at sea burial

Coffin Requirements for Burial at Sea

From navy personnel to famous people, sea burials have long been an accepted custom in the United States. Today, the practices of at-sea burials and scattering ashes at sea are available to common people as well. It is just that you need to act as per the maritime laws of the country. In particular, you need to follow the coffin requirements in a strict manner for a sea funeral.

Many people think that full body burial at sea is highly expensive. The truth, however, is that ocean burials can be much more economical to a traditional funeral. At the same time, burial at sea ceremony or ashes buried at sea is a highly respectful, expressive and memorable way of burying a deceased loved one. When it comes to ocean burials at sea, a great deal of planning needs to be done ahead of time in order to eliminate the chances of getting caught up in a last-minute hassle. A key aspect of these burials is to abide by the law and get the necessary permits and approvals from the concerned authorities in your state or country.

It is a great idea to seek the help of an expert or a service for burial at Sea. If you live in Southern California, you should head straight to Burial at Sea for proper planning and arrangement of your loved one’s burial.

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Options for Full Body Burials at Sea

More and more people are opting for sea burials in the United States. If you plan to bury your departed loved one in the ocean off the coast of the Southern California, you can choose from two options:

  • Body wrapped in a shroud

  • Body placed in a coffin

Not just the coffin requirements, but the entire sea funeral needs to be conducted as per the maritime laws. This is to be kept in mind that no act of yours should harm the ocean environment. When it comes to sea burials, you should always use materials that are biodegradable. Along with a biodegradable coffin, you also need to use flowers and wreaths that are decomposable.

Use of plastic or any other fabric that will not decompose is strictly prohibited. You should be aware of all these rules and regulatory guidelines so that you do not land yourself into trouble at the ceremony.

What Type of Coffin is Required?

casket burial at sea

First, you need to decide whether you want to bury the body wrapped in a shroud or placed in a coffin. If you have chosen the later option, you should get the right type of coffin or casket for the sea funeral.

The coffin or casket you use should be able to decompose in the ocean. So, you will need it to be biodegradable. Caskets are available in different sizes and colors to suit the specific need for a burial. A metal casket is the basic style that you can select for the burial at sea ceremony of your departed loved one. It is available in various colors and you can choose as you please.

You may wonder whether you can use a wooden casket. While you may want to go for a coffin made of wood, such a coffin will be much heavier than coffins made from other materials. Since this is an ocean burial, you will need to carry the casket into the sea on a charter boat. If the casket is too heavy, it will be difficult to carry it on a boat. That is exactly why a metal casket is the most ideal option. Burial at Sea Services provides stainless steel caskets for full body sea burials. Based in San Pedro, CA, the ocean burial planner serves locations such as Long Beach, Redondo Beach, Los Angeles and Catalina Island in Southern California.

Removing all Non-Biodegradable Materials

Before the casket is ready for the burial ceremony, all materials made of plastic or other non-biodegradable products must be removed from inside the casket. The law prohibits the use of anything that would contribute as marine debris. The purpose is to protect the ocean environment from any harm.

If you want to place anything inside the casket, you should make sure it is made from a natural and non-toxic material.

Drilling Holes in the Casket

A whole body burial at sea should be carried out in a way that the biodegradable coffin sinks down to the bottom rapidly.

For fast sinking, the casket needs to have holes on its sides. As per the regulations, a casket should have twenty two-inch holes drilled into it. These holes make it easy for water to get in and air to come out fast. As a result of this, the coffin goes to the bottom of the ocean quite rapidly.

You may want to keep the holes covered with paper so that the body of the deceased cannot be seen. However, you must not use a non-biodegradable material in place of paper to cover the holes.

Sealing the Casket

After the body has been placed inside the casket, an important next step is to secure the casket in a proper manner.

Secure sealing of the casket is mandatory for all full body sea burials. There are many ways to seal up the casket. Usually, chains or stainless steel bands are used for the locking purpose. A minimum of six chains will be required for the locking mechanism to work efficiently. Since a casket has a head section and a foot section too, the chains should be used to secure both.

Sealing of the casket is done as per a proper procedure. The purpose is to eliminate any chances of opening. If you have a question, feel free to talk to one of our specialists at Burial at Sea Services in San Pedro, CA.

Adding Weight to the Casket

During a sea burial, it must be ensured that the coffin goes to the bottom of the ocean rapidly and stays on the ocean floor.

In order for the coffin to remain on the ocean floor, extra weight will be added to the coffin. The amount of weight added should be able to offset the buoyancy of the body as well as the casket itself. As per the regulatory guidelines, the total weight of the coffin should be at least 300 lbs.

Compared to the head section, the foot section of the casket has more weight added to it for feet-first sinking into the ocean.

If you are in search of a biodegradable coffin for the burial at sea ceremony of your departed loved one, reach out to one of our experts at Burial at Sea Services. We provide the most ideal coffin options exactly as per the requirements for full body ocean burials off the Southern California coast. Not just the coffin, but we supply the whole range of natural and non-toxic products and materials required for full body casket burials and scattering ashes at sea.

Other Requirements for Ocean Burial

Sea burials are different from traditional burials. In order to conduct a full body at-sea burial, you will need to obtain a permit. The regional EPA office in your area is the concerned authority to deal with this.

Post-burial, you need to again report to the EPA office. The authority needs to confirm whether the sea burial was carried out exactly as per the information given in the proposal. Not just this, you need to adhere to both the federal regulations as well as the state laws in this regard.

For non-cremated remains, you should travel by boat at least 3 nautical miles from the sea shore. Plus, the body of the deceased should be committed to the sea at a place where the water is at least 600 feet deep. These requirements may vary from one state or area of the United States to another. Though there are no depth restrictions for spreading ashes at sea, you will certainly need to travel at least 3 nautical miles out in the ocean for the same. Charter boats are available on hire both for casket burial at sea and scattering ashes in the sea.

Likewise, there are many other requirements that you must fulfill as per the maritime regulations. To find out more about this, you should get in touch with one of our expert sea funeral planners in San Pedro, CA.

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Need Expert Help with a Sea Burial?

If you still have a question about coffin requirements or burial at sea in general, you should head over to Burial at Sea. As a sea funeral company, we specialize in full body ocean burials, casket burial at sea and ocean ash spreading. While our experts are by your side, you do not have to worry about a thing. Whether it is about EPA general permits, sea burial coffin, boat rental or other requirements, we will take care of every detail in a proper manner. Our goal is to help you plan a dignified and memorable final voyage for your departed loved one.

For your free consultation, you can call our office phone number or write us an email using the contact form on our website.