Religious Views of Death, Cremation and Burial at Sea

Click on the links below for information about different religions' views of cremation and burial at sea.  Gathered from reliable authorities, these essays provide general information.  Since views and interpretation of religious customs and law can differ greatly within one's church, it is most important to seek guidance from a trusted religious advisor. 

Eternal salvation, if important to you, should never be based on articles such as these but rather on sound guidance, education and prayer.  The choice to bury at sea is never reversible.  It is important that proper consideration be given before this choice is made.

Sea Services welcomes your comments, additions or corrections to the religious material contained on these pages in our pursuit to provide accurate information about these complex and often controversial customs. Please do not hesitate to write to us with your views.


Burial at Sea Prayers from the Sea Services Collection
This group of prayers and inspirational poetry has been assembled by the counselors at Sea Services. From traditional to unusual, you will find inspirational words to accompany a sea burial ceremony on this page. You can help us build this free collection by sending us your favorite burial at sea prayers.  More Burial at Sea Prayers .:


The Catholic Church, Cremation and Burial at Sea
This essay provided by the Archdiocese of Baltimore states that a Catholic burial at sea be conducted by placing the entire urn on the ocean's bottom, and not scattering the remains in the water.  Sea Services also draws your attention to that fact that cremation, while permitted by the Church, should occur only where the cremation of the body is the only feasible choice. More Catholic Sea Burial Info .: 


In Buddhism, death is not the end of life, it is merely the end of the body we inhabit in this life, but our spirit will still remain and seek out through the need of attachment, attachment to a new body and new life. Where they will be born is a result of the past and the accumulation of positive and negative action, and the resultant karma (cause and effect) is a result of ones past actions. More Buddhism Sea Burial Information .:


The Hindu Faith, Mourning, Burial at Sea and Cremation 
For those families living in the United States, Burial at Sea is permitted in the ocean. The emersion of ashes in the sea or Mother Ocean, releases the soul from the bondage of our life here on Earth. Most rites are fulfilled by the family, all of whom participate, including the children, who need not be shielded from the death. More Hindu Sea Burial Information .:


Orthodox Jewish Funeral and Mourning Customs
Cremation is not allowed in Jewish law because the body was given to us as a gift from G-d who expects us to take care of ourselves and return in the best condition possible.

Reform Jewish Funeral and Mourning Customs
Regardless of the final disposition, whether it is burial or cremation, funerals serve a purpose. The funeral declares that a death has occurred. It commemorates the life that has been lived, and offers family and friends the opportunity to pay tribute to their loved one. More Jewish Funeral Info .:


The Book of Common Prayer - 1662
Although this page contains no modern information, the fascinating details of an Anglican burial at sea in 1662 prove quite interesting.  Many religious and seafaring customs from a bygone era, such as a unique use of cannon balls.  More Anglican sea burial information .:


Muslim Burial and Funeral Customs
If a person dies on a ship and if there is no fear of the decay of the dead body and if there is no problem in retaining it for sometime on the ship, it should be kept on it and buried in the ground after reaching the land. Otherwise, after giving Ghusl, Hunut, Kafan and Namaz-e-Mayyit it should be lowered into the sea in a vessel of clay or with a weight tied to its feet. More Muslim Funeral Information .:

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