Times sure have changed. According to an article in Time.com, cremation is now outpacing the traditional in-ground burial. In fact, statistics show that about one in two people choose to be cremated instead of being buried.
Because of this massive shift, people are also reconsidering where their loved ones’ final resting place shall be. These days, the idea of destination funerals is becoming more popular. In such memorials, the ashes of the deceased are scattered in a place that holds meaning to them. For instance, a former sea captain, Navy personnel or merchant marine might wish that his ashes be scattered in the ocean.
If your loved one wishes for such a burial at sea ceremony, here are a few practical tips you need to know.
Select an Ideal Venue
There are plenty of places where you can hold a burial at sea, but you should carefully choose where the exact venue will be. One of the most popular ones is the San Juan Islands in Washington State due to the beauty of the area and the ease in which family and friends can attend. Local ship operators such as Schooners North are exprienced with burial at sea ceremonies in the pristine waters of this island community, giving your loved ones a fitting and dignified sendoff.
Mind the Paperwork
Of course, you can’t fly to your destination funeral venue unless you have the proper paperwork in order. Hence, make sure to make all arrangements beforehand. If you’re traveling by plane, ask them what documents they need and whether they accept the urn as carry-on luggage. They may also have stipulations on what kind of urn to use to minimize the risk of spilled ashes.
Have a Headcount
As with any other gatherings, make sure to conduct a headcount first. The exact number of guests will determine just how big a vessel you should charter. For reference, a beatiful 80-foot wooden schooner such as Spike Africa which operates in the San Juan Islands can comfortably carry about 28 people.
Don’t Forget the Food
You can’t have a funeral without offering food and refreshment to well wishers. The good news is that some boat operators have tied up with local restaurants that provide catering for private charter functions. Hence, you can book the caterer directly with the boat operator, freeing you up to focus on other aspects of the funeral. Schooners North has just that sort of relationship with the Cask and Schooner restaurant in Friday Harbor.
Saying goodbye to a loved one is never easy, but the least we can do is give them the final send off they wish for. These tips will make it easier for you to plan a destination burial ceremony, such as a burial at sea.