Having a burial at sea is where human remains, or the deceased are disposed of into the ocean, and this is normally done from a boat or a ship. It is often done by the various Navy’s within the world and there are some areas where private citizens will do this as well.
The services for a burial at sea will be done in many different locations and each place will have their own customs and they will be done by an aircraft or a ship. In most circumstances, the Captain of the ship or of the aircraft and even sometimes a religious representative of the deceased based on their religion or the state religion will perform the ceremony.
There may be times when this type of burial will include burial within an urn, with the deceased sewn into sailcloth, burial within a coffin, or scattering the remains of the cremated deceased from the ship. When there is a burial at sea that is done by an aircraft, it is only done with the cremated remains of the person. There are more modern forms of this type of burial such as mixing the cremated remains with concrete and then dropping the concreate shape into the ocean in order to create artificial reef such as the one called Atlantis Reef.
However, there are some religions that have specific procedures for this type of burial. The Roman Catholic Church do not like cremations and prefer a normal burial within a casket, but they do allow cremations with a specific condition of that the ashes have to be buried or entombed and they will not scatter the remains over water, sea or land. However, certain circumstances burial at sea in an urn or casket is approved for those who have died in the sea.
The Anglican Communion has a specific procedure about sea burials. The ship has to be stopped, the body must be sewn within sea canvas and weighted enough. They do prefer to bury the cremated remains of any ex-naval personnel as the scattering of ashes is very discouraged. There is also a specific prayer that is used for this type of burial where it talks about committing the departed into the deep and it talks about the sea giving up its dead. There are a lot of protestant, Anglican and Lutheran naval veterans who prefer to be buried at sea and it is in these cases where a casket or an urn is disposed of in the sea and there are times where the scattering of ashes may be approved. However, there are some areas where they have specific places that are considered to be consecrated areas of the sea where the ashes may be spread.
There are also certain regulations for burial at sea. There are certain areas that will not allow the burial while others may. Before planning a burial like this MARPOL and international laws should be checked into and followed to help with the protection of sea life.