Burial at sea ceremonies typically look like a scene from a movie. With the sea as the final resting place and soothing music to create a solemn atmosphere, it feels like an extraordinary moment in life.
While burying your loved one in the sea allows you to say goodbye in a special manner, if you are thinking of a full body burial, it requires careful planning and detailed execution. The spreading of ashes upon the water is far simpler.
In either case, it’s important to keep in mind several reminders to hold a successful, unforgettable burial at sea ceremony reflecting the feelings you and your family have for your deceased loved one.
Did You Know Anyone Can Be Buried at Sea?
Back in the day, sailors and marines were the only people who were usually given a sea burial ceremony. They were honored by the service organizations they gave their lives to. Comrades in arms, and when possible families and friends were able to gather around and lay their loved one to rest filled with pride for their accomplishments.
Today, anyone can be buried at sea. In fact, it’s becoming a popular funeral choice because of the special, sentimental touch it has. One thing you should remember, a full-body burial in North America is quite rare due to all the extra steps required.
For instance, a special license is required and the body must be laid to rest much further out to sea. An undertaker will make sure the body is clear of any infection as well as other details, such as a special casket designed to sink. Also, the deceased must also be wearing biodegradable clothing to avoid negatively affecting the marine environment.
Ashes or Casket?
There are two ways to be buried at sea. One is through cremation. The family can scatter the ashes across the sea. This option doesn’t require a special license and is logistically simpler in every way.
The other option is using a casket. In this case, the body must be placed in a metal casket with a weight that’s four times the deceased’s weight. A minimum of two six-inch holes must be drilled in the bottom and lid of the casket to make sure it sinks. It’s also required to take it at least three nautical miles out to sea and place it at least 600 feet deep water.
Decorations and Materials
You can include flowers and wreaths when sending off the body. However, you must ensure that the materials are biodegradable before placing them at the burial site. Otherwise, you risk harming the environment.
Special Tribute Ideas
One way to show your love and care for the deceased is to hold a special tribute during the ceremony. You can do this by setting up memory tables or trees that can showcase the deceased’s life. This lets family and friends honor the deceased by charting the major events of the deceased’s life.
Music always adds a lot. The choice of music creates the atmosphere you want the service to have. Also, music has a soothing effect that comforts grieving friends and family. Consider playing the deceased’s favorite songs to remember them or music that was popular during their lifetime.
The sky’s the limit in preparing a special tribute. It both honors the deceased and helps friends and family in the healing process.
A eulogy is a way for the people closest to the deceased to talk about their special times together. Preparing a meaningful eulogy allows everyone to send their last message and share the story of the deceased’s life in their perspective. It can involve a story or an honest and heartfelt anecdote.
Keeping all these in mind will help you give your loved one a memorable final sendoff. Working closely with your charter operator and sharing your funeral plans with them is important in creating the best burial at sea ceremony that your dearly departed loved one deserves.
How to Bury a Loved One at Sea in 4 Easy Steps, Time.com
Burial at Sea: 7 Things You Might Not Know, BBC.com