Full Body Burial – Questions

There is often great surprise and a lot of questions around the question of burial a full body in the ocean. It is a very old tradition. From as long as mariners have sailed upon  the waters there have been full body burials at sea.

In days gone by this was out of necessary because of lack of refrigeration. Today it is a tradition that increasing numbers of people are embracing.

We will attempt to answer some of the more common question we get asked about this practice.

Burial Questions regarding Full Body Burial at Sea

How did San Diego Burial at Sea get started in this business?

It has been a very natural progression. We have been doing ashes scattering for almost 20 years. Initially on a sailboat and then on a larger power yacht and then on many power yachts accommodating various number of people. From the ash scattering we open a funeral home, allowing us to better service our families. The sea burial of full body seems like a natural progression from there.

We are uniquely positioned to offer families this service which is increasing in demand because of its affordable pricing,  environmental impact and the healing properties of being on the ocean and experiencing its beauty.

How Many People May Attend ?

Most often we use one boat as a marine hearse and only have crew on it dealing with the actual burial. We could however have a couple family memebers if needed. Having only one yacht will greatly help in reducing the cost.

That said, usually there are at least two yachts. The full Body Burial at Sea is a vary unique event and often many family members and friends are interested in attending.

Do I Need to Purchase a Casket ?

The short answer is not, but you may wish to – it is up to how you would like your expereince.  Some families will just want to use a casket for personal preference as opposed to using shroud.  For more information on casket selection and preparation seee our casket preparation page.  Caskets come in various colors and are prepared to sea burial requirements.

What is the Location for a Sea Burial ?

The burial of a body at sea is governed by laws set by the EPA. the interment must take place in federal waters which means at least 3 miles of the coast. As well, the body must be placed at a death of at least 600 ft. The depth ensures that the body will not be disturbed.

In our case, we exceed both these limts. Our prefered loation is about halfway between Point Loma and Mission Bay. The distance from shore is around 11 miles and depth of the wayter from 1000 – 3000 ft.

Notice the deep trench  of 3000 ft water that runs parallel to the coast about 11 miles out. We prefer to place in the deepest water possible.

Burial at Sea - Full Body

Bad Weather – What happens ?

Weather on the ocean may certainly become an issue, as conditional may change quickly. As best we can we schedule the burial at a time when the conditions as as best as possible. If at all possible, the actual burial will take place on schedule. If the body has not already been prepared and already loaded on the yacht it is a much easier to postpone for a few days. We do have appropriate storage facilities to hold the deceased.

If there are issues with the passenger yacht accompanies, us where it is required to return to port because of sea conditions or passenger discomfort, the burial boat will continue to its destination and proceed as normal.

Navy Option ?

The US Navy will also perform full body burial as sea.  The Navy however will preform the burial on their time frame and often the deceased will be stored for months at their location awaiting burial. The Navy will required the purchase and preparation of an appropriate casket, casket as as as have the deceased embalmed. Additionally family members cannot attend the burial since it is done during deployment on an active military ship.

full body burial at sea
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