Not only is it an environmental friendly alternative to traditional burial and rich in nautical tradition, it is also a much less expensive alternative to traditional burial.
It is often chosen when the loved one had a special connection to the water (boating, swimming, etc.
) Services Services are varied and are usually conducted by the family, sometimes with the captain of the vessel saying a few words such as "Commitment to the Deep".
Formal clergy is usually not present but may be present if desired by the family.
The ceremony is conducted, music is often played and the ashes are then scattered in the selected manner.
In keeping with nautical tradition, a ship's bell is struck eight times.
This signifies the end of the watch - the on duty period of a sailor's life at sea.
Scattering ceremonies may be performed at any location selected by the family, usually a location that is relatively quiet in terms of boat traffic and water disturbances.
Recording the GPS position where the ceremony takes place also makes memorable trips possible.
This information may be used to create a memorial certificate which can be sent to the family a few days following the ceremony A burial at sea without remains is also possible and a memorial service can be performed and/or flowers placed in the water.
Although not strictly a burial at sea, it does provide the family and friends with a form of closure to aid in the grieving process.
Burials at sea may also be done for a beloved pet which has passed.
Their loss is also very traumatic and must be grieved.
Methods of Performing Water Ash Scattering There are three common ways to perform a burial at sea (ash scattering over the water).
- Scattering directly from the container received from the cremation facility - The ashes are poured directly into the water on the down wind side of the boat.
With this type of scattering it is necessary to be careful that the ashes land in the water and do not get blown back or stuck to the side of the yacht.
This method is only appropriate when you can get close to the water.
- Scattering with the use of a bio-degradable urn - These urns are specifically designed to gradually disperse the ashes back to the sea.
A water-soluble urn will usually float for several minutes then slowly sink and then degrade or melt into the sea.
The family will often toss flowers or petals as a final tribute as the urn slowly drifts away on the current.
It provides the family with a "going into the sunset" scenario.
- Scattering from a basket/container - The loved one's ashes are placed in basket/container with rose petals placed on top.
The basket is then lowered to the water surface and the basket is inverted.
The rose petals float on the surface and the ashes disperse in the ocean.
Keepsakes take many forms such as small urns, teddy bears, jewelry etc.
Clients are often surprise at the myriad ways remains may be retained.
Summary The percentage of families choosing cremation is currently just under 40% in the United States and as this continues to increase, so will the percentage of families choosing burial at sea.