Answers to Questions about Direct Full Body Sea Burial 

Sea Services receives many calls from individuals desiring burial at sea without cremation.  On this page, we try to answer questions about planning a direct burial at sea.  Of course, complicated arrangements of this type always require much planning and should be arranged long prior of any need.  View question below for an answer, or scroll down to read all the questions.


Can an uncremated body legally be buried at sea in the United States?

The simple answer to this is yes.  There are many restrictions and requirements, however, the least of which concern maritime issues.  Many county health departments will not release a body to a captain for sea burial.  While this issue could probably be overcome, the cost and time spent attempting to win a decision against a government agency could be oppressive. 

Would a direct burial at sea be expensive?

A full body buried at sea must be placed in waters of a specified depth, mainly to insure that the body remains at the ocean's floor.  To reach the required depth can require a long journey in an ocean-going vessel.  Depending on the time of year, weather and sea conditions, special vessels or crew members may be required.  The costs of a 16-hour trip from New York Harbor, as an example, could be quite costly.  

Any burial costs would be compounded by traditional funeral costs, if desired, such as preparing the deceased for viewing and transporting the remains to the vessel.  

Added to this are the costs associated with any legal actions necessary to insure release of the body by county or state officials.  

Why can't I perform a full sea burial myself?

If an individual was apprised of all applicable laws and regulations, secured any necessary permits and had the proper craft to transport the remains into the ocean, he could probably find a place where he could legally perform a sea burial himself.  

For the sake of the environment, for your safety and out of respect for the law, do not perform a sea burial without being certain you comply with local and national regulations. 

Can you estimate a specific cost for a full burial at sea?

A question above describes the steps involved in full body burial at sea.  All these requirements are quite variable and greatly affected by location, weather, local laws and politics.  

If one were to budget for a full burial that would be pre planned far in advance of need, he should consider spending at least two to three times the cost of a traditional funeral with cemetery interment.  Even then, any legal issues that had to be resolved with political subdivisions such as the health department could require litigation which could prove to be far more costly than burial traditional costs.

I seriously want to do this.  Where do I start?

Sea Services performs all types of burials at sea.  Call us and let us know of your serious desire for a full uncremated burial at sea.  We can probably help you find the answers to your questions.  Understand, however, that the extensive research often required can be costly and no guarantee can be made that we will be successful at obtaining the proper permission and permits to meet your need.   Call us at 888 551-1277.  The phone call is free. 

Aren't there environmental laws and regulations governing Burial at Sea?

Burial at Sea is governed by a myriad of state and federal laws. Penalties for violating these laws are oppressive. Nothing can be placed in the ocean without proper reporting to the U.S. Government. When you employ Sea Services, you are assured of full compliance with all applicable regulations in the area. Government reporting is included with all Burial at Sea services.

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