Ash Scattering Questions – Burial at Sea

There are a myriad of burial at sea – ash scattering questions which families may have – what you can do and what you can’t do, so hopefully this page will help.

If you find the answer you are looking for GREAT. If not, just give us a call. We have been doing scattering at sea for many years.. If on the rare instance we do not know the answer – we will find the answer and get back to you.

As well, as being a licensed cremated remains disposer in California (CRD: 904), we also operate closely with our sister company Funerals Your Way (FD:2188), a fully licensed California funeral home. As well, our captains are licensed by the US Coast Guard. You may feel confident that we are professional and will provide excellent service.

Question for burial at sea
Sea sick for burial at Sea Charter

If you are very sensitive to getting sea sick, please take precautions before your charter.

Am I likely to get Sea Sick is a question we get often as many families are concerned about getting sea sick. To set your mind at ease, this is NOT very common.

Generally, we use very large yachts which are very stable. In addition our usual scattering location has very quiet – lake like – waters and probably 90% of the charter duration is within the protected waters of San Diego Bay anyway.

Even for families who choose to venture out further into open ocean, the southern Californian waters are seldom an issue. We are fortunate to live in a location where the weather is so temperate and the ocean is almost always calm.

What Legal Paperwork do I Need to Scatter Cremains ?

You will need a form titled “APPLICATION AND PERMIT FOR DISPOSITION OF HUMAN REMAINS“. If you are currently working with a mortuary they will be able to get this document for you. On this form, box 16a should say “Scattering off the coast of San Diego County“.

However, we most often just obtain this permit for you, there is small fee for this service. We will need an original of the death certificate. We then complete the required form and get it approved by San Diego County Vital Records office. It will be on the yacht for you at the time of your charter. At this time we will return the death certificate to you.

How Can I get a Death Certificate ?

In order to obtain a certified copy of the death certificate you will need to have a legal right to do so. Names one of the following;

  • the spouse, domestic partner, parent, legal guardian, child, grandparent, or sibling of the deceased person
  • entitled to receive the record by court order
  • a member of a law enforcement agency or a representative of another government agency who is conducting official business
  • a legally authorized representative of the deceased person or of the deceased person’s estate, or
  • an agent or employee of a funeral establishment conducting official business.

If you fall into one of the above categories you may obtain a death certificate from the county records office – the county in which the death occurred.  There is also an on-line service called Vital Check which you may use.

How will I Feel After the Scattering ?

Better – we hope! Having done thousands of scattering over the years we have a lot of experience with families and the burial at sea – ash scattering – experience. Your experience is unique, however we have found that ash scattering leaves the families with a tremendous sense of closure and peace.

Being on the ocean with the scattering is so tranquil and beautiful – a wonderful place to let go of the loved one and begin to heal. The ocean is beautiful and continues forever and teams with life. We often have sea-lions, dolphins or an occasional whale appear. It is difficult to not be overwhelmed by the ocean’s beauty.

Can I Scattter the Cremains Where I Wish ?

Yes – We take you to the location where you wish to scatter, provided it is a legal location and we can reach the spot and return within the time frame allotted to your ash scattering charter. We have gone everywhere up and down the coast from San Diego. If you have specific coordinates (long/lat) it is best to let us know ahead of time so we can verify the location.

According to the state scattering at sea cannot take place within 500 yards of the shoreline, and includes the inland navigable waters of the state. Scattering at sea does not include lakes and streams, nor does it include scattering from a bridge or pier.

Can I Have a Memorial Service ?

Yes – We believe it is important to do so. The service can take a myriad of different forms depending on the desires of those involved. Please see our page on Ash Scattering Ceremonies to get some ideas. However, feel free to be unique and do something completely different if you wish.

Should I Have More than a 2 hr Ash Scattering?

Generally on most of our yachts (except the smaller 27 ft) the charters take at least 2 hours to arrive at the scattering destination, perform a short scattering and then return to dock. We do however often recommend that you do a 3 hr scattering. This allows for a short tour of San Diego Bay and helps you “recover”. It provides you with a change of focus from the ash scattering to more pleasant thoughts and allows time for family bonding.

Some families perform the burial at sea and then head out to open ocean for a short whale watching charter.

Can I Scatter my Pet as Well ?

Yes – There are really no rules on scattering your pet and it is not uncommon at all to scatter a beloved pet with their owner – it is what each of them would have wished.

Can I have Clergy on the Yacht ?

Of course – we welcome all clergy and they usually attend at no charge. We have had many different denominations and religions on the yachts. If you need us to arrange clergy for you we would be happy to do so.

We have a variety of interment verses that may be appropriate for either a guest or a clergy member to use.

What about food and alcohol ?

You may have food and alcohol on all our yachts. The specific details and pricing depends on the yacht you are on. Just ask the booking person and she will provide all the information you need regarding this. There are always options of bringing your our food on or having the event catered.

Are there Disadvantages to a Ash Sea Scattering?

Obviously, we have a preference for this type of “burial” of a loved one. In the past, if families had selected cremation they purchased a plot of land to inter the cremains. This did give them a specific location to visit for remembrances in the coming years – it was also very expensive.

We prefer to think of the ocean itself as a memorial location, although it is common to take families to the exact location – GPS coordinates – of the actual ash scattering on anniversary date of the ash scattering.

It is also possible to split the cremains and do both – internment and burial at sea. We believe that the ash scattering at sea is just a more spiritual experience and provides a tremendous healing opportunity.

What happens during bad weather with an Ash Sea Scattering?

This is San Diego, so having to cancel because of bad weather is very rare. I think in all the years we have been doing scattering at sea, we have only had to cancel once.

All our yachts are enclosed, so you will have a great charter even in the event of not so perfect conditions. In the very rare case of storm conditions where it may not be appropriate to go on the water – we may have to cancel. We do not take chances with safety.

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