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Old 18-05-2009, 11:31   #1
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Burial at Sea Regs ?

This past week one of my best friends passed away. He knew it was coming. The day before he died I asked him if there was anything I could do. He said he wanted to be cremated and asked if I would take his family out to sea and drop his bio-degradable Urn into the sea. My question to those who might know. Is there any legal requirement for me as Captain of my boat to comply with or can we just do it without any notification to any proper authorities?
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Old 18-05-2009, 11:48   #2
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I've done it without notifying anyone. I dont think there is a problem with ashes. I was at a funeral recently and they put the ashes in this special pizza pan size paper enclosure. (biodegradeable and quickly decomposes) Everyone put a flower on top, we set it adrift and then it just floated away with the wind and tide..... sinking/decomposing after maybe 10 minutes. That left just the flowers floating on the sea. It was really nice.... When I spread my mothers ashes on the water from my sailboat years ago, the dust just blew everywhere and was gone quickly... the paper holder was really a much better memorial....
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Old 18-05-2009, 12:05   #3
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The regulations depend on where you are. In spite of the funeral lobby's efforts, you can usually do it yourself without a permit or notification. Federally, an urn should be taken 3 miles offshore, but the Coast Guard will be a whole lot more interested in counting life jackets than caring if you only a mile out. If your passengers are showing signs of seasickness...its time for the service. You should make sure the urn is heavy enough to sink--my dad's was.
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Old 18-05-2009, 12:08   #4
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Thanks Cheechako,

I didn't think there would be an issue, I just wanted to make sure.
As an aside we were thinking of a flowered wreath to toss in as well. I would like to make it as special as possible for his wife and daughter. I was also thinking of getting the exact Latt.&Log. then having it marked on a nice chart and framed perhaps with a nice qoute or saying. I would love to hear from the board members of any creative ideas they might have to help me in putting together something nice that might be different and memorable.
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Old 18-05-2009, 12:08   #5
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As you might suspect the US EPA has a regulation covering Sea Burial. It looks like if you go at least 3 miles offshore, you'll be in compliance.

Quote:
Disposal location and measures - Non-cremated remains

Burial at sea of human remains that are not cremated shall take place at least 3 nautical miles from land and in water at least 600 feet deep. Certain areas, including east central Florida, the Dry Tortugas, Florida and west of Pensacola, Florida to the Mississippi River Delta, require water at least 1800 feet deep. Refer to the Code of Federal Regulations at 40 CFR 229.1 (PDF) (1 p, 149K, About PDF) for details. All necessary measures shall be taken to ensure that the remains sink to the bottom rapidly and permanently.

Disposal location and measures - Cremated remains

Cremated remains shall be buried in or on ocean waters without regard to the depth limitations specified for non-cremated remains in paragraph 2 above provided that such burial takes place at least three nautical miles from land.
Then there are the reporting requirements... ::Sigh::
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Old 18-05-2009, 19:04   #6
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Aloha Tellie,
Here in Hawaii, you paddle a surfboard out to a few hundred yards offshore and sprinkle the ashes (not in an urn). So, here no one pays attention to the 3 mile limit. These ceremonies are regularly televised.
I truly think it depends on where you are and who wants to complain.
Kind regards,
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Old 18-05-2009, 19:50   #7
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Spread my Dad's ashes on the waters where he loved to fish without the urn, felt more comfortable not having to think about the urn being found...after a diver told me about finding a box which contained an urn at the bottom of a glacial
lake upstate New York. When he realized what he had...He did respectfully replaced box to bottom of lake....Sorry for your loss. Hugo
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Old 18-05-2009, 19:58   #8
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I spread a friend's ashes a few years ago.

Those present each took part, each taking a handful and speaking a few words in remembrance.

The ashes are quite sterile, nothing harmful is going to survive cremation. While someone in a position of authority may have an opinion if asked, I would not be interested to know what it is. The wishes of the deceased, and those left behind, are a much more significant consideration IMHO.

I would, however be more concerned with the regulations if it were a true burial at sea. Then I would heed the CFR as Hud quoted above.

Thanks for your willingness to honor your friends wishes. I hope the occasion is a blessing to all who take part.
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Old 18-05-2009, 20:12   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v 'Faith' View Post
I spread a friend's ashes a few years ago.

Those present each took part, each taking a handful and speaking a few words in remembrance.

The ashes are quite sterile, nothing harmful is going to survive cremation. While someone in a position of authority may have an opinion if asked, I would not be interested to know what it is. The wishes of the deceased, and those left behind, are a much more significant consideration IMHO.

I would, however be more concerned with the regulations if it were a true burial at sea. Then I would heed the CFR as Hud quoted above.

Thanks for your willingness to honor your friends wishes. I hope the occasion is a blessing to all who take part.

Thank you S/V Faith, you are absolutely right.
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Old 18-05-2009, 20:38   #10
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I would like to make it as special as possible for his wife and daughter. I was also thinking of getting the exact Latt.&Log. then having it marked on a nice chart and framed perhaps with a nice qoute or saying. I would love to hear from the board members of any creative ideas they might have to help me in putting together something nice that might be different and memorable.
This is what I've done in the past - it's nice for the family to have some form of memorial, since there is no gravestone. I framed a chunk of chart - on it marked the position with a stylized X, and an engraved plaque that stated something to the effect of: "John Robert Smith was committed to the sea on the Fifteenth day of February 2009 at 10:30 hours at 482423 North Latitude / 123 2625 West Longitude. May he rest is peace."

If you have a Bos'n's Call you can pipe "the Side" when you disembark the ashes - very nautical.
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Old 18-05-2009, 21:21   #11
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Cremated remains are not regualted any place I know of and who could know? Whole bodies are a whole other issue. The problem with those remains could be a problem no matter where it happens.
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Old 18-05-2009, 21:39   #12
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Cremated remains are not regualted any place I know of and who could know? Whole bodies are a whole other issue. The problem with those remains could be a problem no matter where it happens.
You are exactly right, Paul. The following is from today's Los Angeles Times:

* * *

"Man gets 5 years for dumping college student's body at sea

3:33 PM | May 18, 2009

"A man who admitted to dumping the body of an Orange County woman in the ocean after a night of heavy drug use was sentenced this afternoon to five years in state prison."

* * *

To read the rest of the story, go to:

Man gets 5 years for dumping college student's body at sea | L.A. Now | Los Angeles Times

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Old 18-05-2009, 21:43   #13
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But this guy got five years for involuntary manslaughter which is kind of a whole 'nother thing.

And condolences to you, Tellie. That's great that you get to do this for your friend.

Mike
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Old 18-05-2009, 22:00   #14
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My Dad was cremated in Louisiana, we took his ashes to Hawaii, chartered a sport fishing boat and spread them at sea no documentation or permits were asked for. Before doing so I mixed up a strong rum and coke (his favorite drink) and poured into the bag with the ashes in the urn, shook it up and poured the ashes over the side, that way we didn't have to worry about the ashes blowing around and I'm sure he enjoyed it. Then dropped a nice flower lei the water for him, his Dad, and brother who's ashes are out there also. This was a few miles off of Lahaina, Maui where he was born and raised. On the way back in we saw a whale surface, that made the day complete.
By the way I found the best way to get the ashes out there was via US postal service, picked them up at the post office in Lahaina, no problem at all.
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Old 18-05-2009, 22:12   #15
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don't tell they don't ask. In the letters section of Lat 38 there was alot of info on burial at sea. Don't remember which month but I think it was recent.
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