Some Answers to Questions about Sea Services

Many of these questions were received on line from prospective clients. With their permission, they are reproduced with their replies below. Click on a question below for an answer. The answers will open under the question.

We wish to accompany you on your voyage. Is this possible?

Yes, and many families join Sea Services for a charter voyage that they can plan and direct.  We assist, as you desire.  We provide these charter services from many ports across the country, from Downtown Manhattan at the South Street Sea Port, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.    We will provide you with our Guidelines for a Memorial at Sea; a good overview of what to expect.   Call us today.   

We do not wish to attend. Can this be arranged?

Many families do not attend the burial at sea service for any number of reasons.   This is the most economical service, with fees beginning at $195, and while it's not a primary reason to choose unattended, it is certainly something to be considered in today's economy.  Remember, you needn't pay more to pay tribute.   Families entrust Sea Services to perform a dignified service for their loved ones because our reputation is outstanding.  We are the only burial at sea company on the East coast to be accredited by the Better Business Bureau. 

How are cremated remains sent to Sea Services for burial at sea?

If you contact Sea Services before you received the cremated remains, we can coordinate the crematory or funeral director's transportation directly to us. If you have cremated remains, simply insert your check and our Authorization Form inside the outer shipping container, and mail to Sea Services via U.S. Registered mail. While shipping is not within our control, over a decade of experience has proven this method of shipment to be reliable. You can have an authorization form sent to you by following this link, or go to this page and print a form.

How soon will our service be performed?

Virtually all cremated remains are buried at sea within thirty days of their arrival at Sea  Services.  You will receive a memorial certification indicating the exact date the service was performed.  On rare occasions, generally only if boats are frozen in port or if continued high seas prevent our voyage, this 30 day schedule cannot be met, but we can usually arrange for alternative methods when required.  Where a specific date or time period is important to you, we can work to fulfill your wishes.  Call us. We own several different type and size vessels and have access to many more. 

How do you guarantee that the cremated remains are actually placed in the ocean?

Certainly when choosing a firm to perform an unaccompanied service, credibility is important. This brings rise to your question as to how a client is guaranteed that the service was actually performed when they were not there to witness the actual scattering.  The following assurances should be offered by a firm, as are provided by Sea Services. 
 1.  The service should be performed by a licensed Coast Guard Master.  He has earned his license as a sea captain through rigorous testing and through logged voyages.  His log and license are federal documents, which he must preserve and which are governed by federal law.  He would not put them at risk.
2.  A scattering performed in the ocean to EPA regulations is reported to the Environmental Protection Agency.  The report includes specific information about the deceased.  It would be a crime to falsify these documents.  Burials performed in bays or inlets, where permitted by law, may not require this reporting.
3.  The reputation of the firm and its success is based solely on its credibility.  No reputable firm, with its considerable investments in its business, advertising, trust building and repeat funeral home clients would risk it all by being dishonest.  Actually, a reputable firm will have standards and practices in effect to insure that no false clams can be made against them.  
4.  Performing sea burials are not difficult, and can be performed by anyone with a boat and knowledge of the sea.  A reputable firm has access to a fleet of vessels and usually owns several themselves.  As anyone with a love of boating knows, owners of boats spend much time on them.  Quite simply, it is easier to perform the burial at sea than not to do it and attempt to weave the web of deception necessary to falsify the event.  We are on boats every day and we have performed scatterings often daily during the past decade.  Our credentials are impeccable.  We have never received a complaint.  It is understandable, however, that many families, in final preparations, want assurances that the service is properly performed.  To some, this assurance comes only through their own personal witnessing of the event.  For those, a charter service is easily provided.  When an individual wishes to witness the burial alone or with a small group, the service can be performed conveniently and quite affordably.  Rather than live with doubts or questions of the validity of a service performed, the extra cost involved in witnessing the service personally is a small price to pay.  We will work with you to make this possible if it is important to you.Please call us if you have any other specific questions.  We  be glad to discuss this with you further.

I do not wish to be cremated. Can I still be buried at sea?

Burial at sea of human remains that are not cremated can be accomplished, but it is often a lengthy and expensive process.   Regulations require burials of this nature to be made at a specific depth in the sea.  In many locations, a long journey is required to satisfy this requirement.  This ocean voyage often requires a larger vessel, and may be uncomfortable for those who are less experienced at sea travel.  The casket must be specially prepared to insure that it quickly descends to the ocean floor and remains there.  It must also be secured according to strict regulations.  Sea Services can coordinate this type of traditional service with your funeral director.  You or your funeral director are welcome to contact us for more information

What sites are available for Burial At Sea of cremated remains?

Sea Services maintains offices in Babylon Village, Long Island, New York and Jupiter, Florida. We have affiliates, licensed by the U. S. Coast Guard, or by state agencies, where required, at virtually port in America. We even provide services off the coast of Ireland and in the Holy Land. Scatterings may be performed virtually anywhere worldwide by air or sea. Call us with your specific wishes. Our most popular site is within view of the Fire Island Lighthouse in the North Atlantic Ocean one of the world's most beautiful seashores. We'll work hard to arrange a dignified, affordable service in the area of your choice.

Are special services available for veterans?

The U. S. Navy performs sea burials for veterans and their families free of charge, with certain restrictions.  Sea Services has a page on our site that describes veterans services.   Many veterans, however, choose Sea Services to perform their burial.  We can provide a wider choice of locations and services where family members can participate; the Navy doesn't allow family members on board.  

Why do families choose burial at sea?

Burial at sea dates back thousands of years.  A final disposition with the ocean's elements has been a traditional desire of many.  In these times with scarcity and high cost of cemetery space, many more are turning to the more natural burial at sea.  This alternative to traditional burial is  most affordable.  Many notable people have selected the ocean as their final resting place. The eternal cycles of the ocean's water, the conservation of the land space as well as the shortage of cemetery plots are all reasons cited for selecting sea scattering. Most of Sea Service's families  just love the ocean, and can find no better final disposition for their earthly remains. To read about the U. S. Navy's long traditions of sea burial, click here.

What questions should I ask a burial at sea company?

Virtually anyone with a boat can perform a burial at sea. Because of this, you must make certain that the people you trust with this service are competent, reputable and experienced. Try to answer these questions.

  • Is burial at sea the company's only business?
  • Is the boat carefully selected for your group and Coast Guard certified to safely carry the number of people in your party?
  • Does the company carry insurance?
  • Will the burial be performed within 30 days Or will the company hold the remains for up to a year when they have many burials to perform?
  • Is the company known and respected in the funeral profession?
  • Are they considered experts in the field by major newspapers?
  • Have they been in business under the same name for a number of years?
  • Are those involved in burial at sea licensed Coast Guard Masters?
  • Are your phone calls answered by knowledgeable professionals, or by an answering machine?
  • Are your calls welcomed any time of day or night?
  • Are all your questions answered to your satisfaction?

Sea Services has meet these requirements for over a decade. In these times when personal service is often difficult to find, we trust you will find our service to your satisfaction.

Can Sea Services plan a service with our funeral director?

More funeral professionals seek Sea Services to perform maritime funeral services than any  other provider.  We maintain close relationships with the nation's leading funeral providers who value the advantages of using a professional firm for sea burial.  Our 24 hour a day access makes it simple for your representative to make arrangements with us.  Have your funeral professional contact us, or just call, and we will coordinate all the details.

Does Sea Services perform any other type of maritime business?

Sea Services is concerned only with maritime funerals.  We are licensed sea captains who specialize in this important service.   Burial at sea is not the side line to another business.  We do not perform fishing charters,  weddings, boat rentals, diving excursions or sight seeing trips.   We are not funeral directors.  Our only business is memorials at sea.   Being sea captains and spending our lives at sea, we do have associates in other maritime fields should your needs require these.  Just call.  If we cannot meet your wish we will be glad to offer a referral.  

How can I learn more about Sea Services?

This Web site contains hundreds of pages of information about burial at sea and the Sea Services organization.  Spend some time reading the site.  Or you can read what the New York Times says about Sea Services when their reporter spent a chilly foggy morning aboard one of our boats.  Sea Services is the only burial at sea company on the east coast accredited by the better business bureau with an A+ rating. Of course, we'd happily answer any questions you have.  You can call us at 888-551-1277, or use our handy e-mail form.   

How can I learn more about Sea Services or burial at sea?

Our Web Site contains more than fifty pages and includes answers to questions about religious customs, free veterans' services and links to other informative web sites. The Sea Services organization has been featured on television, radio and in many national newspapers, such as the New York Times, Newsday and USA Today.  Use the convenient "drop down menu" atop any age to visit other pages on our site, or use the links on the bottom of this page. Or read what the New York Times has to say about Sea Services. If you have a specific question, or just want to discuss burial at sea, you can call us anytime at 888-551-1277. We even pay for the call. Or use our confidential information form to ask us an e-mail question.

I have a request for an unusual burial at sea. Can Sea Services help?

Sea Services has performed ocean scattering throughout the world. We work with virtually every type of boat and aircraft. We've handled requests for everything from scatterings in Europe to full, human remains burials at sea. Call us with your specific request! We're experts on the subject. We'll work hard to get a quick answer to your situation.

My funeral director needs information about burial at sea -- right now!!

Burial at Sea is requested by a growing number of families every day.  Ask your funeral director to call us, right now.   If you or your funeral director wishes answers to burial at sea questions, we can provide them. Simply call us at 888 551-1277.  And the phone call is free.

What are the disadvantages associated with burial at sea?

Cremation and burial at sea are irreversible.  There is no way to recover cremated remains that have been scattered at sea.  Cremation too, is irreversible.   One way many of us come to terms with grief is through establishing and visiting memorials.  Traditionally, we erect headstones and visit graves of departed loved ones.  Some may miss this comfort when a close family member is buried at sea, as there is no personal memorial to visit.  Others, see the the ocean itself as a memorial.  Visits can be made to the seashore or even to the exact spot of sea burial for memorial services.   There are religious or ethnic restrictions on cremation and ocean scattering too, and you should consult an authority in this area if you have any questions.  This site contains some information about several religions' customs,  you should refer to these pages as a starting point of your research if religious requirements are important to you. 

What makes Sea Services America's Burial at Sea Company™?

Sea Services was formed over two decades ago to provide the much sought professional, dignified maritime services. We understand the needs of our clients. We are licensed Coast Guard Masters -- we know the sea. We've studied maritime law and its applications to the funeral trade in all coastal states.  You are never more than a few moments away from answers to your questions.  It is this landmark personal service that has earned Sea Services the title of America's Burial at Sea Company™.     Sea Services Inc. is the only East coast burial at sea company accredited by the Better Business Bureau with an A+ rating.

Why do Burial at Sea fees vary so greatly?

Sea Services' fees reflect our cost to conduct the desired service.  Since we perform burials at  locations nationwide and in several countries, we must adjust pricing to conform with the local requirements.  For example, several states permit burials in coastal bays, while most locations require burials to be performed a minimum of three miles offshore.  Some localities require permits to be obtained.  Fuel and crew costs vary with location.

Where charter services are desired, different types of boats are scheduled depending on the size of the group and the planned voyage.  Much of these requirements are dictated by federal law.  Larger groups require additional crew members.  In areas with busy seasonal business or in vacation areas, summer costs are higher, as vessel availability decreases.  Most large cities require very high docking charges, which also are reflected in fees.

As in any profession, an insured, reputable, experienced company pays its people better, maintains its equipment better and provides a high quality service.  Beware of the uninsured or unlicensed  boat owner who dabbles in "scattering ashes."      

Why do you use a post office box for the shipping destination of cremated remains?

Most cremated remains are shipped to Sea Services via priority mail express.  The use of United States Postal Service's priority mail express is by far the most secure form of transportation.  It is used to ship currency, coins, precious metals and gems.  The shipment is protected by the United States Government.  It is only proper that every precaution is taken to protect the transportation of human remains. 

Thank you for taking the time to read our Burial at Sea FAQ.  If you need any additional questions answered please call 1-888-551-1277 and one of our staff will help try and answer your questions.

Need Help Planning A Scattering Ashes Memorial At Sea? Contact Sea Services Today at 1-888-551-1277