If you are like me and you hear about burial at sea, you think of burial of a person's ashes after they have been cremated. That is the most common type of burial at sea, but it is not the only type. Full body burial at sea is also an option.
I remember watching old movies where the Navy ceremoniously buried a soldier at sea. I thought this was a thing of the past. But I was recently made aware that burial in the ocean of a body in a casket, is a legal alternative to burial in a cemetery or cremation today.
A family can have a traditional funeral service with viewing, and then have their loved one's full body, buried a sea. In California, the body must be buried in approved Federal waters, at least three miles off the coast and in waters at least 600 feet deep. There is a maritime cemetery in the ocean, approximately 6 miles south of Palos Verdes, which is specifically designated for this purpose.
Companies that provide this service must adhere to Federal, Coast Guard and Navy guidelines. The casket must be made of metal or hard wood. Prior to the burial, holes must be bored into the casket and a 75 lb. weight added. David Schaffner of Tribute Enterprises in Signal Hill, CA, provides this service and has specialized equipment on board the boat for the forwarding of the casket to the deep. Through Tribute Enterprises, one significant other can accompany the Captain on the
boat and witness the burial. If a group of family and friends wish to witness, then another boat can be rented for this purpose. The family is given a beautiful certificate indicating the date and location (longitude and latitude) of the burial.
This is an option that is less expensive than burial in a traditional cemetery and an alternative to cremation. The cost of burial in a traditional cemetery varies from $3200. -$8,000. or more depending on cemetery and location. Burial of a full body at sea is available for around $2400.00.
Burial at sea of a full body can be considered a "green alternative." There is no traditional land usage, as in ground burial, and reportedly no significant energy usage or potential release of particles in the air, as with cremation. For those that love the ocean and want an interment that can be considered "environmentally friendly," full body burial at sea is an option worth exploring.