Who Is Eligible For Burial At Sea?

The practice of sea burials dates back to ancient cultures and civilizations. The sea burial tradition is rich in history and surrounded by various lores and legends. This is why it has a significant appeal for those who love the ocean.

For sea lovers and those who’d like to rest in the depths of the ocean, it’s possible – and quite easy – to have a sea burial. There are practical considerations in selecting this kind of burial and it’s even considered more economical and pocket-friendly than traditional land-based ceremonies.

In some cases, the deceased’s loved ones even hire specialized services to handle cremation burial at sea.

Sea Burials: Eligibility

Everyone in the US is eligible for sea burials. If the deceased is a military veteran, burials at sea will be carried out by the U.S. Navy in the presence of the deceased’s family members.

In the case of a civilian, loved ones can carry out the burials themselves or hire private charter companies. The U.S. Coast Guard also provides a program for civilian cremation burial at sea.

Types of Sea Burials

The burial can be undertaken in two ways. One, the deceased can be put to rest with a full-body water burial. This way, loved ones bid adieu by dropping the entire casket into the depths of the ocean.

The second way is scattering ashes into the sea. The cremated remains are put to rest either by directly scattering them into the ocean or using a biodegradable urn that is dropped into the sea along with the ashes.

What Happens at a Sea Burial?

Here are some of the things that generally happen during a cremation burial at sea:

  • Speech: A member of the clergy or the family gives a brief speech about the deceased.
  • Tribute: Time is given to those in attendance to share a special memory about their loved one.
  • Music: Special music is played to honor the memory of the person who has passed away.
  • Committing the body to sea: Once the proceedings are over, family members commit the body to the sea and say a final goodbye.
  • Laying of wreaths or rose petals: Some families even lay a wreath or scatter rose petals on the water’s surface after the body has been committed to mark the event.
  • Final words or prayer: In the end, members of the family and the clergy offer a final prayer for the deceased.