The Sea Burial Ceremony at Sea – What to Expect

There is no right or wrong way to have a burial at sea – ash scattering service. It should be tailored to the wishes of the family and reflect what the deceased would have wished.

Often special things happen on the yacht that have meaning to the family and we have lots of stories of special events. Some of these stories relate the the people on the charter and some relate to what happened on the ocean with wildlife

Each Service Reflects a Unique Individuals Life

Charter Duration and Location

Generally charters are 2 hours in length. Because we leave from many city’s and locations with the harbors it takes a different amount of time to reach the actual scattering location. As well, some family will extend the charter duration for an additional hour or more to include a sightseeing trip since the whole family is together.

In reality, there is no “X” marks the spot in the ocean, so there is great flexibility as to exact location where the service is to be performed.

Service Content and Duration

Most generally the burial at sea service ceremony tend to be short – around 7 minutes or so. This is not to say that services cannot be much longer. We will coordinate with you before the yacht departs to determine the length of your interned service and time events to fix comfortably with the charter time frame.

The services tend to be very informal, although on some charters have made arrangements for clergy to attend. Generally a poem is read and a few stories are told by the family members. It is a time to celebration of the loved one’s life and usually very uplifting with laughter as funny stories are told.

Cremains are Released

Rose Petals in Ocean Current

The cremains are released in the ocean and they have the tendency dissipate quickly leaving a trail of rose petals floating on the ocean surface. 

There are many ways that the cremains may be released but generally it is by the use of a basket with rose petals or by mean of using a biodegradable urn. In either case, lots of rose petals are placed into the ocean. 

At this point various flowers many be placed in the ocean. This can range from wreath, leis or individual flowers. As well, lots of rose petals are used to create a beautiful effect of the trailing in the ocean current.

Ships Bell Rings and Cremains Circled

As nautical tradition dictates, after the cremains are release into the ocean, the ships bell is rings 8 times denoting the end of watch. After this, the ashes are slowly circled by the yacht and we head back to shore or continue on the rest of the trip.

Rejuvenation affer the Sea Burial Ceremony

At this point the mood on the yacht can be a little somber. To help elevate the spirits of those on boat, we try to breath life back into you. What happens depends on city of your charter.

In San Diego, we stop at the bait barge. There are generally a couple dozen sea-lions that hang out here – staying dry out of the water and hoping to catch a free lunch.

sealion at bait barge after sea scattering