceremony?
In most cases, no. The captain's role is to maintain the safe navigation of the vessel but he or she will help you with the scattering and other matters while on board. See next question, Who Officiates the Ceremony?
Who Officiates the Burial at Sea Ceremony?
This depends if you're planning a religious service or if there's been a formal memorial and church service.
Can I Throw Flowers Into the Water?
Yes, light color flower petals work very well as they float on the ocean's surface. Flowers and biodegradeable wreates are permitted. Remember, anything that goes into the water must be biodegradeable and not pose a hazard to marine life or birds.
What if it Rains?
Light rain or the threat of a pop up shower shouldn't interfere with your service, however thunderstorms, high winds or any small craft advisories may lead to a cancellation. Your captain will reschedule with you.
Do I Need a Special Permit or File With the EPA?
The only state that requires a permit is California and not in all counties. Reporting to the EPA is very easy and you have 30 days. Read more in my blog - Scattering Ashes and Reporting to the EPA.