Burial at Sea For the Funeral Professional
Updated: Oct 17
With cremations on the rise, funeral professionals will at some point be asked to provide alternate methods for a final disposition. The marketplace is abundant with new and inventive ways to memorialize a loved one - from being turned into diamonds, trees and coral reefs, to being blasted into space; the list goes on and on. Burial at sea, once an uncommon request, is now very popular, yet many funeral homes don’t offer it as a standard service. While I’m not suggesting that funeral homes get into the business of at sea burials, I am proposing that unattended scatterings can easily be included along with the funeral home’s other services.
2 Easy Steps
1 - Family Attended -
Port of Departure
Number of Passengers
2 - Unattended Ash Scattering
Contact Teraloom for options. 720-772-6492
Burial at sea is an affordable option, which can be planned immediately or scheduled for a later date. Many families I assist wait until they're emotionally ready to let go of the remains, or for a date that holds some significance such as an anniversary or birthday. Some religions require that the immersion of cremated remains take place as soon as possible.
Some families will tell you of their intentions to perform an ocean burial, which is your opportunity to sell any number of biodegradable or scattering urns. If you don't ask, you won't know, which in my experience is the case with almost all funeral professionals I speak with.
To best service your clients, you’ll need to be acquainted with some basics. The two most requested types of service are:
Attended Family Services: private charters with an experienced and licensed captain. Ash scattering ceremonies require more planning, Teraloom is more than happy to assist you as you work with cremation families. In general, the family will need to decide which port they want to leave from, the number of passengers (which determines the vessel size) and a date. The most difficult part of planning on the part of the family is agreeing on a date. Some families can quickly decide, while others require more time and consultations.
Unattended Services: not witnessed by family, the easiest for a funeral home to arrange. Unattended scatterings require a chain of custody, therefore enlisting a burial at sea company to track the shipping, receipt and date of the burial at sea is the best method.
Full Body Burial at Sea: I’ll touch upon the topic now and cover it in more detail in subsequent blogs. Full Body Burials are gaining in acceptance and relative popularity as compared to ten years ago. When I first began, I would receive one or two calls per year; today it’s not unusual for several calls a month. The majority of these calls are from funeral directors inquiring on behalf of clients in the process of establishing a pre-need directive or simply the feasibility of a full body burial. Full Body Burials, both Pre-Need and Immediate need are easily arranged on both East and West coasts.
From time to time I've been asked about a Viking Funeral, to which I reply, "You supply the horse." - Just Kidding...