Burials at sea are intimate ceremonies that allow families to bid farewell to their departed loved ones for the final time. If you wish to have this special rite done for a relative or a friend, private charters can make it happen.
Beliefs and Traditions
During the era of the Vikings, ship burials were customary to give honor to fallen warriors and leaders. Other religions like Judaism and Christianity make mention of sending off the dead into the sea to cleanse their souls and bring them closer to heaven.
As the industrial revolution encouraged maritime travel across the oceans, shipbuilders and seafarers also practiced burials at sea for health and safety reasons. Superstitions back then say that a dead body aboard a ship brings bad luck, and they should bury them beneath the waves as a peace offering to the sea spirits.
In the modern age, burials at sea are done to give recognition to Navy crew members, veterans, and their families. Generally, however, this privilege is not limited to these honorable men. According to law, anybody can be given a burial at sea, as long as regulations are followed to the letter.
How Your Private Charter Provider Can Help
As the captain of your vessel will be responsible for transporting the remains of the deceased, it is his duty to obtain a general permit from the authorities. If this is to be a full-body burial, the rules get very specific. Your charter service will interface with offices such as the Environmental Protection Agency who are then informed of your family’s intent to perform a burial at sea.
They will also inform you about the other state-imposed guidelines when conducting a burial at sea. Whether you will be scattering cremated remains or burying a casket, the general rule is that your vessel must be at least three nautical miles away from land.
Note that there are specified materials that should be used for caskets and shrouds. To be exact, natural fibers are recommended, and no plastic or non-biodegradable materials should be used. Also, full-body remains must be secured and weighed down properly to ensure sinking. If flowers are to be offered at sea, these should also be natural flowers and free of plastic ribbons, wires, and other possible toxic materials.
A Chance to Relive and Remember
Sometimes a family may hold on to a departed’s ashes for years. Maybe now is a good time to have this symbolic farewell of a final burial at sea. You can always call on an experienced and trusted private charter to schedule a trip for you. Perhaps you want revisit the ocean and remember your dearly departed. Or maybe you want to feel the peace and comfort that the pristine waters bring. Anyway you want to reminisce, your vessel’s professional staff will be there to offer you the benefit of their knowledge and experience.
Burial at Sea – Ocean Dumping Management, EPA.gov
Ship Burial: A Viking Funerary Tradition, BonesDontLie.Wordpress.com