Navy Members Dependents - Burial at Sea Entitlement


ELIGIBILITY: Individuals eligible for this program are: (1) active duty members of the uniformed services; (2) retirees and veterans who were honorably discharged. (3) U.S. civilian marine personnel of the Military Sealift Command; and (4) dependent family members of active duty personnel, retirees, and veterans of the uniformed services.

HOW TO GET STARTED: After the death of the individual, for whom the request for Burial-at-Sea is being made, the Person Authorized to Direct Disposition (PADD) may complete a Burial-at-Sea Request Form. Supporting documents which must accompany this request are: (1) a photocopy of the death certificate; (2) the burial transit permit or the cremation certificate; and (3) a copy of the DD Form 214, discharge certificate, or retirement order.

BURIAL FLAG: Those for whom a burial flag is authorized: The PADD may send a flag with the remains/cremains. At the time of the burial at sea ceremony the flag will be flown on the assigned ship. Following the burial at sea the flag will be returned to the sender.

CREMATED REMAINS (Cremains): Cremains must be in an urn, or plastic/metal container to prevent spillage in shipping. The cremains, along with the completed Burial-at-Sea Request package, and the burial flag will be forwarded to the Burial-at-Sea Coordinator at the desired port of embarkation. Prior to shipment, it is recommended that a phone call be made informing the coordinator of the pending request. It is also recommended that the cremains package be sent via Certified Mail, ‘Return Receipt Requested.’

INTACT REMAINS (Casketed): Specific guidelines are required for the preparation of casketed remains. All expenses incurred in this process are the responsibility of the PADD, who will select a funeral home in the area of the port of embarkation. After this selection has been made and notification has been provided to the coordinator, the casketed remains, the request form, supporting documents, and the burial flag are to be forwarded to the receiving funeral home. The coordinator will make the inspection and complete the checklist for the preparation of casketed remains. It is recommended that funeral homes responsible for preparing and shipping intact remains, contact Navy Mortuary Affairs at the Military Medical Support Office in Great Lakes, Illinois to receive the preparation requirements.


If you have any questions about the Navy's Burial At Sea program, please contact Navy Mortuary Affairs at the Military Medical Support Office in Great Lakes, Illinois at 1-866-787-0081. 

This information was provided by Navy Mortuary Affairs. 

Sea Services can assist in any sea burial. You may contact us with your questions.

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