Legalities of Burials at Sea

Burial at sea is a process of laying human remains to rest in the ocean. It can be a solemn and beautiful ceremony, and it's an alternative to traditional burial or cremation. Here's what you need to know:


- Burial at sea is legal in the US under the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) regulations There are specific guidelines, like:

- Distance: At least 3 nautical miles from shore in most areas, and deeper waters in certain locations.

- Remains: Must sink quickly and permanently. Biodegradable containers are recommended.


- You'll need to hire a funeral home or service that specializes in sea burials. They can handle the logistics and ensure compliance with regulations.

- Decide if you'll be burying cremated remains or an unembalmed body. This will affect the container and permitting process.

- The ceremony can be religious or non-religious, and you can personalize it according to the deceased's wishes.

The Ceremony:

- The ceremony can be held on a boat chartered for the purpose.

- Depending on your preferences, it can include readings, prayers, or eulogies.

- The ashes or casket can be lowered gently into the water.

Military Burials at Sea:

- The US Navy offers burial at sea for eligible veterans and active military personnel. - This is a free service, but family members cannot attend the ceremony.

Here are some resources for further reading:

- US EPA Burial at Sea regulations:

- Navy Burial at Sea program:

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