Planning Burial At Sea

Cremation Options

The death of a relative can be a traumatic experience. For the services, some may opt for a funeral with an open or closed casket. Others prefer a memorial service sans casket.

For cremation, there are several ways to handle remains. A mortuary may dispose of them privately but generally a ceremony is desired. The final location for the ashes dictates the vessel or container. Ashes can be kept within an urn at a home, a crypt, or buried at sea. For the latter, an expensive urn is unnecessary since you scatter the ashes or lower them into the water within a basket. An exotic option is to convert ashes to into a diamond.

Burial At Sea

Charter Options

For burial at sea, there are more things to consider. If you do not live near an ocean, do you need to drive or fly to an appropriate location? Will a captain scatter them in the absence of witnesses? Do a couple of family members desire to go out in a small boat? It is possible to spend less than $500 for either of these two options. Up to six people can charter a sailboat, catamaran or yacht for less than $1000. A minister may be in attendance for services at sea or a ceremony can be held on shore followed by a prayer when releasing the ashes.

There are plenty of unlicensed charter services scheduling the yachts of private owners.

Nausea can spoil the occasion for people with a propensity for motion sickness. Rocking increases when there is no forward momentum. Even a 45-foot yacht can seem unstable after the engine is cut off  in the middle of the ocean.

Six seems to be the optimal number of passengers. It is possible for more than six to board a yacht, but when chartered according to maritime regulations, fees increase—sometimes significantly. The captain must provide a specific number of trained crew members and life jackets based on the passenger count. Typically, remains must be scattered at least 3 miles (5 kilometers) from shore, but check with local laws. It averages two hours for the round trip.

Burial At Sea

With this said, there are plenty of unlicensed charter services scheduling the yachts of private owners. In so doing, they may not comply with local regulations and pack 12 people on a vessel that licensed captains can only allow six. Be suspicious if the charter company is unwilling to schedule a tour of the boat prior to booking a date. A company that has you depart from a private slip rather than a public pier is another red flag. Some can either get quite defensive or dodge such inquiries.

After receiving quotations from several chartering companies, I found one that complies with maritime laws. Service on the phone, in advance of the ceremony, and during the burial at sea is friendly and professional. If you are planning such an event within California, consider The Duchess Yacht Charters.

A way of commemorating such burials at sea is to wear a lapel pin. In the absence of a physical grave site, a pin may be worn to family gatherings, on the anniversary of death or any other occasion with the departed loved one in mind.

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September 02, 2019 by Kevin RR Williams