6 Creative Ideas For Sea Burial Ceremonies
Published November 6th, 2019
If a deceased loved one is a big fan of the ocean, why not make it their eternal resting place?
Sea burials have been practiced since ancient times across different cultures. Navies and pirates also traditionally lay their members to rest at the bottom of the ocean, where they can ride the waves for eternity.
In modern times, sea burials are seeing a resurgence. For some people, it’s their love for water and adventure that made them choose to be buried at sea. While others see the ocean as a metaphor for life itself, which makes it a perfect place to celebrate a life lived.
It’s no wonder then that people are coming up with creative sea burial ideas.
Here Are Some Creative Sea Burial Ideas:
In a nutshell, memorial reefs are underwater columbariums. If you want to be buried at sea and help propagate marine life at the same time, this is the perfect option for you.
Although commonly referred to as an underwater cemetery or mausoleum, it is neither. It’s a manmade reef specifically designed to hold cremated remains.
The ashes are mixed with cement and then added to the structure to form part of the reef. Memorial plaques bearing the names of the deceased are then added.
Once corals start to grow on the reef, fishes and other marine creatures will begin living in it. This makes it a great way to bring back marine biodiversity in our oceans. And you or your loved one can be part of it.
In most memorial reef sites, divers and boaters are usually welcome. So you can still visit your loved ones whenever you miss them.
Scattering of Ashes at Sea
Another popular part of the sea burial ideas is scattering ashes at sea. There are various ways to do this: you can scatter the cremains in shallow water or a deeper part of the ocean.
If you choose to go for the latter, you will need to hire a boat. Many companies across the US are specializing in this type of service.
In Florida, Big Blue Sea Services provide the most respectful and uplifting ash scattering service. They also give you the option to scatter your loved one’s ashes anywhere from the Atlantic Gulf Stream to the Bahamas.
Most ash scattering companies offer both unaccompanied and accompanied ash scattering packages. They usually cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a little over a thousand.
After the ceremony, you will receive a certificate signed by the captain. It indicates the GPS coordinates where the ashes were scattered.
Many Americans opt for ash scattering because it allows more flexibility. You can customize the ceremony to suit your needs and preferences. Some will share stories about the deceased, while others would offer songs, poems, and prayers. You can even choose a theme.
Sea scattering laws vary per state, though. So be sure to check that you’re not breaking any rules before you scatter the ashes at sea. (Related: Is It Legal to Scatter Ashes at Sea in Florida?)
If you’re not comfortable with scattering cremation ashes by hand, you can always put them in biodegradable urns and let them float on the water. This is one of those sea burial ideas that you can see in some movies. After a few minutes, it will disintegrate and sink at the bottom of the ocean – taking the ashes with it.
Biodegradable urns come in a variety of sustainable materials. There are paper, clay, cotton, kraft cardboard, and even Himalayan salt urns. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also rules that ash scattering urns must not contain any traces of plastic, metal, or any hazardous substance.
Thus, make sure the urn you’ll buy is made of 100% organic materials. It’s not that expensive, and you can easily order one online. Price ranges from $80 to a little over $200.
Viking Ship Funerals
Ever fancied a warrior burial? Viking ship funerals might just be the thing you’re looking for.
Ancient Vikings had several funerary practices, but ship burials are usually reserved for individuals of high honor. They can be warriors, chieftains, or members of the nobility. The bodies are put on the ship with grave goods and then buried or set on fire.
In modern settings, Hollywood’s love for theatrics has exaggerated these ceremonies a bit. We often see movie scenes depicting a Viking burial with a ship shot with a flaming arrow.
Thus, in most modern Viking ship funerals, cremated remains are put on a small wooden ship. Then it’s pushed out into the sea before being shot with a flaming arrow. Some also follow the Norse traditions and burn the deceased together with their grave goods.
In most countries, there are no legal prohibitions against having this type of funeral as long as it doesn’t cause any damage or harm to humans, animals, and the environment. But just to be on the safe side, you might want to inform the Coast Guard that you’re sending a small burning ship out into the open waters.
Full-body Burial at Sea
If you or your loved one is more of a swashbuckling pirate than a Viking, you may want to consider a full-body burial at sea. This is also suitable for those who’ve dreamed of a sea burial but isn’t much a fan of cremation.
In most full-body funerals, the body is wrapped in a biodegradable shroud, weighted with rocks, and slowly pushed out into the ocean from a ship. Some also use biodegradable caskets sufficiently weighted to ensure the body won’t float back to the surface.
As a deceased body can pose hazards to human health, the EPA rules that the interment site must be at least three nautical miles from land and 600-feet deep.
Many states also require the presence of a licensed funeral director. This is to ensure that adequate preparations were made to the body and the coffin will sink quickly.
We’ve heard various stories about floating cemeteries around the world. But have you heard of a floating columbarium?
If you’re from Hong Kong, then I’m sure you did. To address burial land shortage, the city is planning to build a columbarium right off its coast. It’s designed to hold 370,000 niches for cremation urns.
The columbarium’s design closely resembles that of a cruise ship with bamboo gardens. It will also include a grass deck for people to set up picnics and even a restaurant.
There’s no word yet if it will allow foreigners to be buried in there as it’s yet to be built. But if it does, it’s definitely worth looking into. After all, if built, it would be the world’s first floating columbarium. You’d be a pioneer – of some sort.
Interested In Our Services?
Here at Big Blue Sea Services we take memorial services seriously. Book a time with us to scatter ashes at sea off the coast of Florida with your friends and family present. Our charters are sure to make the moment a memorable experience.