Planning A Beautiful Service

Planning A Beautiful Service

Dos And Don'ts Of At Sea Burials Of Your Cremains

Cherly Fox

If you or a loved one has always loved the sea, you may dream of an at-sea burial following your cremation. You can spend eternity in the deep blue sea by distributing your ashes this way. The only thing you have to do is make sure you follow the rules. Here are a few dos and don'ts of at-sea burials.

Dos Of At Sea Burials

Under the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries issued a general permit from the EPA outlining numerous rules and regulations of at-sea burials. Anyone from the United States may use this permit to transport human remains to the sea for burial. There are no fees attached to the permit's use. Before you do so, you should know the following:

  • You must notify the EPA within 30 days of the burial, although you do not have to inform the EPA of your intent to use the general permit before using it.
  • Before releasing the ashes, you must be at least three nautical miles from any land. 
  • You may use your boat or charter a boat for your at-sea burial. Some charter operators offer specialized services specifically for burials.
  • You may contact the U.S. Navy or U.S. Coast Guard if you or your loved one served in the military. Either branch may be able to assist you with your service.

Notify your funeral home of your intent to perform an at-sea burial. The crematorium will prepare your ashes by removing any metal components from them.

Don'ts Of At Sea Burials

Like there are many things you can do in conjunction with your at sea-burial, there are also things you cannot do. Many of these things are not authorized under your use of the general permit. Certain forbidden practices can litter the ocean floor and put ocean life at risk.

  • You cannot incorporate the ashes into an artificial reef or any other monument before placing them in the ocean.
  • You cannot use a non-degradable container when placing your ashes in the ocean. There are biodegradable containers designed for this purpose.
  • You cannot perform your cremation by setting a burning body afloat on a boat or raft and setting it adrift in the ocean.

While this may appear cool in movies and practiced in other countries, it is not permissible in U.S. waters. The temperature of this burning type is not high enough to reduce the body to ashes and will generate smoke, ashes, and other debris dangerous to ocean life. For more information on cremation, contact a professional near you.


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Planning A Beautiful Service

When my mom passed away, my dad and I were charged with the task of planning a funeral that everyone would love. Unfortunately, this would prove to be a difficult task, since many of my mom's relatives didn't speak English. We mulled over what to do, and we decided to meet with the funeral director for a few tips. He told us a few ideas for how to make the experience easy for everyone to understand, and we implemented his suggestions. It was incredible how much easier it made things on the day of the funeral. Read here for more funeral arrangement tips so that you aren't left stressing about more than you need to.